Many people make the biggest mistake when it comes to improving their health. These changes don’t usually last and can lead to frustration and wasted energy. These tips will help you lose weight and get past a plateau in your strength.
When it comes to improving your health, sleep is the most overlooked tool. You can’t achieve your goals if you don’t get enough sleep. Our muscular, circulatory, and respiratory systems are all stressed when we train. To repair the damage done to the body, these systems require time to recover. You are denying your body the necessary components of this recovery phase by not getting enough sleep.
The importance of sleep is also important in controlling metabolism, reducing inflammation, and controlling cortisol levels. This directly impacts our mood, mental and physical health as well as our energy levels. Despite this, Americans are still getting less and less sleep.
The American Academy of Sleep recommends that adults (non-athletes) get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Yet, Americans get only 6.8 hours of sleep per night. For those who train for strength, however, it is recommended that you get 8-10 hours of sleep each night.
This is not an easy task for everyone. I recommend creating a nighttime routine if you are struggling to get enough sleep. While this will be different for everyone, here are some key points:
- Consistent bedtime
- Reduce screen time one hour before bed
- Before you go to bed, avoid eating large or sugary foods
- Having a cut off time for caffeine (scientists suggest early afternoon)
These steps have helped me sleep better since I started incorporating them into my bedtime routine. My bedtime routine includes stretching, reading, and journaling. Journaling is a great way to calm my mind and make it easier to sleep.
2. Hydrate Responsibly
While Hydration may seem obvious to some, I guarantee that the majority of people don’t drink enough water to meet their daily needs. It is recommended that we consume half of our body weight in ounces. If I’m 180 lbs, then I should aim for a minimum of 90 fluid ounces of water per day. However, this number does not include water loss due to exercise, temperature, humidity, etc. Although exercisers and athletes have different needs, a good rule is to keep your body in shape. For every hour of exercise, drink 16-24 fl. oz water(In addition to the baseline needs you have calculated previously).
Although we hear a lot of talk about electrolytes, unfortunately, many people have been misled by marketing. Popular sports drinks such as Powerade and Gatorade are intended to be extremely tasty. These drinks contain very little sodium and carbohydrates. This has a minimal impact on replenishing electrolytes. You can replenish your sodium levels after a workout by eating a carb-dense meal or snack, and then drinking water to counteract the sodium loss.
Although it is less common than dehydration in most cases, there are some things you should be aware of when you reach the other end. This is also known as exercise-associated Hyponatremia or EAH. EAH is when blood-sodium levels are diluted. This can cause decreased performance, nausea and vomiting, as well as seizures. Listen to your body. Don’t drink if you don’t feel thirsty.
3. Pay Attention to What You Eat
The last habit you can make to be more accountable for what you eat is to keep track of your meals. This is not to be confused with tracking macros and calories. It can be as easy as keeping a food diary with a summary of your meals that day. This simple log can help you keep track of your daily eating habits. If the scale does not move or falls, it can help to clarify the situation. If you decide to go more in-depth later, this will provide a solid foundation. Many meal plans and templates require that you count calories and macros. This can be done by measuring, weighing, and logging food.
Being honest with yourself is the most important aspect of tracking, whether it’s in a notebook, an app, or both. This includes accounting for desserts you had after dinner and the cocktails you drank with friends.
You don’t have to be extravagant at first. Start small and start to keep track of the food you eat each day.
This post was written by Darryl Johnson, Co-Owner of Apex performance. At Apex performance we are a community of highly trained experts looking to provide performance enhancement and a permanent lifestyle change for our clients in a fun and interactive environment. Members can take advantage of one of the best gyms in Tampa, small group classes, and specialized courses for a wide variety of athletics, sports training, and body goals!