Catching some Z’s: Why Sleep is Important

iStock_000000479476XSmallI don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a lot of my nights seem to be getting shorter and shorter as time goes by. It seems like as soon as I fall asleep, it’s time to get back up and start a brand new day.

Most days, I’m excited to get up! But some days, it doesn’t feel like I’ve gotten enough rest. Sometimes I hit that snooze button to catch just a few more minutes of sleep before headed out.

Sound familiar? If you’re like nearly half of the US population, it might. A study by Gallup recently discovered that around 40% of all Americans aren’t getting a healthy amount of sleep. This means there’s a lot of drowsy people out there.

Sleep is VERY important when it comes to your health. Without it, we run out of energy, and our brains just can’t keep up with the world around us. Check out a few reasons why you need your beauty sleep:

Sleeping recharges your Brain – Have you ever had one of those days were you just can’t seem to focus? Or maybe you are presented with a problem, and you just can’t fathom how to even begin finding a solution. Sleep deprevation directly affects cognitive processing and decision making, meaning your brain is going to have to work extra hard just to keep up the more sleep you lose.

Sleep Helps your Emotions – Just like brainpower, your emotional well being is directly affected by the amount of sleep you get. You may notice that the more tired you are, the less patient and more irritable you become. Getting a good nights sleep allows your brain to reset and prepare for the coming day.

Sleeping fights Heart Disease – Your sleep is directly involved with repairs constantly being made to your heart and blood vessels. This means that the more time you have counting sheep, the more time your body has to make repairs. The less sleep you get, the higher risk you are to heart disease.

Sleep helps the Immune System – Your immune system responds to foreign dangers that your body encounters on a daily basis, keeping you free from the common cold and other ailments. When your sleep pattern changes, your immune system will start to react differently, making you more susceptible to these ailments.

Sleepiness makes you Hungry – Your sleep pattern helps maintain the hormones found in your body, which includes the hormones that tell your brain whether you’re hungry or full. The more sleep you get, the better blanced these hormones are, which means you’re going to be less hungry the more you sleep.

Do yourself a favor tonight: Go to bed an hour earlier than usual! Your body will thank you for it, and you will feel much better rested when morning comes!

Progress: It takes time.

vrONi0DSomething that I’ve heard time and time again is “Why don’t I see progress?” You go to the gym day in and day out, you watch your diet, you dropped the excessive sugars and carbohydrates.

You don’t even drink soda anymore, so what’s the deal? Is going to the gym even worth it?

Well first of all, going to the gym is ALWAYS worth it. And, I can promise that if you’re showing up to the gym and sticking to your nutritional plan, you ARE making progress, even if you don’t see it happening right away. But why does progress seem to take so long?

One of my favorite analogies about the human body and fitness is like rock in a stream. Your body is the stream, and the rock is an obstacle it has to get around. How does the stream do it? Nine times out of ten, the stream is going to flow around the rock, taking the easiest course. It doesn’t want to change course or even move the rock, just like your body doesn’t want to change how it looks.

Your body doesn’t want to lose its body weight because it’s not programmed to lose that weight. If anything, your body is actually programmed to keep that weight! Think about it this way – thousands of years ago when humans couldn’t rely on a solid meal every day, we had to rely on our bodies reserves for energy. We had to sustain ourselves on what we could get, and that wasn’t always a guarantee like it is in our modern world.

So how do we keep faith in our goals of fitness? Trust me, I know it gets hard to stick to those goals. There’s something I like to tell my clients when they’re starting to lose faith in their progress: You have to be happy in the fact that you ARE making progress, no matter how slow it might appear.

Renewing your dedication to fitness means changing that mindset that fitness is somehow a destination. There will always be goals in our future, whether it’s jogging a mile or jogging five miles. The best part about fitness is knowing that there is ALWAYS room for improvement. The fact that you’re appearing at the gym is a sure sign that you’re improving your health.

And best of all, we can measure the fact that you’re making progress, whether you see it for yourself or not. Ask your personal trainer to look at your history, and I can guarantee you that after a month, you’re going to look better and perform better.

Should you go to the gym today?

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Something I’ve heard numerous times as a personal trainer is “Should I go to the gym today?” Most of the time, the answer is a resounding “YES!” The grind includes the whole week, after all! But there are always exceptions to the rules, and there are times even I might say “consider staying home today.”

Here’s a few things to think about if you’re considering whether to show up to the gym, or whether you need to stay home for the day:

Do show up if you have never been to the gym before – Look, I get it. You don’t know where to start. You don’t understand what half the machines do. And worst of all, what will the other people there think?

Let me reveal something to you that many people don’t think about. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, and even Brian Stecker had a first day working out. And they likely had no idea what they were doing at first. Everyone has to learn how to properly curl a dumbbell, how to do lunges, even how to do a push up correctly.

There’s no such thing as a dumb question. That’s what personal trainers at Boomer Fitness are here for, after all! We want you to succeed, and the first step in making that change in your life is asking “How do I do it?”

Do show up if you’re tired – It was a long day, and you have been stuck at work for eight hours. You just got home, and you know that as soon as you sit down on the sofa, you likely won’t be getting back up until it’s time for bed.

Wait! Don’t sit down. Get your gym clothes and get ready for the gym. Yes, I know you’re tired, and I know it was a long day. It might even be the last thing you want to do right now. But that’s the time you need this workout the most! The hardest part about going to the gym is getting out your front door. Once you’re at the gym, it’s a piece of cake! You’re here, you might as well make yourself busy. There will never be a workout that you regret doing.

Do show up if you’re sore – If you wake up and you’re sore from a prior workout, thats a good thing. Believe it or not, thats your body telling you that you’re making progress on your muscles. Instead of taking the time off, stretch before you start your time at the gym. You will notice that once you’re in the zone, you won’t feel as sore anymore.

Don’t come if you’re sore – There’s the good kind of sore, and there’s the bad kind of sore. That might seem contradictory, but there is a huge difference. Check out my blog post on the matter, and be sure to ask me or one of the personal trainers here about what the difference is. If you’re feeling the bad kind of sore, then do your body a favor: sit this one out for now.

Don’t come if you’re sick – I admire your dedication, I really do. Powering through your cold might seem like the right thing to do. But germs have a funny way of sharing themselves with your friends, especially if a location where you’re going to be exerting yourself.

Do yourself and your fellow gym goers a favor: keep your germs to yourself! Take the time that your sick to focus your ability on something you can do in your home. Do some stretches, or plan your nutrition for the week. Besides, the next time you come in, you will be 100% ready for the days challenge.

Fitness is about pushing yourself, even when heading to the gym is the last thing you want to do at this moment. If you’re tired, a little sore, or have never been to the gym before, then lets get started! But if you’re pushing yourself too far, or your body just isn’t up to it, there’s no shame in waiting until you’re physically up to the task.