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Is your fitness regime missing this vital element?

FITNESS: A simple staple can help improve your fitness results

IN THE words of Patti Stanger aka The Millionaire Matchmaker, “what are your 5 non-negotiables?” Now you are probably thinking, "this was in relation to being in a platonic relationship", yes, true! But what about the platonic relationship you have with your body.

Your body is 100% committed to you, but are you 100% committed to your body?

Staple number one is sleep! Unfortunately, sleep is extremely underrated although research has shown and proved on multiple occasions how important the right amount of sleep is for optimum results. The right amount of sleep will increase and heighten your athletic performance in relation to speed, agility and quickness.

You will see improvements in muscle growth, fat loss, controlled eating, mental and physiological boosts and an increase in energy just to name a few. If these benefits are not enough to make sleep a priority or your number one staple, then you choose not to be in a platonic relationship with your body.

There are two common goals that fitness enthusiasts want to immediately achieve and these are fat loss, specifically in the tummy area and muscle gain.

While there are a number of elements to help you achieve these results such as how often you train, what exercises you do, stretching, and the right nutrition plan to compliment your training, the body requires rest in order for muscle recovery, muscle growth and fat loss to occur.

When we deprive our body from one of its necessities – in this case sleep – there is a reduction in testosterone production, which is a natural hormone produced in the body that helps with muscle growth. Testosterone has a higher production when the body is at complete rest.

Not only that, but during rest the cardiovascular system relaxes, your heartbeat lowers resulting in blood pressure reduction. Then there is fat loss, but first, it’s important to understand that when we sleep well, we wake up feeling alive, fully functional and energised.

We have better control, become fantastic decision makers and less impulsive choices, which all inform our daily eating habits. When we lack sleep, we are the complete opposite and this massively impacts on our nutritional choices.

As our energy depletes, we decide that we need to do everything humanly possible to spike our energy throughout the course of the day, resulting in a higher intake of caffeine stimulants, coffee and energy drinks packed with tons of sugar. We are also drawn to high fatty and sugary foods therefore counteracting our physical results.

It’s important to recognise that at rest, our body is working very hard to repair any damage that we have caused throughout the course of the day and by this, I also mean our training. When we train, we tear our muscle fibres purposely in order for them to grow and this growth takes place during rest.

When we receive enough sleep we have better eating habits throughout the course of the day supporting and increasing catabolism at night, which is the process for the breakdown of muscle and fat.

Simply put, while the lack of sleep will not completely deter growth, it will slow down the process also making you susceptible to injury. Prevent your hard work and efforts from being ineffective, become in-line with what your body needs.

Make sleep your number one staple. It has been recommended that we need at least 8 hours sleep per night. Don’t become the five-hour nightly vampire, thinking you can take over the world on a low battery source. Enhance your body’s capabilities by feeding your body with what it needs. If you do this, guaranteed, in return your body will outperform what your mind thought the body could do.

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