Ok here we go again!
Firstly thank you for all the questions that we got last week from readers. If Jazmin or I haven’t got back to yet, please be patient we will, we always reply in detail giving the best fit for purpose replies. It’s then your job then to read absorbs and most importantly apply the information. We got a lot of vegetarians asking questions so may be next week I’ll write something directly related to vegetarians.
Keep the questions coming! (Manjit@absolutelyfit.co.uk or firstname.lastname@example.org)
One question or related subject that we got was on rest days, and sleep!
So here’s our experience.
Everyone most probably knows that rest is important. So here are a few reasons why it’s very beneficial to rest and recover your body. Remember, the amount of rest required is dependent on your exercise routine, your genetics, your current fitness and strength; no one rule fits all.
Firstly, resting the body reduces the chance of injury. Rest days basically prevent over use/training, if you push too hard for too long, your muscles, joints and central nervous system won’t recover, hence that’s where injuries come from.
I previously mentioned muscles, well anyone doing strength training will know when you lift weights you are actually causing small muscle fibres to tear. So, without the right amount of rest (and nutrition) your body’s immune system will not repair and grow that muscle fibre thicker and stronger, so in essence you are not benefiting from your session; it’s actually counter acting your gains. We always recommend varying the muscle groups exercised on different days.
Whilst I’m on the subject of the immune system, when we put immense stress on the body be it resistance exercise of just emotional stress. When our immune system (which is the prime of the central nervous system) is under a lot of pressure, it works really hard to recover the body, so without rest the system cannot catch up and repair the body so we fall ill and again can get injuries.
During periods of heavy activity, our immune systems are constantly activating to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest, your immune system can’t catch up to all the repairs your body needs. And then? You guessed it: injuries.
A misconception people have especially for people new to exercise is it will give take them back to where they started if they rest, or even they will stop and never get back on. Let me tell you it take the body approximately 14 days before non activity will noticeably decrease your gains or performance levels. That’s why I don’t go on holiday for more than 2 weeks 😉 a day or so off exercising in the week in most cases will not hinder progress.
Here’s the big one and one that I’m going to put my hands up as I don’t get enough of this! Sleep! Firstly, over exercising can play around with your quality of sleep and too much exercise can put your body into a constant state of restlessness, if you have a heart rate monitor and notice your sleeping heart rate.
At rest is increasing well that probably why. A tell-tale sign is an increase in you’re resting heart rate. Adding a couple of rest days will help bring down your resting heart rate.
Taking those rest days can help bring down your alertness and heart rate, which can help get you a night of sound sleep.
Of course, sleep is so important to your general rest and well-being, so use your tracker to improve your quality and amount of sleep. A solid pattern of sleep will help you be your best on your most active days.
As part of my degree Obesity and weight management clinical degree (which I just completed Monday by the way that’s my 2nd BSc, well if I don’t show it off how are people going to know!) I studied sleep V’s fat loss. Many many studies have recorded low amounts of sleep affect ghrelin levels; ghrelin is a hormone that dictates our hunger. (If you are a client of mine you would have heard me go on and on about fat loss and muscle-building is all about hormone control.)
Lack of sleep will also impact your cortisol levels (another hormone stress) hormone and it can also decrease IGF1 (insulin Growth factor 1 another hormone and your body’s natural testosterone. (Guess what, YES another hormone!)
The thing is lack of sleep from my experience with myself and clients most definitely has an adverse effect on fat loss and muscle growth. I totally get it that sometimes we don’t put sleep as our priority as we run busy lives , well I’m up 4am every morning to do my exercise, studies and eat all before my 6am client start. I don’t finish until usually 9pm from the studio, however I use my weekends to recharge and if I’m lucky in my break times I use them to get some power naps
So let’s wrap this up, rest recuperation (including sleep) is more important than what most of us think. If you are smashing your exercise and nutrition but your sleep pattern is struggling, then trust me my friend you won’t make maximum progress in your fitness goals.
Let me tell you! True courage is taking another small step each day toward achieving your dreams! Like they say “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog!”
You only ever grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone!
Keep moving forwards!
Manjit@absolutelyfit.co.uk or email@example.com