Recovery is super important when it comes to getting optimal results with your health, fitness and 'looking great naked' goals. As your coaches, we want to make sure you're not only crushing your training but your crushing your recovery, too. To get started we're going to cover one of the easiest and most important ways you can recover well to live your best life and get amazing results: sleep! Sleep is incredibly important to thinking clearly, decision-making, proper digestion, stress management, high performance and just, well, feeling good. Unfortunately, more than a third of adults get fewer than the minimum of 7hrs of sleep per night. This contributes to both health issues AND not getting results in the gym. Bummer.
Needless to say, sleep is a baseline function and should be a priority if you want to be healthy and sexy AF. We've covered some (non-sexytime) bedtime rituals HERE so today we are going to dive into things you can do throughout the rest of the day to nail your sleep goals.
Your Morning Ritual
Wake at the right time: It may not seem like it would make a difference, but waking up at the right time will impact your sleep that night. Ideally, you'll wake up during your lightest phase of sleep. If you're like us and have no clue when that is, there's an app for that shit! There are some devices, sleep bands and smartphone apps that will will sense sleep cycles and wake you at an optimal point. Neat!
Wake up with light: This raises your cortisol naturally (this is a good thing in the a.m.) and helps you feel less groggy for the rest of your morning. If you don't have the luxury of waking up with the sun we recommend picking up an alarm clock that simulates a sunrise. It will change your life!
During the Day
Get some sunlight: This is for more than just Vitamin D and looking all non vampire-like. It also aids your body in the production of essential hormones. Getting some sunlight or using a light therapy box during the day helps regulate your body's melatonin cycle. Getting on the right cycle will help increase energy throughout the day and then to wind down at night.
Exercise in some capacity: I'm sure if you're reading this you're already sold on all the benefits of regular exercise so I won't go in depth on ALL the benefits. However, I will say that regular exercise does help to regulate your body's 24hour clock, optimize hormones (the drug-free way!), and help relax your body's fight or flight system.
It is super duper important to note that ridiculously intense exercise later in the day may have an adverse effect if you go overboard.
Limit fluid intake:
- Water: Adequate hydration is incredibly important to staying hot and healthy but drinking too much right before bedtime will keep you up all night. Peeing. All night. No fun.
- Alcohol: Going to bed after several margaritas goes beyond the bad decisions you made and will impair deep sleep. 1-2 drinks is fine but it does downhill from there.
- Coffee/Caffeine: This is highly individual but most people should avoid too much caffeine after 2p.m.
Eat a small-to-medium dinner: Too much food (especially processed carbohydrates) can make it harder to fall asleep. A light meal of minimally processed food will help you sleep better, stay satisfied until the morning AND maintain your body composition.
Clear your mind: Write shit down! Make sure to get any nagging thoughts out of your head and onto paper to prevent laying in bed all night stressing about it. Whether it's a reminder to send out an email, schedule your training sessions, solve quantum physics, or end world hunger. Trust me on this one, it works.
Go the f$%& to bed: This may seem obvious but if you're not getting enough sleep chances are you're not going to bed at a reasonable time. Due to that pesky time-space continuum, if you must wake up at 5:00 and you're always getting to bed at midnight, you will never reach 8 hours of sleep. Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep so it makes sense if you have to wake up at 5:00 to get to bet before 10:00. As the saying goes, an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours after.
Wrapping It Up
If your eating and exercise are on point and you're not getting stellar results, recovery may be the culprit. And the easiest and most simple way to recover better is to sleep better.
Everything you do in your day from the moment you wake up can and will affect healthy sleep patterns. If you're missing any of the habits we mentioned above, try implementing one habit at a time to improve in both hours and quality. Nailing your sleep isn't going to happen overnight (pun intended) so aim to work up slowly. An extra 30 minutes a night will make all the difference when it comes to getting results in the gym and living your BEST life!