80% diet and 20% fitness … Have you ever had anyone tell you this, or said it yourself?

First off, let me call bullshit on all of those that utter these numbers to anyone – especially trainers saying it to their clients. How can you quantify a number with an intangible like working out and healthy eating?!

Nevertheless, if one were to use these numbers as a guide on how to spend your day to get the most out of your 24 hours, then you NEED to add in a 35% sleep to the equation.

Somehow, our culture has decided that #hustling and #grinding on any aspect of life, means that the first thing we must do is cut down the amount of sleep we have daily. This couldn’t be more wrong, especially in the world of health, wellness, and fitness. The negatives of a lack of sleep and positives of a good sleep can affect every aspect of your fitness goals.

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The Negatives

  • Possible weight gain
    • According to The Active Times, without sleep, fat cells’ ability to react properly to insulin decreases by 30%, leading to a possible weight gain and type 2 diabetes. This is the exact opposite direction we all want to head to after working so hard during the other 16 hours of the day.
  • Negative motional feedback
    • If our brain isn’t given enough time to repair, the part of our brain that handles REASONING isn’t able to control the amygdala which controls our “EMOTIONS.” This makes it much harder to cope and process emotions. Long-term effects of this can lead down an unwanted path of unstable emotions.
  • Depression
    • With an occurrence of the long-term effects of lack of emotional reasoning, feelings of depression may start to develop, making it difficult to get the motivation to work out and eat well. Although these problems are far smaller than the bigger picture of depression, working out and eating well are still critical to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Inflammation
    • Increased levels of inflammatory markers can occur also, leading to many possible diseases. However, strictly looking from a fitness perspective, the inflammation we create from a hard workout and proper eating WON’T be taken care of in the repair mode our body goes in when we sleep. Thus, making the muscle soreness and inflammation a constant, holding back peak performance.

The Positives

  • Improved concentration
    • Our mind functions at its highest possible level when we have a proper amount of sleep, allowing for positive vibes when we are ready to hit the gym. The proper amount of sleep also empowers us with the power to better ourselves through every rep, compared to when in a sleep fog.
  • Higher chance of eating less throughout the day
    • With a proper amount of sleep, mind and body are in a more positive state, which helps decrease the desire for negative eating habits that we know will only give us a short positive outcome.
  • Better immune function
    • You probably see this more in other people than in yourself. Think of that friend who is always sick or complaining about feeling “off”, saying it’s “just their luck”. No, it’s not their luck, take a step back and see how they live their life. There is a high percentage chance that they lack a solid amount of sleep. While you won’t be immune to diseases, you will have a much faster bounce back rate if you are living a healthier lifestyle with proper sleep.
  • Higher percentage of lean muscle gain
    • While we sleep, growth hormones are released, allowing our body to repair from the day’s damage. Repairs also mean growth for muscles that were torn down and fats being used as energy. When our sleeps are short or always interrupted, we can’t optimize to our full potential.
  • Sex
    • In both men and women, the natural drive for sexual desires drop when a constant lack of sleep occurs. Men’s testosterone levels drop and the same can happen to women (although it’s much harder for this to occur in women). Women experience their own problems occurring in their bodily functions when they lack sleep.

As I have learned over the years with many aspects in life, doing one thing to gain one advantage in your body is undeniably impossible. The positive effects of getting more sleep touch on so many different areas, which then reach out to more areas and aspects that you wouldn’t connect in your head unless you stepped back and did a deep analysis of what is going on in your current well being.

How I generalize it is like this…

If I get a good 6-8 hours of sleep, my hormone levels will be positive, allowing for maximum fat loss and positive muscle gain from the previous day’s work out and proper diet. My 6-8 hours of sleep allows me to not only wake up feeling refreshed, but also think clearly, thus starting my day in a positive mood with high testosterone levels. Now that I’m 32 years old, I’m no spring chicken and need to help my testosterone levels as much as possible. With a positive mood, I have an increased desire to have a productive day at work, an effective work out, and eat clean so I can do the same for tomorrow’s morning and be on a daily high!

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