Tag: Recovery

5 Reasons Why Good Quality Sleep Is Beneficial To Your Health & Fitness

5 Reasons Why Good Quality Sleep Is Beneficial To Your Health & Fitness

Often we hear that sufficient good quality sleep is vital for our physical and mental well-being. But, we often focus on our diet and physical activity when trying to improve our health and fitness and ignore sleep. Though sufficient good quality sleep is a must for our body to rest and recover. And is equally important for us to stay healthy and fit.

In 24 hours of a day, we try to accomplish as many tasks as possible. But, when we don’t find enough time to complete our tasks, we tend to sacrifice sleep. Insufficient good quality sleep or poor sleep has an adverse impact on your hormones; which can lead to weight gain, mental stress, depression, anxiety, and other life-threatening diseases like cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

As per sleep experts, 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night is best to achieve optimal health benefits. Sufficient good quality sleep allows your body to take the complete rest that is required by it to recover from the hard work of the day and be ready for the task that needs to be accomplished the following day.

Insufficient good quality sleep also affects your social well-being, as it can make you irritable and moody. Plus, it can reduce energy levels and motivation to perform your daily tasks, ruining your productivity.

Older adults are more resistant to the effects of sleep deprivation. But young adults and children don’t have the same level of resistance and may become hyperactive or rebellious.

So, here are 5 reasons why sleep is good for your health and fitness…


1. Prevents Excess Weight Gain

Sufficient good quality sleep helps your body to prevent excess weight gain by stopping you from overeating and it allows your body to balance hormones, Ghrelin, and Leptin. These hormones control your hunger. Ghrelin, also called the “hunger hormone”, stimulates appetite and increases the intake of food; whereas Leptin inhibits hunger. Ghrelin promotes the storage of fat whereas leptin helps in reducing fat storage.

Insufficient sleep disrupts your body from using insulin properly. Your body becomes insulin resistant which allows fat to circulate in your blood resulting in the generation of more insulin. This excess insulin is stored as fat in your body

Insufficient good quality sleep also results in increasing your stress level. When your stress levels increase, your body starts producing more Cortisol; which forces your body to store more calories as fat.

2. Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

When you are asleep, your blood pressure level lowers down which results in giving your heart and blood vessels a rest. Insufficient good quality sleep or poor quality sleep is known to increase the stress level and increase anxiety; which can increase your blood pressure level and cholesterol levels. High blood pressure and excess cholesterol level in your body can lead to serious life-threatening diseases like hypertension, coronary heart diseases, and diabetes mellitus.

In addition to diet control and physical activity, doctors recommend that 7-8 hours of good quality sleep daily is vital to reduce the risk of developing many cardiovascular diseases.

3. Improved Concentration and Productivity

Another reason why sleep is good for your health is because it helps to improve your brain health. An adequate amount of good quality sleep can boost levels of your concentration, problem-solving skills, and productivity.

Insufficient good quality sleep or poor sleep can impair the functioning of your brain, make you tired mentally, and reduce the level of alertness and concentration. Sleep deprivation can throw clarity of thoughts out for a toss and you won’t be able to make the simplest of decisions, and forget making complex ones because of which your productivity suffers.

The deep sleep stage is essential for your brain to consolidate memories and link stories of the day. While your body is resting, your brain is at work in consolidating feelings, memories, events, thoughts, and other sensory inputs gathered during the day and preparing for new inputs, memories, thoughts, events to be registered the following day.

4. Boosts the Immune System

Your immune system helps you to fight infection by identifying harmful viruses and bacteria and getting rid of them. Another health benefit of adequate good quality sleep each night is that it can help you improve your immune system and help fight infections like the common cold.

As per some studies, even a small reduction in the amount of required sleep can weaken your immune system. It found that people who sleep less than 7 hours per night are 3 times more likely to catch a cold than those who sleep a minimum of 8 hours per night.

Sleep deprivation weakens your immune system and your body is not able to fight infections with the same strength or pace.  Due to a weak immune system, you may fall sick more often.

5. Helps to Reduce Inflammation

Insufficient good quality sleep increases stress hormones and anxiety which raises the level of inflammation in your body resulting in making your body prone to developing cardiovascular diseases, even cancer, and diabetes.

Also, inadequate good quality sleep or poor sleep has a major undesirable impact on your body as your body may develop inflammation due to cell damage. It may lead to recurring inflammatory bowel diseases due to inflammation of your digestive tract.

Conclusion

In addition to a healthy diet and a good amount of physical activity, sufficient good quality sleep is vital for your physical and mental well-being.

Sufficient good quality sleep is good for your health and fitness because of several reasons:

  • it boosts your immune system to fight infections
  • helps you to avoid weight gain
  • helps you to avoid developing life-threatening cardiovascular diseases
  • improves concentration
  • helps in reducing stress levels and inflammation
  • and getting rid of anxiety

Sufficient good quality sleep helps you to rest and recover from the tiring efforts of the day which is vital for being productive the next day.

This is a Guest Article from SleepStandards.com


More Sleep Articles:

How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need? >>

All Articles >>

How To Use A Foam Roller

How To Use A Foam Roller Properly

It takes only a few minutes to learn the proper foam rolling technique to relax your tight tendons and soft-tissues. So, let’s get started now on how to use a foam roller properly to increase joint mobility and decrease muscle pain and stress!

Page Contents:

Get our complete How To Warm-Up Properly Guide >>


How Foam Rolling Works

Foam rolling works by:

  • Breaking apart adhesions in the tissue layers (known as self-myofascial release),
  • Moving fluids through soft tissues,
  • and overall assisting with Muscle Recovery.

So, you can use it to aid in the mobility of tight tissues or just as a recovery technique.

Foam rolling has become very popular in recent years, but it has been around for decades. As it is an effective tool that helps to mobilize your joints by relaxing the soft tissues and muscles around them if done properly. But, the most important thing you need to know about foam rolling is that it is NOT a fix-all solution.

Foam rolling simply prepares your body to improve joint and muscle flexibility by relaxing any chronically tight tissues around them.

If a muscle is tight, or overactive, it will fight against any stretching you do for it. So, the foam roller can be used to help relax your muscle tissues in order to prepare them for other stretches.

It is what you do after foam rolling that counts!

Stretching Exercises >>


Proper Foam Rolling Technique

Here’s how to use a foam roller properly:

Beginner Technique

  • Simply roll the foam roller up and down your muscles in a controlled manner to massage the muscle. This is a great way for beginners to start, as it is the least intense.

Advanced Technique

  • For a more effective self-myofascial release technique, attempt to crush your tissues lightly by rotating on them horizontally using controlled pressure. So, instead of rolling the roller up and down your muscles, keep the roller in place and roll your body side-to-side (perpendicular) along the same area. This will reach down deeper into the tissues.
  • Then move slightly up the muscle and do the same thing.

To properly break apart adhesions in your soft tissues, stop at points where you feel the most pain and relax the muscle into the roller.

Stay on that spot for at least 30 seconds at a time and breathe deep to let your muscles relax. Then slowly continue rolling over the entire muscle.

If no tightness or pain is felt in a certain area, then either use a firmer tool or move on. You will only feel pain where there is tightness. The same as a massage.

Get our complete How To Warm-Up Properly Guide >>


Choosing a Foam Roller

Foam rolling is most effective with a smooth round object that can roll over your soft tissues; such as a stiff ball or cylinder.

Soft Choices for a Light Massage

  • Basic Foam Roller
  • High-Density Foam Roller
  • Tennis Ball

Buy a Foam Roller >>

Firm Choices for a Deep Massage

  • 4-6″ PVC Pipe
  • Lacrosse Ball

Buy Lacross Balls >>

It is best for beginners to start with a soft roller, then upgrade to a firm roller. Preferably a solid PVC pipe or something similar.

I know that sounds like it hurts, and it does…at first. But it is the only thing that is truly going to work.

This is because, if the roller is less dense than your tissues, then it will break down and limit the amount of tissue release you can obtain.

Your tight tissues can only be fully released with dense objects that can break apart the adhesions. And anything made of foam just isn’t enough.

However, this also will increase the intensity of the message so you won’t need to use it as frequently. It’s the same as when you do high-intensity workouts, you need more time to recover.

What NOT To Get

When choosing your foam roller, make sure that you get one that does NOT have a bunch of spikes on it or “pressure points”. Though it may feel good, it is not nearly as useful as just getting a firmer object, like a PVC Pipe or Lacross Ball.

Remember, we want to smash over the muscle massaging everything, not just pinpoint it. That is what hand massages are for. And the fancy-looking rollers just don’t do as well.

Get our complete How To Warm-Up Properly Guide >>


How often can I use a Foam Roller?

You can roll out your tissues anytime, from before, during, or after your workouts.

  • Before, or during, your workouts if you have a tight muscle that is causing pain, or preventing proper technique.
  • Post-workout or on non-workout days to help with recovery.

However, the same muscles should not be rolled out more than four times per week. And often not multiple days in a row, to allow for proper recovery.

This is because, when you use a foam roller, you are breaking apart your soft tissues, similar to when you workout. So you need time to recover before doing it again.

Get our complete How To Warm-Up Properly Guide >>


How long should Foam Rolling take?

How long foam rolling takes, depends on how tight your muscles are. At first, your self-myofascial release massage may take an hour if you have a lot of tight tissues. If it does, then let it.

Do not rush through this process!

Over time, as your tissues are released and become more relaxed it will take less and less time.

If you have limited time, it is best to focus on the most important areas during the time you have. Set a timer if needed, and go for 10-20 minutes.


how to warm-up properly for strength training bookGet Our Complete Workout Warm-Up Guide!

Learn how to decrease pain, improve performance and prevent injury with mobility exercises specific to your workout!

Be ready for any workout in 15 minutes or less!

Learn More


How To Prevent Injury >>

Tendonitis Treatment >>

How To Cure Joint Pain >>

RECOVERY: The Most Important Part Of Every Workout

RECOVERY

The Most Important Part Of Every Workout

Are you always tired, sore and lacking progress in the gym? If so, then you are likely not overtraining, but rather under-recovering! Because the biggest difference between overtraining and progress is how well you recover from your workouts. So here are the best post-workout muscle recovery tips for athletes and lifters that love to push it to the limit!

Check out our awesome Workout Programs >>

“It doesn’t matter what you can do in the gym, if you can’t recover from it.”

First, if you fail to recover properly after your workouts, then over time this can lead to overuse injuries, like tendonitis. These types of injuries can hold you back from progress in the gym and on the field. So, if you have an overuse injury, make sure you know how to recover from injuries properly.

In This Article:


How To Recover Properly From A Workout

Recovery is the most important part of every workout plan. Without proper recovery, all you are doing is breaking your body down. Recovery is where you build it back up.

So, to continuously get stronger and make progress, you need to not only work hard but recover hard too. And that all begins with knowing how to recover properly from your workouts.

Even with the best workout program, you will make little to no progress if you don’t recover properly. So, no workout is complete until you have recovered from it.

“No workout is complete until you have recovered from it.”


post-workout stretch

Post-Workout Stretch

First, proper workout recovery starts as soon as the workout is complete. And the first step is finishing your workout with some mobility work. As in stretching and/or foam rolling for at least 10 minutes to help keep your muscle and joints healthy, while preventing injury. Remember, a healthy muscle is both strong and flexible, so don’t skip out on this part.

Check out our Stretching Exercises >>


post-workout muscle recovery tips

Get Enough Sleep

Next, and most important, is sleep. Without proper sleep, your body cannot function properly. Let alone rebuild and grow after a hard workout.

Your body grows, and recovers, when you’re asleep, not when you are awake. You can refill your depleted fat and glycogen stores (muscle fuel) while you’re awake, but you can only grow and repair your muscles while you are asleep.

And how much sleep you need depends on many factors. Everyone is different and requires a different amount of sleep to recover from everyday life or the additional stress of exercise. However, we can set some general standards that fit most individuals in given categories and you can adjust from there. 

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

  • Kids and Teens: Most kids and teens require between 8-10 hours of sleep while growing. They have the largest range of sleep time because everyone grows at a different rate. You can assume those that grow faster or do the most activity need more sleep than those that are less active and slow to grow.
  • Adults: The average adult needs 7-8 hours of sleep just to perform normally without additional activity or exercise. Women require a little less sleep than men, which may be due to men generally being larger in size.
  • If you workout: Those that workout regularly will need an additional 30-60 minutes of sleep after every training day, depending upon the overall intensity or work volume.
  • Athletes: Athletes require 9-10 hours of sleep for full recovery due to their large workloads and intense training which places a lot of stress on their bodies. 

These are general guidelines for sleep which can be adjusted depending upon how you feel. If you are still tired you (may need to go to sleep earlier, to get more quality sleep, or you) may need to increase your sleep time by 30 minutes.

Overall, sleep is the most important aspect of recovery as that is when your body rebuilds itself.

Learn more about proper sleep >>


eat enough food for recovery

Eat Enough Food For Recovery

Next, nutrition is also a vital part of proper workout recovery. You need to eat enough food and get enough calories for your body to rebuild what it has lost during your workout. If you don’t, then you cannot recover fully, even with proper sleep.

For most people, eating a normal and balanced diet is enough to recover from a few weekly workouts. However, if you are an athlete or do any form of intense training, then you may need more nutrients for proper recovery. This may be as simple as an additional meal on workout days or larger meal portions throughout the day.

It all depends on if you want to build muscle or lose weight.

Supplements For Recovery

Now, many people believe that they need to take supplements in order to recover from any light to intense workout. This is not the case. Supplements can be helpful, but it is best to get your nutrients from food, rather than taking a bunch of supplements. Learn more >>


whole food vs protein powders

The Protein Myth

Myth: You need to get in at least 20-30g of protein within 30 minutes post-workout for proper recovery.

This is absolutely NOT TRUE and doesn’t even make sense. Remember, your body can only grow while you are asleep. And if you are taking protein immediately post-workout, it is going to be used as energy by the time you get to sleep. So, as long as you get enough protein, and other nutrients, throughout the day, you are set. Timing doesn’t matter that much. Also, it is always best to eat real food instead of taking supplements.

Learn the best time to take a protein supplement! >>


Protein

It is not only important that you get enough calories, but also the proper nutrients for your body to have the supplies needed for recovery. The main piece of this is protein. Though we do not need as much as many people believe.

Protein is the main building block for rebuilding and growing broken down tissue. Knowing this, those that break down tissue often, through exercise and other various activities, should consume slightly more protein than those that do not exercise regularly.

The average person needs 0.4-0.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight daily just to replace tissues lost during normal daily activity.

Those that exercise need more to replace and rebuild their tissues. Usually, that is 0.5-0.7g per pound of bodyweight daily. This may seem too low to what many people believe, but remember that this is just the bare minimum that you need for tissue replacement and recovery.

It is recommended that athletes and those that do strength training regularly, consume about 1g per pound of bodyweight daily. However, it is recommended that you do not exceed 1.5g per pound of bodyweight daily as this can place a lot of unnecessary stress on your body’s digestive system to metabolize it. Plus, protein makes for a bad energy source.

Realize, that your body can only build so much muscle mass per day. So, consuming excess protein will just add to your total calories for the day. Then it will either be used as a low energy source or stored as fat.

So, it is best to use carbohydrates (fast energy) and fats (slow long-lasting energy) as your fuel sources while using protein for its purpose of building. 

Carbs and Fats

Carbs and fats are your body’s energy sources. However, they are both important for proper recovery.

Carbs help with hydration and give your body the energy it needs to both recover and perform. Fats help transport and store vital vitamins and minerals. Plus, they are a long-lasting energy source for endurance. So, you need a reasonable amount of each for the best results. 

Active individuals should have 2-4g of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight daily. And at least 0.25-0.5g per pound of bodyweight of fats to fill out your total caloric intake needs.

Most of your carbohydrate intake should be 1-2 hours before, during and after your workout for the day. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Though your macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats) are important for recovery, it is also vital that you get enough vitamins and minerals. These can be obtained through a healthy diet consisting of many fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products. If you are lacking one of these categories of food, you need to find a way to include them more or replace the nutrients you are lacking through supplementation.

To help, you can take a daily multivitamin as a base amount of nutrients to give your body daily, but you should also be conscious of what you are eating and what nutrients you need more of.

Electrolytes

  • Calcium + Magnesium
  • Sodium + Potassium

Calcium is important because you use it in every muscle contraction. Without calcium, your muscles, including your heart, would not be able to contract. Of course, it also helps increase bone density along with the added stresses of strength training.

Magnesium works with calcium, as a vital building block for our tissues and helps with muscular function.

Sodium and Potassium are two other vital electrolytes for workout recovery and performance. These electrolytes work together to regulate water in and out of cells and perform many other important functions within the body. 

Learn more about Electrolytes >>


workout hydration for recovery

Hydrate

Part of getting enough nutrients for full recovery is hydrating. Without proper hydration, you are slowing down your recovery process and making it hard to absorb and transport the nutrients you need.

Also, you need to drink enough fluids to not only replace what you’ve lost but also excrete the waste. This is because every time you workout, you are breaking down tissue. And that tissue needs to be disposed of in some way. Most of it is excreted in your urine. Which is why it is so yellow post-workout.

If you only drink minimal amounts of fluid, then your body will use most of it to excrete the waste instead of rehydrating you.

To counter this, drink at least 0.7 times your bodyweight in ounces of water daily. And an additional 16 ounces for every 30 minutes you workout.

Learn more about proper Hydration >>


The Importance Of Workout Recovery

With proper sleep and nutrition, you can recover from all the stresses you place on your body and continue to progress in your training. Just make sure to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep every day, stay hydrated, eat enough calories, consume 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight, and get in all of your vitamins and minerals so that you can be recovered as much as possible before your next workout. This will ensure the best conditions for you to progress in your training.

You can also use some active recovery techniques such as walking throughout the day or doing light activities that stimulate blood flow but do not tax your body with too much stress.

Now that you know how to recover properly from your workouts, I wish you a full recovery! Keep getting stronger my friends!

Check out our Strength Training Programs HERE!

How much Sleep do you actually need to reach your Goals?

How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need?

The more you do, the more you need to sleep!

Keeping a consistent sleep schedule is vital for both your strength and health!

Sleep is the most important and valuable recovery tool for our mind and body. Without proper sleep, our bodies cannot function optimally, or even at a normal rate.

Studies have shown that losing even one hour of sleep from your normal sleep schedule, greatly decreases your mental and physical performance, and taking an extra hour of sleep the next day will not bring you back to normal function.

This means that you cannot catch up on sleep!

Sleep is important and must be maintained regularly during your daily schedule for optimal benefits. If you are constantly changing the amount of sleep you get or time of day that you sleep it will interfere with your Arcadian rhythm, or natural time clock.

Your Arcadian Rhythm:

Our body does not know or care what the clock says, or if it is daylight savings time. Before clocks, our body still had a natural rhythm that was based on light.

Studies have shown that when it becomes dark at night and then light in the morning, our bodies go through chemical changes that say it is either time for rest or to wake up.

As the sun sets our bodies begin to slow down functions and want to be in a restful state to recover from the day’s activities. Then as the sun comes up it begins to activate systems, such as releasing insulin to put glucose into cells for energy, in order to get ready for daily activities.

For most people, it is recommended that you sleep for at least 7 hours a night, but this is only a minimum that does not provide the most recovery.

Everyone has a different amount of sleep that is required for their body, but there is a general amount of time that provides optimal recovery for most active individuals.

For most optimal recovery, be in a restful state as the sun goes down and sleep from at least 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. each day.

This is best for your Arcadian Rhythm, which means that as the natural light from outside dims down, so should your activities for the day, and the light you use around you. This will help to start the recovery process and get your body prepared for sleep so that you are not up all night staring at the ceiling. Also, to avoid interfering with your Arcadian rhythm, which is regulated by light, avoid being around a lot of light at night such as T.V. or computer lights.

How much Sleep do you actually need?

Sleeping with the sun is best for our recovery, but not always adaptable to our life’s activities. Again, we go back to the minimum requirement of getting at least 7 hours of sleep each day, with closer to 8 or 9 hours being better for those that are active.

However, as we know, we are all different and our bodies all recover at different rates.

If you want to know how much sleep you require, then simply go to sleep at a normal time (9-10 p.m.) after a standard day for you, and see when you wake up using no alarm. If you get less than 6 hours of sleep before waking up naturally, then go back to sleep to see if you can add on some hours.

Then count the hours you were asleep, making sure that you feel rested, and this is your normal sleep requirement. All you have to do now is account for your additional requirements after activity.

The more activity you do, and the more stress you place on yourself, the more sleep you need to recover from it.

  • If you exercise for at least one hour per day, then try to add 30 minutes to 1 hour of extra sleep to your normal schedule.
  • If you train intensely or are trying to build muscle, then you should add at least 1 hour of sleep for every hour of intense training that you do.

This will ensure the most amount of recovery to help decrease stress, build muscle, and make you stronger!

Now GO TO SLEEP!!!


More Articles >>