Posted by bobby
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how it is possible that our training program has managed to give you more results in 3 months than you have seen in the past 3 years? Most of you are just happy to see these results and continue to listen to your coaches telling you to go deeper in your squat or to not overextend your back when going overhead. Your coach sees you for about an hour a day and works to perfect your body movements, asks about your nutrition and makes sure you are recovering. Trust me, if we could follow each one of you around all day to tell you to pull your shoulders back, tighten your abs, eat more kale and go to bed on time, we would.
One little simple tiny thing that can help you train harder and see results faster is just some good ol’ fashioned sleep. We mean 8-9 hours of uninterrupted quality sleep not 2-3 hours of sleep followed by tossing and turning or 10 hours of drunken sleep. A lot of stuff goes on in your sleep. In a report published in the “Journal of Sleep,” researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine proclaimed, “Chronic loss of physiological sleep has been documented to adversely affect endocrine function, cardiovascular events, and other health-related outcomes.”
Think of your body like Caesar’s Palace casino in Vegas. There is constant wear and tear happening on it all the time. As things break or get dirty, there are people coming around to clean it up. Imagine your sleep session like the casino at 5AM on a Wednesday. The place isn’t completely shut down, but it’s running on the bare minimum staff. It’s not the sexy cocktail waitresses or the fast talking card dealers, it’s the C-team crew and the janitorial staff that is cleaning and fixing all the broken lights. This is exactly what your body is going through when you sleep. It begins to rebuild muscle and release growth hormone to help your body recover from the hard days work. Recovering allows the body to take on any future stress you put on it. You induce stress on your muscles, ligaments, central nervous system and tendons destroys tiny bits of tissue. As you sleep, your body rebuilds the tissue even stronger to withstand future stresses.
If you don’t get the proper rest, it’s like a casino floor not getting the proper cleaning and reorganization. That casino wouldn’t function nearly as well if it was filthy and all of the card dealers and cocktail waitresses never went home. The janitorial staff never came to clean up. You wouldn’t want to spend your money there and the place would probably go out of business. Your body needs to regroup just like the Vegas casino.
As the hormones are released in your sleep, your body works on cell repair and growth. This means faster recovery, which means training harder for longer durations of time without overtraining yourself. A decrease in sleep means your muscles metabolize glucose less efficiently. Glucose is part of what makes muscles work. If the muscles don’t metabolize it properly, they don’t work properly. That’s the feeling of hitting the wall in the middle of a workout, but imagine it from the very beginning of your workout. Also a lack of sleep can also increase the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to increased weight gain, memory loss and impair muscle recovery.
Make it a science experiment with your body. Try getting great sleep one week and track your performance and muscle soreness. Then try to get less than 6 hours of sleep each night and try the same thing. Unless you’re an evolutionary genetic freak, you should see a drastic difference in your recovery time and work capacity.
The movements we do also are affected by our sleep. The neuromuscular highway we talk about is a fancy word for coordination. This means that your body needs to learn how to move efficiently and safely when performing certain movements. We introduce new stresses: some heavy, some light, some fast and some slow. Your mind is constantly trying to figure out how to accomplish these tasks based on your body’s strengths and weaknesses. Lack of sleep impairs your brain on making these decisions. This will inevitably lead to injury since your brain isn’t able to effectively direct your body to move safely. It’s like doing a WOD while being drunk. Not a good idea…well not ALWAYS a good idea.
Tips on getting better sleep for recovery:
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Do not use your bed to read or watch TV. It should be used for sleeping and sex and that’s it.
- Try to keep your room as dark as possible.
- Keep your bedroom nice and cool. Ideally the human body likes 60 degrees to sleep.
- After a big workout (like Murph) or a tough 3 days in a row of grueling WODs, try to get as much sleep as possible. I usually go for one day a week where I can get 10 hours of sleep.
- Try going to bed earlier. Get ready to go to sleep as soon as the sun goes down and try getting up when the sun rises. Paleo sleep!
- If your mind races, try meditation techniques. There are several out there, just try one that works for you.
- Don’t drink too much water before bed. Even getting up to go to the bathroom will interrupt your REM cycle.
- Get into a routine before bed each night.
- Try not to drink any alcohol before bed. Some people sleep better with one glass of wine and some don’t. Just try not to shotgun 12 beers each night before bed.
Workout of the Day
A.) Warm-up: 400 meter run, 25 double unders, group dynamic
B.) Agility ladders, 20 tire flips, 10 burpee broad jumps, max PLANK hold!
C.) 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 reps for time of:
- KB Swings (1.5/1),
- Ring Rows