In last weeks post I wrote about a study that showed sleep restriction (4 hours a night) promoted weight gain. In the study, the authors hypothesized that the weight gain was due to increased ghrelin levels and late-night eating (1). This study triggered my Alice In Wonderland and sent me down a research rabbit hole. Let’s face it, we are fighting an uphill battle in the obesity fight. As humans we are wired to eat and a lack of sleep is only making that worse. Recent research has shown a correlation between a lack of sleep with increased consumption of sugary, caffeinated beverages (2). In the study, Short and sweet: Associations between self-reported sleep duration and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adults in the United States, they analyzed data from 18,799 adults who self reported sleep durations and completed two 24 hour dietary recalls. Out of the 18,799 adults, 13% slept five hours or less. The group of people who slept five hours or less had a 21% increased in sugary caffeinated beverages. Granted, the lack of sleep could have been a contributor to the increased consumption of caffeinated beverages. And usually most caffeinated beverages contain sugar so that could account for the increased intake. But I don't think that is the reason why. I believe a lack of sleep is rewiring our brain causing us to crave sugary foods and there are studies to back this claim.
In my experience as a trainer I have come to realize that losing weight and getting in shape is very challenging for the everyday person. Especially in America where work comes first and sleep second. We are encouraged to burn the midnight oil and told that that sleep is for the weak. Unfortunately, this couldn’t further from the truth. Lack of sleep is making people weak and fat. .The latest statistics from stateofobesity.org state that 38% of adults are obese and of that percentage, 8% are extremely obese. To put this perspective, 1 in 3 adults are obese. Yes, exercise and diet play a huge role, but they aren’t the only things that matter. After all, sleep determines what we eat and how we perform in the gym. However, we have forgotten how influential sleep can be. But don’t worry, by the end of this post you will know the importance of sleep and how it influences your hunger.
I am not sure when this happened, but at some point the media projected this idea that coffee was bad for you. Most likely this idea stemmed from the fact that the majority of people turn their morning coffee into a morning milkshake. Hopefully, you aren’t doing the same, rather, you are drinking it the old fashioned way, pure black. Over the last couple of weeks we have discussed how coffee improves your mood and focus by increasing your excitatory neurotransmitters, including dopamine, noradrenaline and acetylcholine. We talked about how this feeling can be addicting, but isn’t necessarily bad for you, the danger lies in the dose and how you react to that dose. For some, coffee does wonders for them and for others it doesn’t. But for me, it is my saving grace and my go to beverage. In fact, I am drinking a cup of coffee right now, it is a ritual for me and a way to jumpstart the writing process. But I digress, you didn’t come here to learn about the writing process, you came here to learn about the benefits of drinking coffee. And by the end of this post you will learn two more benefits that will convince you not to give up your favorite beverage.
I became a personal trainer because from a young age exercise and nutrition gave me a feeling of confidence. Growing up I was insecure, shy and lost. I tried to mask these deficiencies with ego. I portrayed myself as knowing everything, when in reality I knew nothing. I was never the smartest kid, heck I had a speech impediment that followed me throughout my childhood. It wasn't like I couldn't speak or anything, it just made me self conscious about talking in front of others. I was always afraid of mispronouncing a word and embarrassing myself. As a matter of fact, in the 3rd grade, I got called on to read a chapter from my biology book. I remember my stomach sinking when my teacher called my name. I began to read, and everything was going well until I came across the word, “organism”. Instead of saying organism, I pronounced it as “orgasm”. I still remember the teacher’s blank stare on her face. Luckily, most of the kids had no idea what happened so it wasn't too embarrassing, but looking back, it is quite amusing hearing a little kid say the word orgasm.
Handstand: What is one thing you can not live without?
Friends and family. Since moving across the country I have realized the importance of relationships and how much I need them in my life. Be it with clients, friends or family, I thrive on human interaction. Humans are social creatures and it is in our nature to help and be around others. I need others in my life, I need people to rely on me and I need to rely on others.
Over 80 percent of Americans will experience lower back pain at some point in their life (1). In 2008, obesity costed America 147 billion dollars (2) and some websites have reported that the number has climbed to a staggering 192 billions dollars (3) . Based off these numbers, America is overweight and injured. I have seen this firsthand as a trainer. People are weaker than ever and lack the ability to move well. I am sorry to be brash, but it is the truth. We are animals and movement is wired into our dna. Unfortunately, we no longer have to move for food or shelter like our ancestors. Technology is slowly replacing our need to move and is slowly persuading us to be lethargic and do nothing. While humans are wired to move, we are also wired to do nothing. It is important to understand that we will adapt to any environment we live in. Just take a look at the schools from the 1940s and 1960s:
From a very young age I had been training with my Dad on the beach in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. We would run the beach together and push wheelbarrows of concrete up my driveway in hope of me becoming the best athlete possible. I loved this style of training, but when I heard that my friends were lifting weights I felt left out and wanted to switch to weight training. So I started training with my oldest brother, Sean, during the summer leading up to my 8th grade year. I still remember sitting in the bleachers that summer talking to my friends about our max bench press. I was very weak compared to my friends, most of them were benching 135 pounds while I was only benching 95 pounds. I was embarrassed to say the least. This embarrassment started a fire inside me and motivated me to become as strong as possible.
Have you ever wondered what the least amount of exercise you could do while still obtaining some sort of health benefit from it?
We live busier lives than ever and for some, the idea of exercising 30 minutes to an hour isn't realistic nor enjoyable. For most of us, we love our workout and look forward to it but that isn't the case for everyone. There are a lot of people who dread exercise or lack the time to exercise. It could be their job, family life or just a lack of priorities. I still believe that exercise should be one of your main priorities because it enhances every aspect of your life, but that isn't the point of the this discussion. The point of this post is to answer the question above:
What is the least amount of exercise you could do while still obtaining some sort of health benefit from it?
Last week I just got done writing about the benefits of a high intensity workout and how it can save you time in the gym. This week I am going to go over another sprint workout that has been shown to help reduce body fat. And don't worry it isn't going to take you an hour to perform. Regardless of how much time you have that day, you should never let a busy schedule force you to take break from exercise, rather, you should switch your workout to one that accommodates your schedule. The easiest way to do this in a time efficient manner is through sprint training. When it comes to sprint training you don't need much, and this was proven in my previous post on interval training (click here). But not everyone enjoys that type of interval training, so I decided to search pubmed until I found one that seemed suitable. I came across a study that showed sprint training induced fat loss in women. The study consisted of 15 women and each participant completed six weeks of sprint training. The training regimen consisted of four to six 30 second “all-out” sprints on a self propelled treadmill with four minutes of rest (walking) performed three times per week. After the six weeks were over, training decreased body fat mass by eight percent! (2)