Gym is for Tearing Muscles-Rest is for Repairing!
At ABS we believe in dedication in your workouts and nutrition, but just as dedicated as you must be to your training and eating regimen you must also give your body the proper time to rest and recover from your workouts to fully repair muscle fibers and increase strength.
When you perform any type of lifting exercise you literally are tearing your muscle fibers to perform the lift. The reason your body gets sore is because it is working to repair those torn fibers together to be stronger and more able to complete your workouts with efficiency. However, if you never take time off from the gym and are not getting adequate sleep then you are not giving your body any time to repair which can result in plateau's and burn out. Think of it this way, if you get a cut on your arm and you do not give it a day or so to heal and repair and instead you just continually cut that same spot how is your body ever supposed to grow the cells and skin necessary to repair it and strengthen that skin? Your muscles are the same way. The average American only gets between 5-6 hours of sleep a night when the recommended amount for optimal health and benefits is 7-8 hours of sleep (Some people need 8-9 depending on their activity level). If you are not hitting your optimal hours of sleep then try these 5 Tips to Help Improve Your Sleep:
1. Shut off all electronics at least 30 minutes before going to bed. The lights that are emitted from television, computer screens and cell phones keeps your brain actively engaged and can cause hyperactivity which makes it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Try shutting off all of these devices 30 minutes before your bed time and instead read, write or listen to music to help fall asleep more quickly.
2. Avoid caffeine after 2:00pm. There is nothing wrong with getting in your morning caffeine kicks and actually caffeine can help with productivity and reduce Alzheimer's however if you are drinking it in the late afternoons it can affect your ability to sleep soundly so try to cut out any caffeinated beverages after lunch.
3. Anxiety and Stress can be leading factors in the lack of quality of sleep so if you have been feeling overly stressed lately one of the best forms of relaxation is through mediation. If meditation is brand new to you or too "self help junkie" then try just doing deep breathing exercises 15-20 minutes before going to bed to help slow down your heart rate and get your mind and body to completely relax. Simply lie down and make sure your room is dim. Place your hands to your side or on your stomach and simply take a deep breath in through your nose (count to 3 slowly while inhaling), once you get to 3 release the deep breath slowly out through your mouth for a count of 3.
4. Try a natural herbal remedy like melatonin or drinking chamomile tea before bed. Melatonin is a natural component your brain releases at night to put you into a deep sleep. However, sometimes when we are highly stressed or going through tough times our bodies begin to release less amounts of melatonin and more amount of cortisol (stress hormone). By taking a small dose (about 5mg) of melatonin at night it can help your body get back in the habit of producing this component resulting in better sleep.
5. Write it out...aka word vomit! Right before we fall asleep is usually one of the only times we completely shut down outside influences like social media, emails, business, phone calls, texts, etc so when we finally do take that time to slow down and relax we have a million things running through our minds. Instead, try taking 10-15 minutes throughout your day to shut out all of these things and just be with yourself and let your mind relax. A helpful exercise is before you go to bed take out a pen and paper and for 10-15 minutes literally just word vomit all over the paper of everything that is driving your crazy, stressing you out, worrying you, and taking up your time. Just let it all out with no judgment on what it says, grammar, proper words or anything and literally "Vomit" your thoughts all over the paper along with all your feelings about it. When you are done simply take the paper and throw it away. Getting these thoughts and worry out of your mind will not only help give you a better perspective on situations, but also will get all that negative stress out of your body helping you sleep better.
Let's be honest, when we get adequate sleep and time to ourselves we are just overall happier beings plus our bodies function better and our workouts our better. Try out these tips and get better sleep so you can be better for the world and yourself.