The Role of Diet and Sleep in Your Quest To Lose Weight
You might be surprised to learn that many competitive athletes get nine or more hours of sleep each night. They have strict sleep schedules and routines that support good sleep. Why? Because your body, which you’re putting through the wringer each day, needs time to repair and recover.
Studies show that good sleep can improve speed, accuracy, and reaction time in athletes. Experts recommend that athletes, and that includes you with your new training program, get more sleep than you’re accustomed to. Most people need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. If you’re an athlete in training, you may need more.
Studies have shown that an additional two hours of sleep each night can result in improved athletic performance, meaning that you’ll be better able to achieve peak fitness and your fitness goals.
But sleep is only half of the equation. The other thing your body needs to perform optimally is fuel. We’re talking about food, of course.
Changing Your Nutrition Habits to Support Optimal Fitness
You’re probably aware of the importance of fueling after your workout. Post-workout nutrition is something that gets a lot of press. The general rule of thumb is to consume carbs and protein within 30 minutes of a workout. A protein shake is an easy way to get your calories and nutrients quickly.
But what about the rest of the time? What should you be eating when you’re not working out? The truth is that your calorie needs will likely increase as your training time and intensity increases. If you need to lose weight then this will be a balancing act.
Here’s a guideline that is easy to follow. Eat whole foods. Eat fruits, nuts, vegetables and protein. No sugar. You can follow the Zone Diet, the Paleo Diet or any other diet that you feel suits your goals and lifestyle needs. The best thing you can do for yourself is to avoid all processed foods.
If it comes in a box or a bag, skip it. The food you put into your body needs to support your health. Processed foods deplete health. They’re empty calories with chemicals and ingredients that actually harm your body. If you’re striving to reach optimal fitness, you’ll reach your goals more quickly if you support your health with good nutrition.
We’ve talked a lot about peak fitness goals and how to reach them. What we’ve yet to discuss is testing and tracking your results. How will you know when you’ve achieved success?