Sleep and Exercise

Sleep and Exercise

I went to the gym today, warmed up and set up the bench for some incline chest press. First set light, second set a little heavier and third set at full load. I have been lifting weights for a long time so am very much aware of what I can lift in any particular exercise. My first set at full load I failed early, second set was ok, third set I increased the weight and attempted my usual 8 reps, sadly I failed again. My whole session today was pretty much a fail, although each of my exercises was done with correct technique and done to failure, everything had to be done at a lighter weight than normal. When I got home I grabbed on of my prepared dishes from the fridge and ate it, I had green beans, chicken breast and a little home made humus. Immediately afterwards I started to crave something sweet. I then went to write my daily blog and stared at the screen for ages trying to think of a subject to write about, usually I already have something in my head and can get this done in no time at all but today was not working out to great.

Sleep and exercise

The problem here is simple and one that many people find impossible to solve. Over the last few days I have not had as much sleep as I would normally do and as a result my performance is dramatically down, my brain doesn’t seem to be running at full speed and my recovery from training has slowed considerably. Luckily for me this is not a common occurrence anymore as I realize how important sleep is to all of my health, fitness, strength and performance goals. I am very aware that if I do not get my regular sleep I gain weight and lose muscle along with general fatigue and increased days of sickness. Lack of sleep means that your body has not had the correct amount of time to fix itself from all the hard training and all the stress of the day. This lack of sleep means your body is stressed and will start to release more cortisol, this hormone does its best to make you store more fat and lose all that valuable muscle you have been building with those enormous workouts. Feeling tired also tricks you into thinking you need more sugar and usually you will eat it thinking it will help, but guess what? its just gonna turn to fat. In the gym the lack of sleep is evident in your performance and if you are not pushing yourself hard enough you will not progress with your goals and no sleep means no recovery. I understand that there is sometimes no way that you can schedule more than a few hours sleep in but you must understand that this can not be just how it is, so plan a little in advance and make sure that you can get your quota in. If your having a week that you simply can’t get to your bed early then tailor your workouts to suit that by doing less, make sure your eating regularly so that you avoid hunger and overeating of bad things. Turn the television off, stop drinking during the week and respect the hours that your unconscious, as without them you will fail. Sleep and exercise work together, without one the other does not work so well.

As a personal trainer it is my job to help people find ways to combine their lifestyle with their health and fitness goals. I don’t just tell people to do some squats or run to the end of the sports field, I help them manage their time, diet, sleep and anything else that could get in the way of having a healthy, strong and functional body for life.