Generally when people try to get Fit & Healthy, or Lose Weight, there are 4 areas you need to work on:
Daily Movement (Steps, being active throughout the day)
Recovery (Rest, Sleep, Mindfulness)
Most people focus on one, most commonly Training or Nutrition. Unless we pay attention to all 4 areas of our lives, we will struggle to get the results we desire as they all work closely together to improve the performance of our body.
When we are looking at recovery there are a broad number of things we are looking at but I have broken them down into 3 groups to simplify. Firstly your Rest Period, meaning how many days rest you have between training sessions. It's not ideal to train 6-7 days a week as it can be too exhausting and time consuming. A beginner will generally be recommended a 3 day training plan which allows for 4 rest days per week (sufficient time to recover between sessions so you will feel 100% able to go again) and if you are more advanced you might train 5 days a week with 2 rest days because you will need less recovery as the body is more accustomed to your training sessions.
This may seem basic, or very obvious, but time and time again I hear from people that train 7 days a week aggressively for months and are then confused as to why they have started to pick up injuries after 6-12 months. One of the highest risk categories for this is 15-18 year olds playing 3 sports for 4 or 5 teams all at once until eventually ending up on the scrap heap in the physio room for months on end. LISTEN to your body, SCHEDULE rest days, and RECOVER!!
Secondly we need to look at Mindfulness. What I'm referring to here isn't necessarily meditation or writing a diary about our feelings whilst sipping hot chocolate as we gaze upon the sunset (or pissing rain). What I'm looking at here is "Are you highly Stressed?". If you are considering murdering your husband or planting explosives in your workplace, then I'm afraid to say that "YES you are, and you need to look at things".
Ok so Sleep. This is the most important aspect of "Recovery" when an individual begins a new training plan, or starts out on their Weight Loss Journey. We have all done it; drinking till 3am, watching TV till all hours, bringing our phone to bed scrolling on Instagram or TikTok and not being able to get to sleep for hours. Out of everything I have written on this entire page this is the only thing you need to remember - IF YOU DO NOT GET ENOUGH SLEEP, YOU WILL NOT GET RESULTS.
(Apologies for shouting!)
BUT I'M HUNGY!
Numerous studies have suggested that restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions (https://www.sleepfoundation.org for more). There are a number of reasons behind this. Firstly, a lack of sleep increases your appetite. The neurotransmitters Grehlin and Leptin which control our appetite are hugely affected by poor sleep. Grehlin contols our hunger, and trust me, he is a B*$tard. The longer we are awake the more time this bugger has to do the rounds and keeps coming back roaring "Feed me, FEED ME". Until eventually you do. And secondly, sleep deprived individuals will generally select foods high in calories and carbohydrates when they are hungry. So it's a double whammy - not only are you eating more often now that you are sleep deprived, but you are eating more calorie dense foods also.
Losing sleep will result in less energy. This sounds very obvious but sometimes we fail to accept this fact. So, we sleep less, know we aren't sleeping properly, yet still expect to lose 2 stone or get man of the match on a Sunday morning with 5 hours sleep. Newsflash - you won't! Less energy means you won't train as well, and won't be able to push your body or imrpove. You will feel constantly stuck, and will always be struggling to improve your fitness and motivation levels. The good news is that if you are a beginner starting out, exercising regularly (150 mins a week) will help improve sleep patterns, daytime concentration and reduce drowsiness at the 3pm slump.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDERS?
In children, the link between lack of sleep and obesity has been well established and analysed over the past 25 years. Irregular sleep patterns in children can lead to a reduced metabolism, which combined with a lack of energy (and exercise) will lead to weight gain over time. Skipping breakfast is a clear sign that the body clock is not in order, and this can lead to food cravings especially for highly processed and starchy foods.
But what can I do to fix this? Well first, please don't worry, we all suffer from poor sleep at different times. Just recognise it and try some of the above tips from www.nhs.uk and also the useful video attached: Video: Tips for sleeping better
If you need help getting started with improving your health & fitness, or would like some tips or advice on what to do. Please feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or add us on Instagram (@scullyfitness01) and we will be glad to help!