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Sleep Will Make You Leaner – Here is the Proof!

To those of you out there struggling with fatigue, weight loss, anxiety, sleep disorders and/or performance plateaus, consider sleeping more to allow your body to recover and rebuilt naturally. There are no short cuts. High intensity and high volume will destroy you unless you have the time to sleep and eat enough to ABSORB what you do – plain and simple.

Sleep Project Overview
For the last 20+  years, I have asked all my clients to train with a heart rate monitor to keep them from training too hard on their easy days leaving them fresh for their high quality days.

This methodology has been challenged by many coaches and athletes for many reasons: “grey zone”, “wattage”, “perceived exertion”, etc. I have personally watched clients leave to go to a another program with more volume, more intensity, calorie restriction, etc. only to become injured (sometimes career ending), have a performance regression and/or become exhausted mentally and physically resulting in creams, injections or oral supplementation to turn their “symptoms” around. Sad but true.

In addition to having my clients train with a heart rate monitor I have required all my clients to maintain a Body Analysis spreadsheet to evaluate their body’s feedback to training volume, intensity and frequency along with ensuring that they are consuming enough quality calories and fluids to support their training loads and life’s other stress sources (work, family, etc.).

To prove my theory I conducted a sleep study over an eight month period where I asked 10 clients to wear their Garmin strapless heart monitor for every workout as well as when they sleep. With the permission of one of these clients, I have documented her sleep data averages and performance results below.

Parameters
Sleep goal: 9 hours (difficult but necessary)
Food: raw fruits, vegetables and clean fats; eaten every 2 hours
Training: 7 Hours a week
1 hour per day Mon-Friday
1 complete rest day per week – Saturday
2 hours on Sunday
Training Intensity:
2 hours anaerobic
5 hours aerobic

Sleep Log Observations/Take Away
Hours of sleep: increased from 6 to 9 hours
Deep sleep average: increased from 23 min avg to 1 hour 40′
Light sleep average: increased 3 hour avg to 5 hours 17′
Note:
Deep sleep allows the body to rebuild NATURALLY
Light sleep allows the brain to rebuild NATURALLY

Performance Results
Swim Time Trial: 17 seconds faster
Bike Time Trial: 36 seconds faster / at a lower HR of 8 beats
Run Time Trial: 18 seconds faster / at a lower HR of 5 beats
Body Fat Percentage: decrease of 4%
Note: body fat, not muscle or dehydration

Numbers don’t lie.

Four Ways to Keep Fat Off Forever!

Weight Training

Weight training is the key to weight loss. Building a foundation of lean muscle will provide you fat burning centers found in the muscle spindle cells that is created and enhanced with load bearing exercises like strength training.

Eat More Protein

Feed your gains with protein. People often skip protein intake immediately after they exercise, thinking that they will save 200 to 300 calories. However, a high-quality shot of protein – specifically amino acids, will accelerate lean muscle growth and muscle repair post exercise. The more lean muscle you build the more efficient you are at burning body fat.

Establish Goals and Work Towards Them

Determine your physical and mental limiters by completing a strength and cardiovascular assessments (sport specific). Establish specific goals and objectives for the next three, six, and 12 months that will help you eliminate your physical limiters. Research indicates that eight workouts per month is the minimum required to stick to a fitness plan. The more frequently you exercise, the better the odds are that you that your initial effort will turn into a habit. Being mentally focused will help you maintain your motivation levels.

Start Exercise Slowly to Give Your Body Time to Adapt

If you have been away from training (i.e. off season, illness or injury), ease back into strength training and cardiovascular fitness slowly. Many people try to resume or pick up where they left off when they exercised in the past. This only results in excessively sore muscles, stressed joints, and a negative mental outlook on working out. When you begin your strength exercises, choose a load level that’s extremely easy to lift for 8 to 10 reps for two sets. Complete that same amount of weight and reps for three weeks to allow your body adequate time to adjust and adapt (I refer to this as the Anatomical Adaptation Stage). For your cardiovascular exercise, keep your duration less than 30 minutes and keep your intensity low – you should be able to pass the talk test, which is where you could talk to someone else or sing to yourself while exercising without becoming winded.

Stop the Insanity of Weight Loss