Is sleep getting in the way of your body composition goals??

 

This past week the east coast was hit by one of the worst storms in over a century, Hurricane Sandy. New York City, the city that never sleeps, suddenly came to a standstill. While the region began its recovery Tuesday morning, many of us were unable to work this week. This lull in work gave me an opportunity to recover from a full work and training schedule, catch up on some sleep, and brainstorm on some blogging, which I have not kept up with in months.

Many of you know Im a big fan of Dr. John Berardi, and Precision Nutrition. This week as I was catching up on sleep, going from an average of 7 hours per week to 8, John posed several questions and research articles on sleep and how it affects the way we metabolize food, and its consequences on body composition and performance.

Many of us are very good at maintaining a consistent training schedule, yet sleep and sleep quality, our tools for recovering from a workout, and metabolizing food, take a back seat. According to Precision Nutrition's "All about Sleep," the average adults gets 7 hours of sleep per night. 33% of adults get 6.5 hours or less. A century ago, adults averaged 9 hours a night. This is attributed to many of the modern day distractions we have, and what sleep researchers are calling voluntary sleep curtailment.

Consequently, research is finding a correlation between sleep, insulin resistance, and subsequent obesity. While I do not work with a largely obese clientele, I do work with many people who have body composition goals. The challenge is motivating my athletes to place a greater focus on the recovery process of fitness, and less so on the stimulus. At the end of the body composition continuum, managing several smaller areas of your recovery can add up to big results. Inadequate sleep, and diets high in refined carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners, chronically elevate insulin levels. This begins to dull the bodies sensitivity to insulin, inhibiting not only the transport of sugars into muscle for growth, but the ability to burn fat as well. Excess blood sugar is then stored as body fat, while the rest continues to circulate throughout the body, wreaking havoc on other systems.

In addition to insulin shutting down our fat burning capacity, many anabolic hormones are inhibited, compounding an already retarded muscle building process. Studies in young healthy men have shown that in just 2 days of 4 hours of sleep per night, our hormone balance is disrupted. After just 2 days of low rest, the participants had the insulin sensitivity of a pre diabetic 70 year old man! Failure to get several full cycles of sleep each night resulted in lowered growth hormone secretion which not only inhibits muscles development but can also tapers exercise performance, though the exerciser may feel like their working hard.

Decreased Human Growth Hormone (HGH) = decreased muscle building and recovery Decreased Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) = decreased metabolism Increased Cortisol = decreased insulin sensitivity, increased stress levels

We know that consistent strength training boosts both insulin sensitivity, and anabolic hormone activity. Perhaps you have been following a consistent strength program, but are negating it with poor macronutrient choices and timing, and poor sleep. If your routine has not been yielding the results you see others getting, maybe its times to improve on some these other areas of heath and fitness.

For more info on ways to improve your fat burning capacity with both sleep, nutrition and training see these link below.

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-sleep

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/sleep-and-insulin-resistance

http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=1526539 Alywn Cosgrove's Hierarchy of Fat Loss

Body Fat Comparison

In the book "SLICED" by Bill Reynolds & Negrita Jayde, the states of muscularity are objectified as follows: "House" >= 20% - No visible muscle definition, and only a hint of separation between major muscle groups, if those groups are very large. Basically a person in this state could be confused for a football lineman. If you're higher than this bodyfat percentage, you'd be considered overweight/obese.

"Hard" >= 15% - Some muscle separation appears between delts and upper arm. Abs are still not visible

 

"Cut" - >= 12% - More muscle separation appears particularly in the chest and back, outline of the abs begins to appear slightly.

 

 

"Defined" >= 10% - Muscle separations get deeper in the arms, chest, legs and back, and abs appear when flexed.

"Ripped" >= 7-9% - Abs are clearly visible all the time, vascularity in arms is prominent, chest and back separation is obvious, and face is starting to appear more angular. Condition can be held indefinitely.

"Shredded" >=5-7% - Striations appear in large muscle groups when flexed. Vascularity appears in lower abdomen and in the legs. Condition can be held for several days with careful dieting. Competitive bodybuilders often aim for this state for competition day.

"Sliced" <= 3% - Muscles and tendons begin to appear in the face. Muscle striations and vascularity highly visible. Subcutaneous water levels are near 0. Condition can only be held for a few hours at a time. Not a healthy condition to stay in due to lower water level. Note - The male body requires 3% body fat for normal bodily function, women require 12%.

Body Recomposition or Body Decomposition?

All too often, clients obsess over body weight, weighing themselves daily on overpriced, deceptively marketed, home scales. While weight loss may be a good measure of assessment for obese individuals, goals change as one reaches a healthy weight. Body composition, a comparison of ones lean to fat mass, is a better reflection of health. While an obese individual's goal is to lose as much mass as possible, this loss of mass is also at the expense of lean tissues, such as muscle and bone. Once a desired weight, or Body Mass Index, is achieved, its important to reevaluate goals, programming, and diet, shifting the focus to building lean mass, and continuing to burn unwanted body fat. What may have worked to drop a significant amount of pounds, is not going to work for cutting fat and building muscle. Muscle is developed through appropriate doses of resistance training, followed by a proper balance of macronutrients and sleep. Muscle is metabolically active tissue. It requires a lot of calories to develop and a lot to sustain. This increased energy demand to sustain your newly developed muscle mass, taps into fat stores, and devotes consumed calories toward the creation and sustenance of your metabolically active tissues, thereby stripping you of excess body fat. This is a delicate balance, however. Too many calories, and your body will store the excess as fat; to few calories, and your body will shed muscle, conserving calories for vital organ function, thereby decreasing your metabolism. (see Resting Metabolic Rate) To determine your resting metabolic rate, use this formula, or consult with a local dietician to help establish an eating plan that maximizes lean mass development, increases your metabolism, and burns fat! Seek out a fitness professional in your area, and have your body fat measured. Read these steps The Hierarchy of Fatloss, outlined by famed fat loss guru Alwyn Cosgrove, on the most effective activities for developing muscle and burning fat. Hint: Its not cardio!!!!!!!!!!