Managing The Big 3 To Boss Your Goals
Walking into my office in preparation to train you will encounter the following:
- What did you eat today? Have you been eating consistently throughout the day/week?
- Show me your log.
- How much sleep did you get last night? The night before?
- Is everything going well outside the gym?
Now, we do not have therapy sessions we get in and get after it but I ingrain in all my client's mind's the importance of watching their nutrition, sleeping, and stress management. Or for short, the Big 3.
Managing the Big 3 is imperative to your performance. I will explain why the Big 3 are importance and simple ways to create daily habits to reinforce their management.
Track Your Food
You cannot out train a bad diet. Whether you're trying to gain muscle or lose fat, watching your food intake is an absolute necessity. Under eating when you have a demanding training session will lead to poor performance. Over consuming calories while striving to lose weight is the antithesis of hitting your goals.
If you have not already, download any food/nutrition application on your phone. You can search the Play or Apple store under "MyFitnessPal" and other similar applications will appear. Just about any food that you can eat have already been inputted in the data base so you can search and add. These applications have solid baselines to get an idea of your caloric needs. After you have downloaded the application, set 3-5 reminders in your phone to track your food. You should be tracking your food after each meal, which only takes a short amount of time. The typical American spends 23 hours on the phone each week, you can spare 10 seconds inputting your food on an app.
Sleep 7-8 Hours a Night
Skipping out on a good night's sleep is a sure fire way to skip away from your goals. Your body recovers from exercise, cements what you have learned in the day, and does it's own maintenance while you're sleep. When you stack on nights of sleep that are 6 hours or less research shows that the following occur;
- Increased muscle loss (especially while dieting/losing weight)
- Increase in fat retention
- Decrease in exercise performance
- Decrease in cognitive function
- Increased feelings of hunger
These are all acute (short term) reactions to lack of sleep. The problems worsen which include increased susceptibility to depression, obesity, and diabetes. Your sleep is an absolute major key.
Set a bedtime and commit to it. This may sound elementary but is an essential way to make sure you get enough sleep. Stay away from electronics about an hour before that bedtime while trying to decrease your fluid intake at the same time. Get your 7-8 hours.
This can be a very touchy subject since this dips well into the personal aspects of people's lives. But I do not shy away from speaking into this topic since it is real and effects overall performance.
Stress is a killer with chronic levels leading to a plethora of diseases that cripple individuals. While this fact is on a long term basis, in the acute term stress elevates feelings of anxiety, blood sugar levels, impairs judgement, and slows your ability to recover from exercise.
There is not a once size fits all approach since we all have our own set of issues that initiate stress. My key point in this discussion is to reinforce that we can control what we can control. Sleeping more and eating better is definitely a start in alleviating the onset of stress. Getting into gentle movement practices such as yoga and Tai Chi are effective in decreasing stress. Planning time to do the activities we enjoy for our own benefit is effective and is my personal favorite. Doing less overall may be a way to lower stress. Overall, we have to be reminded that we make the decisions in our lives and choosing to control what we can control helps tremendously in the aspect of stress management.
Practicing above is not an easy task to accomplish. This is the reason why such a high percentage of Americans are overweight, unhappy, and stressed. Implementing these simple techniques have been a proven method for myself, and clients that I have worked with to ensure they reach their goals. Creating new habits is hard, but after the habit is set the work becomes easy. Remember that.