Let’s paint a picture, shall we?
You are 17 minutes into an hour-long session with your rockstar Trainer and it happens….
You feel so weak that every rep feels like it could be 3 tons….
Dizziness and a light-headed feeling begin to overcome your brain….
The hands get clammy and a cold sweat starts to bead up on your forehead….
“I need a minute….”
but even with recovery and some water, you know the training session has essentially been lost. You had no energy to give and your body shut down as a result.
What happened and how can this be avoided?
I’m willing to bet that we can start with what you ate (or didn’t eat) leading up to your workout.
What you eat prior to and in the hours after a workout can significantly impact performance and recovery. In this article, I will cover basic guidelines for pre and post workout nutrition for normal, everyday people. If you are an endurance athlete, looking to put on significant muscle or have a specific event you are training for (hello, Gate River Run) other considerations will likely be needed.
On to everyone’s favorite…..eating!!!
2-3hrs prior to a workout:
This is an ideal amount of time to take in proper nutrition and allow for digestion with a normal sized, well-rounded meal. In this timeframe, meals should consist of a quality carbohydrate (such as potatoes, rice or berries), a lean protein source (chicken, fish or lean meats) and a small amount of wonderfully delicious fats, such as nuts, nut butter or oils.
The carbohydrates prior to working out will help fuel your workout and jump-start the recovery process, while the protein will reduce muscle damage and improve body composition. Fats eaten prior to training will not directly affect the performance of the workout itself, but help provide much-needed nutrients and also slows digestion, keeping blood glucose levels nice and even (remember our lightheaded/dizzy spell at the beginning of this article? That was most likely because blood sugar levels dropped very quickly)
I workout at the butt-crack of dawn!
I don’t have time to eat that far in advance of my workout.
What will I do???
Glad you asked, my curious friends.
1-2hrs or less prior to training:
If you don’t have the time to eat a full meal in advance of training, the focus shifts slightly. Change your mindset to more of a light snack that you are familiar with and digests easily.
…..read that second part again.
I don’t think I need to explain the importance of digestion in this case, do I?
A quick banana/piece of fruit or a scoop of protein in water (not dairy) is fine to keep the hunger at bay, but make sure in this scenario that you take in a nutritious meal soon after your workout. Training extensively in a fasted state can lead to muscle tissue breakdown, impaired recovery and a significant drop in performance.
But Pat….I’m just not hungry in the morning, before my training sessions.
Ok, fine. Be sure to stay hydrated (whenever you are training or working, or shopping….just stay hydrated, it’s pretty important) and a small amount of caffeine is ok. Again, the main point prior to training is knowing what you are comfortable with. If you normally have a cup of magic black gold before working out, then cool, drink up…..but if you aren’t a coffee drinker (I don’t even know who you are!) don’t load up on caffeine. The only exercise you will be doing is the bathroom squat.
Post Workout Meal:
The timing of your post-workout meal really depends on what you ate prior to training. If you go to the gym in the afternoon or evening and have had a full meal or two well in advance, you don’t need to run immediately to the kitchen or, despite what the muscle guys will tell you, reach for that protein shake within seconds of finishing your last rep.
On the other hand, if you do train very early in the morning or in a fasted state, then a post workout meal within the first hour after the session really becomes important to replenish the body, restore much needed muscle glycogen for recovery and other sciencey stuff that will just make you feel and train better. Isn’t that what we want?
Your post workout meal should be a well-rounded meal of lean proteins, whole food carbohydrates, and full fats. Simple carbohydrates (simple sugars like pop tarts or candies) have been thought to spike insulin and refill glycogen stores quickly, and while this practice can be effective for endurance athletes or training sessions that last well over an hour, the normal person will benefit the most from taking in a quality, longer digesting carbohydrate source.
The makeup of your plate will depend slightly on your goals and training. If fat loss is a priority for you, then maybe a smaller portion of carbohydrates would be good (note: I didn’t say eliminate them….you need them, they are important, they are delicious), while on the other hand, if putting on some quality muscle mass is a goal for you, that large sweet potato will serve our needs perfectly.
All plates, no matter what the fitness goal is, should have a high-quality protein source and all the veggies you can stuff in that beautiful face of yours. If every meal you eat has a protein and tons of veggies, the other variables can be adjusted to suit your particular needs.
Nutrition is a highly individualized practice. No one diet or method will work for everyone and even a diet that works for someone might not work forever, as the body adjusts amazingly fast. The important concept is to build your nutrition around a few essential principles and then experiment to find what works best for you and your body.
Use these guidelines to come to your workouts ready to perform at your absolute best and get the most out of your training sessions.
If you have any food and fitness questions or feel like sharing great recipes that have helped you make nutrition easier, feel free to email me at Patrick@Definitionfitness.com
America is a hard-working, income-driven society. Most of us work about 8 hours, 5 days a week, with a total of 1-2 hours of commuting each day. From an anatomical perspective, most of this time is spent in one position: seated.
Why is this a bad thing?
Too much sitting often leads to something called “Upper and Lower Cross Syndrome”
Upper Cross Syndrome is a result of poor posture of the upper body. The cervical extensor muscles become tight, as well as the chest muscles, while the cervical flexor muscles become weak along with the scapular retractors. What does that mean and why does that happen?
It’s a result of prolonged poor posture. Nobody’s eyesight is perfect, so we tend to lean forward to focus on what we’re doing, whether it’s driving or working on the computer. The farther forward your head sits, the harder your neck extensor muscles must work to control your head’s posture, while the neck flexors are virtually doing no work to balance the position of your head. One’s shoulders tend to draw forward, especially while seated, which keeps the chest in a shortened position and elongates a group of muscles such as the rhomboids.
Lower Cross Syndrome is the same problem, but on the lower half of the trunk. The lumbar extensors and hip flexors become tight, while the abdominals and glutes become weak. This happens for the same reason as upper cross syndrome: prolonged poor posture. Sitting keeps the pelvis in a flexed position, which is going to tighten the hip flexors and reciprocally weaken the glutes.
So what can you do to prevent this from occurring? I know work is inevitable, as is the traffic that comes along with the commute, but there are many ways to reduce the upper and lower cross syndrome.
Step 1- EXERCISE! This is the easiest and most obvious solution. Exercise keeps the body moving, keeps the blood flowing, and prevents you from being stuck in one position for too long. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 5 days per week of moderate intensity exercise.
Step 2- Take breaks from sitting! The main issue is that we stay stuck in the same position for too long and our bodies are forced to adapt. In anatomy, Wolff’s law states that bone will adapt to the loads placed upon it. In other words, the longer you stay in a certain position, the more accustomed your skeleton becomes to that position. Set a timer every 15 minutes and stand up, do 5 squats, walk to the bathroom and back, do ANYTHING that will regularly move you away from the seated position!
Step 3- Consider buying a standing desk. Standing is a more natural position for the human body. After all, millions of years of evolution brought humans to be bipedal.
Step 4- Stretching. Logically, this would seem like the easiest solution. However, it’s not that simple. If you stretch your chest for 2 minutes, does that really provide balance from the 10+ hours of sitting with your shoulders rounded forward? Not really. But, it provides a good starting point. Developing a habit of stretching every day, multiple times, can definitely provide relief from the constant seated position, and allows your body to be more mobile for when you begin that exercise routine I mentioned in Step 1 😉
Step 5- Postural Awareness. Arguably the most important, is to create an awareness of what your posture looks like. The ears should be in line with the shoulders, which should be in line with the hips, which should be in line with the knees, which should be in line over the ankles. Yes, it’s one big kinetic chain! Each link is just as important as the next.
Ever wonder how professional athletes can keep training and improving their PR? How it almost seems as though they’re invincible? Did you know that you can be just like them by changing one particular aspect of your workout routine? Well, guess what! You CAN and all it takes is incorporating cross-training.
So, what is cross-training?
Cross-training is a type of training that involves combining exercises from other disciplines. It’s a way to supplement a person’s training by improving strength, endurance, and flexibility. In addition, it prevents injuries, muscular imbalances, and burnouts. In other words, it’s whole body fitness. It can involve incorporating weight lifting, yoga, spinning, swimming, and the list goes on and on. You don’t have to incorporate everything all at once but the important thing is to break up your routine by adding cross-training to your exercise program.
Still not convinced?
Here are the benefits of cross-training. One of the best benefits from cross-training is injury prevention! Yes, preventing those same nagging injuries from overuse and repetitive movements. Take for example, running. Who doesn’t love running, especially since the Gate River Run is just a couple of months away! The constant impact from the pavement, improper shoes, biomechanical irregularities, muscular imbalances, over-training are just some of the reasons that injuries (is. joint pain, low back tightness) occur or reoccur. By incorporating cross-training, such as swimming, biking, or weight lifting, you can minimize the impact and instead work on building the endurance and strength a different way, which in turn will maximize your running in the end.
Another great reason to cross-train is for rehabilitation purposes. Let’s take running again. Say your low back is tightening up while running. Well, instead of continuing to beat your body down, incorporate biking, elliptical machine and some core training. The key is to not exacerbate your injury nor prolong the recovery process. Letting the body heal and recover will prevent you from sitting on the sidelines.
Other great benefits of cross-training are increased motivation and active recovery. By breaking up the routine and allowing you to explore more areas of the fitness world and other sports, might just give you an added kick to your motivation. Active recovery during your workouts is great in being able to enhance your endurance and strength, which will be positively reflected in your running performance.
So, before you create injuries or make current injuries worse, consider adding some cross-training to your training protocol. You’ll be surprise how much more your overall performance will be!
Why your resolutions fail…..and how to fix them.
So here we are, approaching the second week of January 2018 and quickly the question turns to the inevitable…..
“How are your resolutions going???”
Yeah, about that…
And that is if you even took the energy to “make resolutions” in the first place.
At this point the word “Resolutions”, when used around the holiday season, almost instantly conjures up a negative connotation, as if we are just expecting to fail at whatever it is we deem important enough to change. How did this happen and more importantly, what can we do to change the tide and make significant changes in our habits?
Let’s start by discussing the typical resolution. You know, the one you are chatting about with friends at 12:34am on New Year’s Night after the ball has dropped, in between your 3rd and 4th cocktail, when the excitement has worn off and you’d really rather be in bed. Yeah, those.
Typically these resolutions are vague ideas or concepts, like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to eat healthier” or my personal favorite, “I want to get fit this year!” (what does that even mean?). Clearly these ideas, from being so vague, have no endpoint or solid deadline. This means there is no sense of urgency, no pressure. If you fail, which you will, there really is no repercussion.
“I haven’t started yet, but I will once everything is back to normal”…….ok, sure.
If these ideas are unclear and have no deadline, they really can’t be measured in any way either. In my favorite example (done by super scientific-y studies), “I just want to get fit”, there is no endpoint and no way to measure actual progress. So how do you know if what you are doing to achieve this goal or resolution is actually working at all? If you are even doing something in the first place.
I think we’ve clearly defined what a resolution currently means to most people and the issues associated with it.
Now let’s focus on rethinking this idea and what we can do to fix it. Dare I say, resolve the issue……see what I did there?….
(and FYI we can start this any time, not just January 1st, the first of the month, a Monday…..Just start now, if it is that important to you.)
First, let’s start but simply changing words. Instead of Resolutions, why don’t we start using the word Target, instead.
If I say the word Target to you, what might be the first image that comes to mind? Hopefully, a big red bullseye is in your mind (at least that’s what the store’s marketing team hopes, as well). By using the word Target, you have a visual endpoint, something to work towards, something very specific you are trying to achieve and, not to be overlooked, it narrows your focus. This leads in perfectly to how we are going to set up your new life Targets.
Now we start the process of refining our Targets by writing them down and being as specific as possible.
“I want to lose weight” turns into “I want to lose 20lbs”
“I want to eat healthier” turns into “I want to eat 3-4 servings of fresh veggies per day”
“I want to be fit” turns into “I want to run a 5k race every 3 months, after never racing previously”….and yes, there is MUCH more to being “fit” and “healthy” than being able to run or lift weights or eating veggies, but that is another article all in itself.
Now that we have written down specific Targets, we have solved two of our three issues with resolutions. This exercise has:
1) Narrowed our focus.
2) Can be measured.
If you eat 1 serving of veggies per day, but your Target is 3-4 we know there is still work to do to reach our Target and we can adjust accordingly.
Now we add in the uncomfortable part. Deadlines.
This is where most people start to squirm, so feel free to wiggle in your chair a little bit.
Adding a deadline creates a sense of urgency. You MUST do said Target before said Target date, or else. It forces you to take action.
“I want to lose 20lbs” turns into “I want to lose 20lbs in 100 days”
“I want to eat 3-4 servings of veggies a day” turns into “I want to establish the eating habit of 3-4 servings of veggies a day within the next month”
“I want to run a 5k race every 3 months” turns into “I want to run my first 5k in 90 days”
This forces you to take action and set up a plan of action. If you want to lose 20lbs in 100 days, do you have a plan in place to lose 1-2lbs in 7 days? If not, that would probably be a great place to start.
So now our Targets are written down, pinpoint specific and have an honest,realistic deadline. Unfortunately, this still won’t work out for most people.
The major point that we have yet to discuss is your why. Why is this Target important to you? When we can find out the true why behind what you want to accomplish, you can take that why and keep it in your pocket, pulling it out when the plan gets rocky.
And it will.
This isn’t going to be all sunshine and roses. Life just isn’t that way and we all know it. So the Why is going to guide you through those dark times, when you need help, when you feel like quitting, when you question why you even started.
“I want to lose 20lbs in 100 days to be an inspiration to my children”
“I want to improve my nutrition habits so my entire family makes better eating choices”
“I want to run a 5k every 3 months in memory of my loved one who passed away from Cancer”
I don’t think I have to go into detail as to why the statements above are worlds more powerful than the statements we opened the reading with. Find your why. You may have to dig a bit deeper than is normally comfortable, but this is part of the change process. It will serve you almost as well as it will serve those whom you inspire.
To summarize our new outlook on Targets, the artist formerly known as Resolutions, they are:
- Written down- Look at them every single day. Make them the background of your phone, screen saver on your desktop, you get the idea.
- Specific- Number of pounds lost. Amount of weight you want to squat. Tons of broccoli per day. This allows for measurable progress and laser focus.
- Have a deadline- Make it realistic, but challenging. Take action NOW and build a short-term plan to reach the long-term Target.
- Tied into your Why- What will happen when you achieve this Target? How will you feel? How will it impact others around you? Think about that. It will guide you through the dark times.
This change in thinking is by no means the end all, be all of Targetting or goal setting or whatever term you choose to call it by, however, if these methods are put into place and monitored on a daily basis, I can promise a much better outcome. Much better than whatever happens after the 4th cocktail at 12:34am on New Year’s.
By Patrick Murphy
Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist places special cups on the patient’s skin for a few minutes creating a suction seal. The suction and negative pressure inside the cups helps to loosen muscles, encourage blood flow, reduce inflammation, and sedate the nervous system. It has been shown to help with back and neck pain, stiff muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, rheumatism, and even cellulite.
While this form of therapy has only become popular in the United States in the past few years, it can be found in some of the oldest medical textbooks of the Western world including the Ebers Papyrus which was written in 1550 BC. Cupping was used by Hippocrates in ancient Greece for internal disease and structural problems.
A standard cupping treatment at Definition will start with a palpation evaluation while applying a small amount of lubrication to the treatment area. Next the cups will be placed and the air will be pulled out to create the required amount of suction. Cups may be left on the area for 5-15 minutes depending on how many prior treatments the patient has had and the amount of soft tissue in the area. Some larger areas (trapezius, hamstrings) respond well to a treatment called moving cupping where the cup has a lessened amount of suction and is dragged over the soft tissue areas helping to flush out toxins, lactic acid or stagnations.
Using the manual pistons on each individual cup, the pressure is released and the cups are removed. The therapist will then use some Swedish massage strokes to flush out the fluids and toxins loosened while the cups were in place. A final hot towel will be placed on the skin to cleanse & relax the opened pores. This whole process can take 30 minutes to an hour depending on the part(s) of the body being treated.
After a treatment, there may be some circular markings or bruising on the skin. These marking are painless and will generally go away within a few days after treatment.
Schedule your cupping appointment today!
Why Everyone needs a Coach
Everyone, at some point in their lives, can benefit greatly from working with a professional coach. You may be stuck in a rut in your career, need a different set of eyes in the gym, or be at a turning point in your life and need some guidance. It doesn’t matter the situation; a great coach can help. Recently, people have expressed some surprise when I told them I had hired a coach, even though this wasn’t the first time, which kind of took me back.
“Why WOULDN’T I use a coach? I have some of the same roadblocks and issues as everyone else!”
Curious, I started looking at the real reasons someone would hire a coach and there are 3 fundamental keys that an experienced, professional coach can bring to the table.
The first is the most obvious and the one that is mentioned the most.
Accountability– The knowledge that someone has scheduled a time to meet with you, or is going to call you asking if you got a task completed, or just send a text seeing how you are doing, can move mountains for most people. This alone can be worth the cost of any coaching. While I won’t deny the importance of this point, I think it is clear to everyone so let’s move on, shall we.
The second is what I will label Freedom-
Let’s face it, you are busy and have a ton of stuff to worry about…the kids…work… did the dog piss on the rug? So here is a tip, find a coach you trust and who aligns with your goals and thinking and let them to do their job. Personally, it is my job to worry about the health and wellness of others all day, so it is refreshing for me to put that responsibility of my fitness into someone else’s hands. I don’t have to worry about my workouts or my nutrition, just stick to the plan and trust the process.
Now not everyone thinks like this or functions like this but this is a very liberating act in itself.
The third reason, we’ll just call it Leaving the comfort zone, really resonates with me.
A coach will make you do the stuff you don’t want to do, but probably need the most and will see the most benefit from. The biggest feedback from people when they hear I have a coach is, “Why do you need a coach? You can do all this stuff, you can design programs, you’ve been doing this over a decade, how are they going to help?
Excellent question!! …….the answer is simple.
When I design programs for myself, it’s filled with stuff I like to do, not the stuff I probably need the most. The coach will have the bigger picture in mind, and not only help you see it, but help you get there in the shortest amount of time. Shorten the learning curve. The biggest ROI possible.
So what do you think? What would be a reason YOU would hire a coach or mentor? What would you look to gain from working with a coach?
Created By Patrick Murphy
Who is this guy?
My name is Patrick Murphy, and I am an admitted coffee snob, former chef, and full-time fitness
My fitness journey started as a little guy (actually the littlest guy) on hockey rinks in Boston, MA.
Growing tired of getting tossed around and spending more time on my butt than on my skates, I
sought refuge in the high school weight room. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, I
quickly noticed that the changes were much more than just physical, with the mental and
emotional effects being profound. This lesson would stay with me throughout my life, and it is
something I try to instill in all my clients.
As I moved into the working world, keeping fitness in the forefront of my life again became
paramount. I worked my way up through the ranks of food service and made it to assistant chef
and even won “Best of Boston” in 1999. The reality was late nights, tons of stress and constant
food were killing me, literally. The gym was my only release, and a welcome one at that.
Moving to Florida in 2003, I knew I needed to leave the restaurant business or else I wouldn’t
make it out alive. I knew I had more to give and more to share with people. So I turned my
passion for fitness into a career.
THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN!
*Do you have a sport or activity that you are really into and would like to improve your
performance in? I can help! As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist I can create a
custom program designed for the demands of your specific sport or activity.
*Are you struggling with making time for yourself while juggling a busy career and
family/friends/social life? I’ve been there. Trust me. I take pride in simplifying what you actually
need….and I’ll give you a hint, you don’t need to live in the gym to get amazing results.
With 13 years of experience training people of all ages, backgrounds and goals, I am confident
that we can create a solution to your overall health goals, so come visit me and let’s talk about
your options…..and if you were to happen to bring me a delicious local coffee, your first workout
might be a little easier. Maybe.
Hey there, I’m Sebastien! Whether it’s kicking a soccer ball, throwing a football, or swinging a tennis racket, sports have always been a great way to release energy. As I grew up, injuries mounted and becoming a professional athlete no longer seemed like a possibility. Doctors were reluctant to help me and I was not able to continue with sports in high school. Although it was difficult to deal with at the time, in hindsight it shaped my current life.
This ordeal made me realize I want to help people as a future profession. My passion for sports led me to get my undergraduate degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology from the University of Florida. From there, I enrolled in the University of North Florida’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. My goal is to be an expert on the human body and how the body goes through the healing process.
Another result from discontinuing sports was my newfound passion for playing the guitar. I love classic rock, blues, and jazz. When I was no longer able to continue running every day, I picked up the guitar. Over time, I taught myself to play songs I enjoyed, and learned to develop my own style. Today, I can’t imagine a day that goes by where I haven’t indulged in some sweet melodies on the guitar.
To bring this full circle- my experiences have helped me understand the importance of balance in life. Everyone has their own unique reasons for exercising. The key is to understand what your goal is, and how to provide the necessary balance to maximize your potential and surpass your goal!
We all know we need quality sleep, that it is essential and that most of us need more of it. Do we know the sleep essentials? What happens to us when we don’t get enough of it? What happens to our mental and physical states when we are getting adequate amount of sleep, in comparison? Do we know how to get to sleep faster and optimize the precious hours we do get hitting the pillow? Hopefully by the end of this short read we can open your eyes on the importance of closing them (see what I did there)
First let’s establish what “adequate” sleep is. For anyone over the age of 18, 7-9 hours is considered an appropriate sleep range, and the time needed goes up as age goes down because younger children, toddlers and newborns need more sleep to develop body systems properly, although many parents will argue that a newborn doesn’t sleep anywhere near the 12-14hr range associated with this age. Clearly most us fall below this baseline, and the effect of continuously falling short of our necessary hours of sleep can wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. Starting with the immediate effects on the brain, let’s review the impact that lack of sleep has on our daily lives.
Lack of sleep can result in cognitive dysfunction to varying degrees. Consistently being short even 1-2 hours per night can interfere with learning and concentration skills. An interesting thought, considering that during my senior year at the University of North Florida, my classmates and I were averaging a solid 3-4hrs of red bull soaked sleep a night. On a more serious note, this can be a problem as many teens fall considerably short of their requirement which can lead to difficulty with memory and retaining information in school.
Sleep deficiency can also cloud the decision-making process and grind creativity to a halt. This can be a huge issue at the educational level, and in the workplace. While it is true that some can grind and burn the midnight oil to get that big project together just before the deadline, the reality is that if the project had been given proper attention with full rest, the final product might have been better than expected. (see current writing)
The brain controls emotions as well, of course, and these can also be affected greatly by sleep loss. You may become short-tempered and moody, becoming easily agitated over unimportant or unnecessary issues. It could see its way into relationships with family, friends and significant others (who may also be suffering from lack of sleep, as sleeping with another person is one of the most disruptive things we can do to our personal sleep patterns). Long term loss of sleep can also mimic the symptoms, as well as lead to, clinical depression. Anxiety and even feelings of hopelessness and suicide are all possible side effects of severe chronic sleep deprivation. (What a happy article Pat, thanks!) Now we’ve gone over some of the mental issues that can arise due to lack of sleep, let’s talk about how your body reacts to it. A consistent lack of sleep creates an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol. To keep the science part simple, higher levels of cortisol can increase fat stores. Combine that with a decrease in leptin production, a hormone that tells your brain that your stomach is full, and you have a recipe for storing fat and overeating. This can sabotage even the best training efforts and diet, and is a huge reason sleep deprivation is a major risk factor in obesity. Your immune system is also compromised. Think about it, when you do get sick what does your body want most? Shut down, sleep, fight off infection, recover. If you can’t/don’t sleep, the illness lingers and you feel like dog poop for a week.
So, we know what happens to our mind and body when we don’t give it enough sleep, so what in the world can we do to improve the sleep that we do get? Glad you asked.
First we will start by getting your bedroom ready for sleep. Let me preface this by saying, if it is possible, the bedroom should be used for two things, sleep and sex. Sorry, that’s it. If, due to living situations, the bedroom must double as your office or dining area, so be it but I would try to change that as quickly as possible.
Bedroom set up in no specific order:
1) Get it cold, 65-68 degrees is fantastic. Use fans if you can’t regulate your own air conditioning. This tells the body that it’s time to sleep.
2) Get an old-school alarm clock, like without a digital, light emitting face, and keep your cellphone out of the bedroom. I know, crazy talk. In fact, no electronic devices besides the clock at all. No TV, no tablet, just no. Trust me on this one, falling asleep to CSI re-runs isn’t the way to optimal sleep. ***Bonus tip, when you wake up you won’t be able to instantly jump on social media and ruin the day before it starts!
3) Get that room black hole dark. Buy blackout drapes, cover the windows with blankets, whatever. Just get it as dark as possible as any light that sneaks in will tell your brain that it’s time to wake up.
4) This one is tough for some, but Fido can’t sleep in your bed. I know…that face though…. but no. Every time our fur children get up and move around, which is a lot over the course of the night because they have been sleeping all damn day while you’re working to buy kibble, they can take you out of your deep sleep. I’ll bet that they wouldn’t mind their own comfortable bed anyway. Little spoiled fur child.
5) Invest in high quality bedding. You spend a lot of time in bed, make it as plush and comfortable as possible. 6) Lastly, your mom was onto something when she was yelling at you to clean up your room. As we opened with, the bedroom should be for two things and those two things only. A messy, cluttered room doesn’t help with either of them. Clean it up, junior.
Now that we have your sleeping area set up perfectly, let’s focus on you, specifically.
1) Try to get off your technology at least 1-2hrs before going to bed. Electronics emit light that keeps our brains in “awake” mode, never giving it a chance to wind down. If you must use a computer at night, I suggest an app such as f.lux, which will dim the computer screen to warmer, softer colors so the transition to sleep is easier.
2) Make late meals lighter. Digestion is one of the more energy consuming activities in the body, so if we eat a huge meal closer to our bedtime, the body will be working to digest food instead of being in resting mode. In addition, taper drinking down as frequent bathroom trips will disrupt sleep patterns.
3) Avoid caffeine and alcohol. This should be obvious, but I must make sure it is clear. Even if you’re an old coffee head like myself, cut caffeine way down in the afternoon and try not to have any in the evening. You may think coffee isn’t affecting you anymore or that alcohol will help you sleep, but I can assure you that neither is enhancing the quality of your rest. 4) Exercise earlier in the day. When you train, you release those wonderful, feel good endorphins that make you feel indestructible. Unfortunately exercise also releases the previously discussed cortisol, so try to finish up your workout at least 2-3hrs before your normal bedtime.
5) Overall try to create a bedtime routine. Take a hot shower or bath (the rise and subsequent fall in temperature will help enhance drowsiness), read for a few minutes (paperback please) and try to go to bed at the same time every night, and yes even on the weekends you party animal you.
Try implementing one or two of these tips at a time and monitor your sleep quality. Over time, as you see and feel your sleep improving, add a few more. I realize that sometimes getting “more” sleep just is not an option, but by utilizing some of these tips, you can make the precious few hours you do get as effective as possible in giving the body the rest and recovery it needs.
Action Certified Trainer
CPR/First Aid Certified
Haywood Settle is our newest addition to Definition Fitness. He will be interning with us during the month of September. He comes to us from New York City with a strong interest in fitness. Since 2009, he has not taken a week off from exercising! He is especially interested in resistance training, but enjoys all modalities of exercise. He describes himself as a caveman with an Iphone7, because he prefers old school methods. His self-discipline and passion for exercise, along with his grocery clerk job at Publix keep him very active while he is attending school at Keiser University. Haywood is currently working towards earning his A.S in Sports Medicine and then will go on to earn his B.A in Sports Medicine. He plans to use the knowledge he obtains from school along with his Action Trainer certification to get people into the best shape of their lives in an effective and safe manner.