Are your Sleep Habits Sabotaging Your Health?

While a person is resting, it gives the brain time to process information that was taken in throughout the day in preparation for receiving more on the following one. When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, it pushes the brain to work even harder. This can cause individuals to suffer from memory impairment, and it can also delay motor skills. In other words, you need sleep in order to properly function, even when it comes to working out. If you’re lacking adequate rest, it can make you groggy, irritable, and slower when it comes to moving at your regular daily pace.

Canadian researchers tracked how sleep patterns affected weight over a six-year period.  People who slept 5 to 6 hours per night, as well as people who got 9 to 10 hours of sleep, were more likely to have gained 11 pounds at the end of six years. The scientists speculate that getting too much or too little sleep disrupts appetite control by stimulating the production of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite, while reducing leptin, a hormone that dulls the appetite.

What Happens

Optimal Sleep for Optimal Health

When you don’t get enough sleep, there is a hormone in your body known as leptin that drops; at the same time, another hormone known as ghrelin rises.

Ghrelin triggers the appetite. Without enough sleep, you go throughout your day eating food, but never really feeling satisfied. The research done at Stanford showed that there was a 14.9% increase of ghrelin in those patients who slept an average of 5 hours versus those that got an average of 8 hrs of sleep. Not only that – the results were the same regardless of gender, body type, eating habits, or exercise programs.

If you have too little leptin in your system, it tells your body that you are starving, and increases your appetite. When researchers studied the effects of sleeping habits on leptin hormone levels, it showed a 15.5% decrease in the same studied patients who slept an average of 5 hours as compared to those who slept consistently for 8 hours.

Another consequence of sleep deprivation has on your appetite is that if you didn’t sleep well the previous night, you usually will gravitate toward foods and drinks with lots of caffeine and sugar content.

These findings show us that we ought to be thinking about ways to incorporate sleep hygiene into standard weight control programs. So, the next time that you hear someone say that they’ll sleep when they’re dead, perhaps you should share this article with them. It’s not so much a cliché, but a declaration of a series of potential health risks. Sleep, ironically, helps you to live longer and healthier. And who doesn’t want that?

Top 8 Myths about Fitness Programs

Myth #1: You need cardio to lose weight

Strength training is the most effective way to lose weight.  Now, taken head to head, cardio probably burns more calories during a workout than even the most intense strength training, but the real benefit of strength training happens after the workout. For about 48 hours after each session, your metabolic rate remains elevated as your body builds and replaces lean muscle tissue. Now for the triple burn that no amount of cardio can provide: for every pound of lean muscle tissue you build through strength training, you speed your metabolism by 35 to 50 calories a day.

Myth #2: You need cardio to stay healthy

Strength training provides a much bigger health gain for your exercise buck. Here’s why. Stronger muscles take up and burn blood sugar more readily, reducing your risk of diabetes and stabilizing blood sugar levels 24-7. Cardio? It helps too, but only in the 24 hours after a session.

A 10 week study of 32 depressed seniors completed by Harvard researchers determined that three weekly strength training sessions significantly reduced depression, improved quality of life, social function, and even reduced sensations of pain.

Myth #3: A complete fitness program includes daily stretching

Yes, daily stretching can lengthen muscles, giving you more range of motion around a joint, but so can strength training, and you need to strength train much less often to get the same effect. In a Greek study of 32 seniors, strength training increased sit and reach flexibility (basically hamstring and back flexibility) as well as range of motion at the elbow, knee, shoulder and hip joints. A separate Greek study of 58 seniors found similar results, showing that the more intense the strength training program, the more flexible the study participants became.

Forget all the machines, all you need is a floor and a wall.

Myth #4: Women Need Light Resistance and Lots of Reps

High rep weight training can result in only two outcomes: If the weights are too light, it does nothing at all. If the weights are heavy enough to do anything, it makes you look like the  “Michelin Man”.

Myth #5: You Must Workout for 45 Minutes or Longer to Get Results

One rep is better than 12, and that one set is better than three. My shortest workout takes just 3 minutes to complete, but it gets you just as strong as that 90 minute workout. If you do a traditional weight lifting workout, you’ll do about 10 reps per exercise, spending about 15 seconds per set. You’ll do 12 different exercises, 3 sets of 10 reps each. That adds up to 36 sets. Between each set, you must rest and recover, usually for about 2 minutes. Do the math and you will find, as I have, that 36 sets will take about 90 minutes, but your muscles will actually be working only about 540 seconds, or about 9 minutes. That’s a lot of wasted time.

Myth #6: You Need to Fail to Succeed

Numerous studies show that 90 percent of dieters who do not exercise typically regain everything they lose within several months after they stop dieting. When you lose weight by dieting alone, about one-quarter of the weight you lose comes from muscle protein and not from your fat tissue. This slows your metabolism, increasing the likelihood that you’ll regain the weight. The National Weight Control Registry—the largest study of individuals who have successfully lost a lot of weight and kept it off long-term—has determined that regular exercise is the only solution for lasting weight loss.

Myth #7: You Need to do the Entire Nautilus Circuit to Get Results

Most gym workouts include 10 to 12 different exercises. That’s why so many people at the gym carry little pieces of paper around with them. They need to write down their workouts because they can’t remember all of the exercises. Research shows that the human brain can only retain about seven pieces of information at a time. That’s one reason why none of my workouts contain more than seven exercises.

My shortest workout includes just two. Most of my 90 Second exercises are big exercises. They require you to do special “compound” movements that stimulate more muscles throughout your body (in your abs, back, arms, and legs). The plank, for example, works your arms, chest, abdominals, back, legs, glutes, calves, toes, hands, wrists, and neck. The wall sit targets your legs, butt, abdominals, and low back. These two exercises work everything from your toes to your ears.

Myth #8: You Need to Train a Lot to Stay Healthy

If your muscles don’t burn it for energy, then it’s going to get converted to fat and come to
rest inside of a fat cell.  Even with strength training, most people think they need to do more than they really need. Depending on which of my strength training programs you use, you will work out as often as 5 days a week or as infrequently as once a week. That’s right. You didn’t read that wrong. I said once a week.

Research conducted by the Research and Sports Medicine Center, Government of Navarra, Spain has found that once weekly strength training along with once weekly cardio is just as effective at building strength as twice weekly strength training and endurance as twice weekly cardio. You can indeed go just as far by doing half as much.

(excerpts from The 90 Second Fitness Solution)

The Skinny on Being “Skinny Fat”

Do you know what it means to be “skinny fat”?  Just because you are not obviously visually overweight, that does not mean that you are healthy by any means. There are many people who appear to be thin and healthy, but the truth is, unless they are eating a healthy diet and regularly exercising, there is nothing healthy about them.

Regardless of the number, the goal is to be healthy.

Normal-weight obesity, also known as “skinny fat,” is a growing problem in the United States. These terms describe a person’s body composition that is high in fatty tissue in comparison to lean tissue, while still within normal limits of the body mass index (BMI). Those who are considered to be “skinny fat” do not appear to be overweight; however, they have a high percent body fat, especially visceral fat—the fat that surrounds vital organs.

The Evidence
In a study researchers found that unfit, underweight subjects were at a higher risk of mortality than the obese, fit subjects.  “Being thin doesn’t automatically mean you’re not fat,” said Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College, London. Since 1994, Bell and his team have scanned nearly 800 people with MRI machines to create “fat maps” showing where people store fat. According to the data, people who maintain their weight through diet rather than exercise are likely to have major deposits of internal fat, even if they are otherwise slim.  Of the women scanned, as many as 45% of those with normal BMI scores (20 to 25) actually had excessive levels of internal fat. Among men, the percentage was nearly 60%.

Solution? Exercise!
Experts have long known that fat, active people can be healthier than their skinny, inactive counterparts. “Normal-weight persons who are sedentary and unfit are at much higher risk for mortality than obese persons who are active and fit,” said Dr. Steven Blair, an obesity expert at the USC. When it comes to being fit, experts say there is no short-cut. If you want to actually be healthy, then exercise has to be an important component of your lifestyle. The less muscle you have, the less work your bones have to do. Your bones are living tissues directly related to your blood, immune system, strength, longevity – even your mood. You know how coral reefs are actually living organisms that provide all sorts of vital and irreplaceable functions to the fish and plants and water surrounding them? Your bones are your body’s coral reef. You have to feed them. And weight-bearing activity = food for bones.

Veronica Weismann’s Success with 90 Second Fitness Solution

“When I started training with Pete, I weighed 247 pounds. My blood pressure was 145 over 120 and my blood sugar was high enough to earn me a pre-diabetes diagnosis. The excess weight put pressure on my joints, creating so much back pain that I could barely move.

                Veronica Weismann

My husband accompanied me to my first appointment with Pete. I was frightened.  I figured that I was going to be the fattest and the oldest person (at the time I was in my late 40s) in the gym. I also wasn’t completely convinced that Pete’s workout was going to work. In fact, I thought it was impossible that 1 short, weekly workout was going to help me lose nearly 100 pounds. He has since made me a believer. As I tell all of my friends, one workout with Pete is equal to 6 workouts somewhere else.  At first I went just once a month. I was worried that doing anything more would hurt my back. Somehow I managed to lose 10 pounds. Six months later, after I was convinced that my back pain had resolved, I began training once a week and I also began taking Pete’s eating suggestions seriously.

Instead of skipping meals (my usual weight loss tactic up to that point), I began eating regular meals, especially breakfast. I reorganized my kitchen, stocking my shelves with high fiber, whole foods and getting rid of tempting foods that I didn’t want to eat. I stopped going to coffee houses to avoid the temptation of eating one of those huge, 600 calorie muffins. I began planning my meals better to avoid the temptation of coming home from work, feeling too tired to cook, and consequently ordering a pizza. Finally, I stopped celebrating with food. Instead of going out to eat to celebrate, I would go for a walk or go shopping.

It took me 1 ½ years, but I did it. I got down to my goal of 150. As the weight dropped, my health improved. My blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar are now all normal. As I lost weight and got stronger, I transformed. The more I strengthened my body with Pete, the more I wanted to move and exercise. I now love to work out. I can’t stand it if I can’t get to the gym to move my body.

It’s now been 10 years since I lost the weight. Last year I tried the indoor climbing wall at a resort and was able to go higher than two people who were in their 20s! The last time I had my bone density checked, my doctor told me I had the bones of an 18 year old. Pete’s program absolutely, positively works. I’m living proof.”