I have often described the largest segment of our Actualize Fitness (adult fitness) members as “go-getters.” The type of people who sacrifice their precious time and energy to get themselves to the gym at un-godly hours of the morning. The “go hard or go home” type who shows up during their lunch break or after a long workday to leave a pool of sweat on the floor. But all too often that “all in” mentality ends up rearing its ugly head when I hear conversations like this:

“I only got 4 hours of sleep last night, but hey, I’m here!”

“I’m training as hard as I can but am still not hitting my goals.”

“This is my 10th workout in a row. Man, I wiped, but I focused on my goals!”

When did we consider it a badge of honor to over-work and/or deprioritize our physical, mental and spiritual health is valued at any cost?

Our culture constantly proclaims the myth that “more” or “less” is better, and results are to be expected immediately. We work and train more. We eat and sleep less. And we wonder why we experience underlying health issues, our energy is shot and mindsets weary, and the results we desire to actualize are not manifesting in comparison to the toil of our effort. Can it be that the “all gas and no brakes” approach does not work?

Let’s approach this conversation in relation to weight loss because over 90% of our Actualize Fitness clients list reduction of body fat as a primary goal. To quote from Coach Cy’s article, “All Gas & No Brakes – Part 1:

“Simply put, you would be more successful at weight loss by increasing lean muscle mass, being in a calorie deficit and performing low intensity steady state cardio.”

What is Cy saying? Overtraining is not the answer and there are smarter ways to approach your goals than just increasing training intensity. In this little sentence, Cy is addressing things like selecting the correct weight, taking longer rests between training sets, implementing a caloric deficit (with optimal nutrient ratios for your age, body type and goals), and shifting from a hardcore cardio mindset to an energy system that will enable you to not overtrain, preserve muscle and aid in recovery while still burning calories.

“OK Cy, I have weight loss goals. I’m buying-in to your less-might-be-more thesis. I’ll take your advice and focus on adding muscle, dialing in my nutrition and reducing my energy expenditure, and I’ll hit my weight loss goals.”

Easy enough, right?! For weight loss, doing these things with the help of a Actualize coach is a good start, but it’s not the entire equation. We have many clients who implement Cy’s suggestions above, and while they experience results at first, they ultimately hit a plateau at some point and wonder why. A plateau can represent a need to optimize the factors that elicited the change, but in our experience, after probing into a client’s rest, restoration and recovery, we often see the “all gas and no brakes” in different areas of their life that also need some attention.

While rest, restoration and recovery cover many categories, one primary “area of opportunity” a significant portion of people struggle with is sleep. It has been said that little things make big things happen. There is quite the relationship between sleep and training. When you don’t rest, restore and recover well, do not expect your training intensity level or desired fruits from training to be optimal. It’s all connected!

Check out some stammering stats about inadequate sleep (6 hours or less for 4 days straight):

  • Minimal sleep can decrease glucose metabolism which fuels the brain and body for mental and physical performance
  • Negatively affects thinking function and mood
  • Impairs immune function
  • The body fails to produce testosterone and other ideal hormones which reduces ability to repair muscle, thus diminishing muscle maintenance/gain

Now that we have grasped sleep’s importance of our performance and training goals, what are some factors that could be standing in your way? How do you optimize sleep?

Some quick suggestions to put into practice:

  • Adopt a night-time routine
  • Eliminate the use of electronics 1 or 2 hours before getting into bed
  • Eliminate caffeine and energy drinks past a certain time of day
  • Minimize junk food

This is just scratching the surface of the importance of how sleep quality can positively affect training, body composition, mental clarity and mood and overall health. Sleep deprivation is running rampant and it’s time to take ownership over your habits. Let’s get you snoozin’!

Connect with an Actualize coach today if you are someone who gets less than 6 hours of sleep per night and/or are an addict of other “all gas and no brakes” myths that are diminishing your results and health!

Coach Jenny

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Actualize Sports & Fitness is North Central Washington’s premier performance enhancement training, health and nutrition, and mental achievement coaching center. We exist to educate, encourage and empower Actualize Sports (competitive athletes, teams & coaches) & Actualize Fitness (fitness enthusiasts of all ages & abilities) clients to actualize their unique purpose and potential in athletics, fitness and life.

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