A lot of you have been able to attend the Burn it to Earn FIT seminars we've hosted (one more chance tomorrow night at 7:00!) and we've talked about the fitness triangle of nutrition, exercise and supplementation. I'd also add STRESS and SLEEP (but then it's not a fitness triangle, it would be a fitness square which doesn't have the same ring to it.
We are all busy with work, trying to fit in our workouts, meal planning and kids activities. There’s football, hockey, soccer practice, oh and there's also chess club, piano lessons, and PTA meetings.
Life can be crazy sometimes, and for many of us, we love that our kids have so many interests. It can also be stressful and it could mean we are now going to bed later (or racing thoughts of everything that needs to be done causing major issues getting and staying asleep).
How major? For many people getting to and staying asleep can be the exact thing that keeps them from reaching their fitness goals. The main reason for this could be stress! Stress can come from many factors including physical, emotional, mental, environmental, nutritional, chemical or physiological.
How does stress affect our metabolism?
Insufficient sleep increases leptin resistance (where we no longer sense fullness as easily) and it increases ghrelin production (our stomach literally tells our brain we are more hungry). Bottom line is, you end the day feeling hungry and have a hard time controlling your appetite. Even worse, when we are overly tired our body craves sugar, which the body can use as a quick (but not long lasting) fuel source.
The other issue with stress can be excess secretion of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is your primary stress hormone. With short-term (or acute) stress cortisol performs some necessary functions such as increasing your alertness, making more glucose (or blood-sugar) available for quick energy, and increasing your pulse rate to deliver more oxygen to your muscle cells. That way you can fight or run from the stress. Most of the time, those responses are unnecessary. But today’s stresses don’t just go away, and neither does the secretion of cortisol in many people. When cortisol is chronically elevated, it breaks down muscle tissue, increases inflammation, disrupts sleep, increases cravings, and increases storage of belly fat.
Sleep, a good mood, and performance are directly related. Anyone who starts their day after a restful night is better able to concentrate on work and feels more balanced. Conversely, constant fatigue leads to a drop in performance which can lead to unhappiness over an extended period of time. The potential outcome is worry and sleeplessness, which is certainly a vicious circle.
So what can you do?
Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga can be extremely important. So can going to bed at a decent time. Studies show that in order for the body to function properly we need to get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Going to be at 10:00 if you know you need to be up at 6:00 is a good start. Studies also show that watching TV or looking at your tablet or smartphone has a NEGATIVE impact on sleep.
We can also supplement. Glutamine has been shown to have a calming effect and counteracts symptoms of stress. The amino acid glutamine is involved in many metabolic processes. It stabilizes the immune system, strengthens the intestinal cells and helps against stress, depression and anxiety.
Glutamine is the most important supplier of energy to the immune and intestinal cells. If there is a deficiency in this amino acid, these cells become sluggish and they cannot function properly. Several studies show that concentrations of glutamine in the body are diminished during times of physical or psychological stress. At the same time, the number of cell-damaging free radicals skyrockets. This creates a chain reaction: with the decreasing glutamine content, the cells do not have the fuel to carry out their functions. The immune system is weakened and the intestinal mucosa gradually loses its protective effect. In extreme cases this can lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Our supplement of the week is called Catalyst, which is an amino acid supplement that we talked about earlier, and has the ability to prevent muscle breakdown. Catalyst also has 1200 mg of glutamine, which is the main ingredient!
Talk to a Fuse Fitness Coach to get Catalyst today! To save 20% on Catalyst and other great Advocare products click here