Diet and exercise are the surefire way for any person’s goal related to weight loss, weight gain, building strength and muscle. However it’s not all that is required to make progress. Here are 3 of many important factors that could possibly do more harm than good to your hard earned progress.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep is very important for everyone, more so for an athlete or people leading active lifestyles. Sleep is a period of rest for physical and mental well being. Most major body functions do not occur during this moment and muscle repair takes place from the food that has been consumed. So strength and size are actually gained with a good night’s sleep, contrary to pumping iron in the gym. Giving the muscles a good night’s rest will also result in decreased soreness in the muscles, so the day after won’t be as tiring.
Stress is synonymous among most urban individuals today. From children attending schools to CEOs of giant corporations, everyone faces stress. Stress results in secretion of a hormone called Cortisol. Exercise does cause stress, especially High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts and endurance training however it causes acute stress i.e. the effects won’t be long lasting. Stress from work or personal life for an extended period of time can result in fatigue, weight gain and possibly other mental health issues that may damage progress in a person’s fitness journey.
People who are new to implementing fitness as a part of their daily regimen as well as experienced athletes may push harder than their body is capable of. ‘No Pain No Gain’ is a good phrase for motivation but it may become an issue if an individual might push themselves beyond their capacity. It could possibly lead in injury, additional stress or other health problems.
The solution to these issues is quite simple, though adapting to these changes may take a little time.
Arnold Schwarzenegger once gave a motivational speech where time management and hard work were the core topics. He mentioned that in his days of competing, he had to study, exercise and work and sleep for six hours. When he was told that most people need 8 hours of sleep, he simply replied “Sleep faster”. While this may be good motivation, it is not a sustainable long time plan. Arnold is among the 1% of people who have a genetic mutation that results in heightened awakening and shorter sleep period, without memory fog or the associated side effects from sleep deprivation. For the common man, an organized schedule may help in planning the day better, allowing for the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep for good physical and mental health.
Research studies have shown that aerobic exercise could help reduce stress in patients suffering from blood pressure issues. Yoga has also been prescribed in certain cases, which allows for physical as well as mental exercise. Such forms of low intensity exercises coupled with a good diet may aid weight loss and improved mental health.
In order to avoid overtraining, a personal trainer or instructor can help in planning a good exercise regimen along with spotting mistakes and giving essential feedback to improve next time. Trainers are qualified professionals who can help a person achieve the best results in a time efficient manner.
These are among some of the many problems that might be hampering a person’s journey to their fitness goals, but even small changes can result in bigger progress.
Source: Xing, L., Shi, G., Mostovoy, Y., Gentry, N. W., Fan, Z., McMahon, T. B. Fu, Y.-H. (2019). Mutant neuropeptide S receptor reduces sleep duration with preserved memory consolidation. Science Translational Medicine, 11(514),
Hamer, M., Taylor, A., & Steptoe, A. (2006). The effect of acute aerobic exercise on stress related blood pressure responses: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Biological Psychology