There are a ton of tips you'll hear for how to really get the most out of your workouts. Exercise in the morning. Exercise at night. Eat something before. Drink a protein shake after. Don't do cardio. Reps over weights. All of these can work, but are completely dependent on the individual. The one thing that's universal, the secret weapon that everyone can use to really keep their fitness on track is...rest.
Adequate rest is essential to the success of any fitness program. It's needed to repair the muscles, replenish the body, prevent weight gain and improve metabolism, morale, energy and focus.
Yes, you can push through a workout after only four hours of sleep, but in the end you stand to lose, especially if it becomes a cycle. What do you lose? You lose the opportunity to give 100% during your workouts.
From personal experience, sufficient sleep has always made a difference in my ability to stay motivated, maintain a positive attitude, make good food choices, reach a certain aptitude, adapt to new skills and perform at desired intensity levels. Because being off-track with sleep creates disorder in other areas, getting enough shut-eye will ultimately determine the effectiveness of my workout and the exertion level during.
And since time is precious for most people, making the most of every workout is important. No one wants to settle for mediocrity in their workouts unnecessarily. Therefore, sleep is a key element in making the most of every workout and keeping the body healthy.
Lack of sleep also puts a person at risk for retaining or gaining weight due to an increased appetite, poor metabolism and a greater affinity toward sweets. In relation to a fitness program, this could result in mental block, injury or slower progression, but can also affect day-to-day activities.
That’s the goal, to maintain and sustain the best quality physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health possible. We are contributors to our own well-being and ultimately impact or affect the lives of others by what we pour into ourselves.
This poses a daily challenge for most of us who have a boatload of responsibilities to accomplish in so little time. But, because it's so vital to our success, we must continue to work at trying to find balance in our lives and carve out time to rest our bodies so that we can do what we enjoy doing for many more years to come.
One of my clients and I recently noticed contrast between her Monday and Thursday workouts. She was tired from a long weekend of running kids here and there, and just did not have the energy on Monday that she did when I saw her on Thursday the week before. Although she pushed through the workout like she always does, I could tell she was not quite her usual self, in that her drive was a little lower. We decided that she'd make it a point to get more rest in the coming days, and by that Thursday, she was back to her old self.
Like it is for my client, ample rest is a ideal balance we all struggle to achieve - it is even for me. But the truth is we need those Zzzzs to not only survive, but also thrive. For me, it is a daily struggle, but I will keep trying and I hope you do, too!
A Premier Trainer at Five Seasons in Dayton (and a licensed Zumba instructor), Christa is passionate about using her dance and exercise training to help change lives from the inside out. As a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Christa can help you transform your life by identifying and correcting muscle imbalances and developing a customized program that addresses your specific needs. Christa is here to serve and motivate you to achieve optimal health.