Common Mistake #2: Inadequate amount of sleep

26 05 2010

Our second mistake from our “Five Common Mistakes Athletes Make” (May 17th, 2010) is not getting the amount of sleep necessary.  Inadequate sleep has been shown to decrease muscle gain and increase fat gain.  Sleep affects both behavioral and metabolic characteristics that play a role in how much muscle and fat you have.  A study completed in Europe found that for every hour less than 8 that women slept, they had on average 3% more body fat.

Sleep loss affects the body’s levels of certain hormones.

Lack of sleep is associated with decreased levels of growth hormone and increased levels of cortisol.  The result of these changes is inadequate muscle recovery, fat storage, and muscle loss.  Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night.  Getting enough sleep is imperative for the body to maintain optimal function.

Some research has shown that when tired, people crave more sweet foods.  Combine this with increased cortisol & insulin, and you are set for fat storage.

Lack of sleep affects exercise intensity.

Because your body did not properly recover overnight, you tend to compensate by reducing your intensity during workouts.  You also lower the intensity of your normal daily activities (walking around campus).  This combination results in fewer calories burned daily.

Bottom Line:  Get a minimum of seven consecutive hours of sleep.  Aim for eight.

© Randy Bird, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS and Randy Bird Sports Nutrition, 2010.





Five Common Mistakes Athletes Make…

17 05 2010

Athletes can sabotage their hard work by making any of these common mistakes.

  1. Recovery after training and competition is not taken seriously.
    Protein and carbohydrate recovery after a training or workout session are essential in order to gain the benefits of the workout.  Consuming carbohydrates after a workout are needed to replenish stores in the body that were used up.  When working out, muscles are damaged.  Consuming protein after a workout helps to repair those muscle tissues faster therefore decreasing the amount of breakdown and getting the most out of the workout you just completed.  Recovery is crucial in reaping the benefits from your hard work.
  2. Inadequate amount of sleep.
    Inadequate sleep has also been shown to decrease muscle gain and increase fat gain.  Lack of sleep is associated with decreased levels of growth hormone and increased levels of cortisol.  Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night.  Getting enough sleep is imperative for the body to maintain optimal function.
  3. Skipping breakfast.
    If you skip breakfast, you are more likely to be overly hungry later. And then, you’re more likely to overeat at lunch and/or dinner.  “Backloading” or eating more at the end of the day than the beginning is associated with less muscle mass and higher amounts of body fat.
  4. Inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables.
    The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in these foods will help with recovery from strenuous workouts and competitions as well as keep your body healthy to ward off illness.  They also provide fiber and an additional source of water for hydration.
  5. Inadequate fluid intake.
    Plan ahead and carry a water bottle with you.  Divide your weight in half.  This is the minimum amount of fluid ounces you should strive to drink daily.  Alcoholic beverages do not count.  The more you workout out, the more you need drink in addition to this.

© Randy Bird, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS and Randy Bird Sports Nutrition, 2010.