Category: Sleep

Surprising Ways Alcohol Affects Your Workout

Alcohol

We all like to cut loose and have a few drinks now and then, and maybe you even use alcohol as a little reward for a hard workout. After all, you put in the miles during the day, why not unwind with a few drinks in the evening? Depending on your definition of “a few,” however, your imbibing could be a little dent – or a major blow – to your fitness routine. Let’s take a look at what alcohol does to your fitness, and when you may want to lay off the sauce.

  • Alcohol And Sleep

When people drink too much they tend to get sleepy. So alcohol must be good for sleep, right? Well, not so much. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a few too many drinks, you probably didn’t wake up in the morning feeling too well rested. Alcohol can actually prevent REM sleep, which is the kind of sleep your body needs to feel rested. And that lack of sleep will end up costing you in the gym, impairing your ability to build muscle and recover.

  • Nutrition

Alcohol is empty calories. You really aren’t getting any nutritional value when you throw back a few drinks after dinner. And that means you’re putting a ton of extra calories into your body without any kind of benefit for your workout. Many of your favorite drinks are packed with sugar to make them taste better, and just a couple could put you way over your limit for the day. Plus there’s the issue of those late-night pizzas or burritos. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, and makes it a whole lot easier to give into your cravings after you leave the bar.

  • Dehydration

Drinking after a workout is a bad idea, simply because alcohol doesn’t contain anything you need to recover, but also because alcohol acts as a diuretic, forcing you to pee more often and dehydrating your body. You probably already need to rehydrate after a workout, so grabbing a couple beers to celebrate your new mile time is a bad idea.

Also, drinking the night before working out isn’t a great idea either, for pretty much the same reason. You’re going to wake up dehydrated and possibly with a hangover. Your performance is definitely going to be affected, and you just won’t get the most out of your workout routine.

  • Moderation Is Key

We know this all sounds pretty rough, but you actually can still drink alcohol and maintain a fitness regimen. It’s all about moderation. Drinking in moderation will lessen all of the effects listed above, and it can also raise good cholesterol and lower stress.

If you’re like most of us, you don’t want to give up your beer or wine completely, but you still want to see results at the gym. The easiest way to do this is by drinking in moderation and getting the proper nutrition for recovery. Check out our protein bars for a good way to get your body what it needs after a tough workout!

How Sleep Affects Your Athletic Performance and Recovery

Performance and Recovery

Sleep, or the lack of sleep, has a major impact on athletic performance, among other things. While many athletes are focused on things like finding the right energy bars to fit in with their caloric methods, they might be neglecting things like sleeping for the right amount of time.

What Does Sleep Do?

Sleeping is the body’s way of repairing itself and managing the information for the day. It’s like the late night filter that tosses out all the things you don’t need so that your body and brain aren’t full of useless information. It also helps repair tired muscles so that they can perform at their best on the next day. The recommended amount of sleep a person gets is 7-9 hours, but athletes in training should plan on sleeping more hours than that, since their bodies will need more healing and rest.

Performance Issues

Stanford University recently conducted a study to see how sleep affected performance in athletes. When athletes slept for 2 more hours than they normally did, their speed increased by 5%, while their free throw accuracy increased by 9%. Another study revealed that athletes who got a full night’s sleep experienced enhanced performance in the afternoon as opposed to the morning hours. While these studies touched on different details, it’s easy to see that sleep has a measurable impact on the performance of athletes, as well as an impact on what time of the day their performance is optimal.

Suggestions for Athletes

Just as athletes adjust their diets to include things like low-carb protein bars, they have to adjust their sleep schedule as well. If you are in training and therefore more active than usual, plan on going to bed a bit earlier. Remember that the body has to rest and repair while you sleep, so you need to give it ample time to do just that.

Avoid Sleep Aids

Sleep aids can impact the way you sleep and what your body does while sleeping. Instead of using sleep aids, consider developing a pattern that tells your body it’s time to go to sleep. Do the same thing every night to prepare your body for rest. You can even adjust your diet for this purpose. Just as you might eat energy bars to increase performance, consider drinking teas with natural relaxers to help relax the body and prepare it for sleep. Chamomile tea is one suggestion, but there are several other teas that also aid in relaxation.

Performance and Recovery

Sleep deprivation can reduce your level of performance, while added hours of sleep can increase it. You should always get a good night’s sleep, but when you are in training, it’s even more important to make sure you add a bit extra to compensate for the extra effort your body is putting forth. It’s especially important that you avoid chemicals that can impact your sleep at this time, like alcohol and caffeine. Treat your body right by giving it the proper sleep and nutrition it needs, and it will treat you right by performing to the standards you require.

Promax Nutrition gives people who want better bodies the protein, vitamins, and minerals they need in delicious, gluten-free, vegetarian snack bars.  To learn more about Promax Nutrition products, check us out online.

5 Reasons Why We Support Evening Workouts

Evening Workout

As athletes, we know that sleep and rest is necessary to our training. Without good rest in between our training, our muscles don’t have the time they need to recover from our workouts and grow. We also know that without sleep, it makes it harder to make good nutritional choices since hormones like Leptin and Ghrelin affect our appetite. But what we hear a lot about regarding sleep is the timing of it—not just how much we are supposed to get a night but in particular for athletes, we hear that we shouldn’t be training so closely to our bedtimes if we don’t want them to be negatively affected. Promax is here to set the record straight. Here are 5 reasons that it’s a perfectly good idea to fit in an evening workout.

You Won’t Miss Out on Sleep

The thing about morning workouts, is that even if you get your workout out of the way before the stress of your day sets in, you often end up losing out on sleep. If you ask many athletes if they hit the snooze button or force themselves to wake up an hour or more early to fit in their workout, many may admit that they sacrifice sleep for a workout. But that’s not a good thing, because we need sleep just as much as we need exercising. Fitting in a workout in the afternoon or evening however, helps avoid missing out on sleep. You’re already up and going on about your day, so why not throw on your spandex and fit in a workout before turning in for the night?

Your Body is Already Warmed Up

In the morning your body is hopefully well rested from the busy day before and so warming up your muscles and getting motivated takes some effort. But in the afternoon and evening, you are already accustomed to being awake and moving around. A study from Northeastern University even found that a body’s temperature is higher between the hours of 2:00pm and 6:00pm and thus it’s easier to push your body to its limits when your muscles are warmer. Who knows, this could begin a new habit of hitting the gym for happy hour, instead of the bar.

You’ll Have a Buddy

It’s not easy to find a friend who has the same fitness goals and motivations as you and even when you do, it’s certainly difficult to find one who is open to getting up at the break of dawn to work out. If you choose to work out in the late afternoon or evening however, it’s must more likely that you’ll find a workout buddy who has a similar work schedule to you so you can find a convenient time that works for each of you.

You’ll Avoid Too Much Sun

The great thing about this time of year is that the sun rises early and sets late. That said, it’s hard to find the motivation to work out when the sun is too high in the sky. More important than motivation, is that it can be difficult to remain hydrated when it’s so hot out. If you make the decision to exercise in the evening, then you can take advantage of the cool summer evenings and be refreshed by your workout rather than overheated.

You Will Sleep Better

Exercise gets a hormone pumping in our body called epinephrine, similar to adrenaline, meaning that we do get a little lift from it. But that said, it’s not a HUGE lift with a big enough effect to keep us up at night. In fact, a study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology states that unless exercising at a very high intensity, your workout is not very likely to negatively affect your sleep. Other studies go so far as to show that those who exercise, no matter what time of day, sleep better than those who don’t.

What’s Your Evening Routine?

Do you workout in the evening? If so, how do you schedule your workout and post meal nutrition with your sleep? We’d love to hear about your routine. Feel free to join the discussion on our Facebook page or get in touch directly!

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/22/health/upwave-night-exercise/
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/exercise-and-sleep
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/19/exercise-affects-sleep_n_3437881.html
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20058462
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20673290
http://www.fitbie.com/get-fit/tips/6-misconceptions-about-sleep-and-exercise
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/exercise-at-night

Do I Snooze or Do I Sweat? Should You Choose Sleep over Your Workout

Sleeping on Yoga Mat

It’s easy to get tired in the world we live in. Think about it. We’re always on the go, always working toward a new goal, and once we reach it, we’re already onto the next one. And while this kind of mindset is ambitious and healthy, it can be exhausting. We all know that there are days when we look at our gym bag—and then we think about our bed. When is it time to say “enough is enough” and skip a workout to catch up on sleep? Do you choose that extra hour of sleep in the morning or do you get up, lace up your sneakers, and hit the pavement? A lot of advice columnists answering this question will say “You can do both!” How ideal of them. The reality of it is, sometimes you have to make a choice—there’s no way you can possibly fit everything into your schedule, unless you somehow add more hours to the day (we’ve been trying to do it for years and it hasn’t worked yet, so good luck).

What hormones does sleep help regulate?

Ah, this is interesting. So there are a couple hormones that our body releases that specifically are related to our food intake. Leptin is a hormone that suppresses hunger. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite. In order to have a proper balance of these hormones, which with the right choices can lead to great nutritional habits, you need to get a proper amount of sleep.

What is a proper amount of sleep?

The jury is actually still out on that one. For some it’s 6 and for others it’s 9. Because so many people fluctuate in the amount of sleep they need, doctors recommend getting in about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. When you stop to think about it, it seems like a lot—that’s the average amount of time people spend at their job every day…and we’re supposed to get that much sleep? The answer is yes. For all the work you do during the day physically and mentally, you need the sleep. Just like we need to refuel our bodies after a workout, sleep is a way for us to refuel after each day.

Can I workout if I’ve gotten less sleep than that?

The “proper amount of sleep” jury and this jury are apparently out to lunch together, because that is also up for debate. It all depends on how much sleep you normally get and how good you feel. If you normally get 7 hours and only got 6.5 or 6 the night before, you may be able to fit in a light workout. If you only got 4 hours however, we wouldn’t recommend it. That’s because your body hasn’t spent the time it needs recuperating yet. Sure, you can work out, but odds are that you won’t be able to give it your all like you did on a day after you got a good night’s rest.

What if I really really want to work out?

If you haven’t gotten enough sleep and are really itching to work out—which we totally understand, because exercise relieves stress, then take a nap. We recommend taking a power nap for about 10-20 minutes and nothing longer. Taking a longer nap could get you kicked in to your REM cycle which is a way deeper sleep then you want to sink into before a sweat session. After your power nap, you should be good to go and work out. But be easy on yourself and listen to your body!

What’s the Promax jury’s ruling?

Like we spoke about before, it’s hard to say what is the right and wrong thing to do because everyone is different. Whether you should snooze or sweat all depends on you, your regular sleep schedule, your nutritional habits, how rigorous your workout is, and many other factors. All in all, it may be smarter to spend the extra hour catching up on sleep if you really need it. Exercising when you’re too tired can lead to mistakes in form and injury. But then again, you are an athlete and you know your limits—so you decide. If you think you’ve solved the mystery, we want to hear from you—feel free to get in touch directly!

Sources:

http://blog.anytimefitness.com/healthy-debate-sleep-vs-working/
http://greatist.com/fitness/dear-greatist-which-more-important-sleep-or-exercise

http://www.thegreatfitnessexperiment.com/2009/11/sleep-vs-exercise-which-is-more.html

http://soreyfitness.com/fitness/sleep-or-workout-weightloss/

http://www.outsideonline.com/1870011/sleep-or-exercise

http://www.endofthreefitness.com/the-definitive-guide-to-sleep-and-fitness/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18648/whats-more-important-exercise-or-sleep.html

 

Count Them: 6 Facts About Sleep That Make You Stronger

SleepFacts

There isn’t an athlete alive that hasn’t felt tired from time to time. Even if you aren’t overtraining, you likely experience occasional fatigue not only from your exercise routine, but also from the demands of your busy life.
There has never been a more important time to prioritize the healthy habit of sleep.
Every bit as important as diet and exercise, a regular seven or more hours of deep sleep is critical to long-term health. Doctors, psychologists, sports trainers, and coaches are jumping on the sleep bandwagon, prescribing sleep for optimal achievement. Not convinced?
Here are just six critical functions of your nightly rest.

Sleep Benefits You Need to Achieve

1. Deep sleep repairs heart and blood vessels. While you rest, your body protects you against the long-term damage of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This important repair work to your heart and blood vessels can only occur during sleep. Those who get less than six hours a night have a much higher risk of heart attack or stroke.

2. Deep sleep regulates appetite and metabolism. Each night, your body takes advantage of your sleeping hours to re-regulate your hormones, including those that control hunger. As a result, you will experience less hunger and feel satisfied sooner. Also, sleep restores a healthy metabolism, so you will more efficiently use the calories you do consume and put on less weight overall.

3. Deep sleep manages growth hormone. Not just for children and teens, growth hormone is key to adult long-term health. Your body uses this hormone to rebuild muscle tissue and bone, helping you heal faster, exercise safer, and live longer. You need this to repair damage done daily during workout and regular wear-and-tear.

4. Deep sleep minimizes inflammatory proteins. Guard against the aches and pains of arthritis with restorative sleep. Those who sleep longer are at less risk of osteoarthritis, and even chronic inflammatory arthritis sufferers experience a decrease in symptoms with more sleep.

5. Deep sleep maximizes the immune system. During sleep, your immune system is strengthened and restored, helping you fight off common illnesses and protecting you against disease. Conversely, those who sleep less than seven hours each night experience fewer sick days and are more prone to serious disease and disability.

6. Deep sleep improves brain function. One of the most critical of all sleep benefits is the tremendous renewal of mental ability. During sleep, your brain builds new pathways to work more efficiently, while memories are organized effectively for better recall later. This results in faster reaction time, better decision-making skills, less stress, and heightened sense of confidence during the day. This may be why athletes who sleep close to ten hours on a regular basis overcome obstacles and achieve their goals faster.

These are just a few of the powerful benefits of regular restorative sleep. Be sure to schedule seven to ten hours each night to ensure you are maximizing your health and making the most of every waking hour.