You want to know the secret to burning more fat and keeping it off for good?
Sleep and rest!
If you want to lose body fat (the kind of fat that’s hard to lose), you are going to have to learn how to eat healthy, workout effectively, get your gut health in order AND make sure your body has plenty of down time to recover. Yes indeed, you read that right! You are going to need to make sure that your body has enough time to rest and recover.
The Role of Sleep in Muscle Building
During a challenging workout, you’re tearing down the fibers in your muscles. While you’re sleeping, those muscles are able to recover and repair themselves. This is also when your muscles grow, as your Growth Hormone levels are highest while sleeping. Muscle growth is essential for burning fat because the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism. In addition, growing your muscle is how you shape your body, making it look lean and toned.
Stop the Insanity
Doing insanely difficult workouts every day can actually be detrimental to your fat loss efforts. In fact, it can negatively affect your hormones and metabolism, causing a weight loss plateau. Not to mention that if the exercise is too hard, you may feel totally discouraged if you cannot perform to your own expectations – and you might want to give up on yourself!
Exercise raises your cortisol levels, which isn’t a bad thing if you allow time for those cortisol levels to return to normal, however, when your cortisol levels remain elevated for extended periods of time, the effects can be antagonistic to your fat loss goals.
Elevated levels of cortisol can have the following effects on your body:
- Cause you to crave carbohydrates excessively, especially in the evening
- Make you feel fatigued and exhausted
- Increase cholesterol and triglyceride production
- Decrease serotonin levels in your brain which can trigger depression
- Deplete vital vitamins and minerals the body needs for proper function such as the B Vitamin, Calcium and magnesium
- Days off are crucial for allowing your body to be a pro-fat burner
The Big Q – How Often Should You Exercise?
Depending on your starting point, you want to work out at a high intensity level, no more than 3-5 times per week. On your off days, you can actively recover with a walk or jog, or by doing yoga or stretching. However, it is absolutely critical that you take it easy on those days, allowing your hormone levels to even out and your muscles to recover from the work you’ve done all week.
Sleep, and days off might feel counterproductive when it comes to fat loss, but it is truly the missing component in so many health and fitness programs. Your body needs time to repair muscles in order for them to grow. You also need rest so that your hormones can remain stable, and your body can burn fat effectively.
So, ladies, take a day off, get plenty of rest, and sleep your way to a leaner, healthier you!