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Are You Sabotaging Your Gains?
Written by Bryan Miller

Are you trying to get stronger, leaner or achieve a specific goal? Then keep reading as this blog is for you. I have seen too many people work incredibly hard for the 1-2 hours that they are in the gym, yet they sabotage all their hard work for the other 22 hours of the day.

I was just having a conversation with my buddy and we were debating which was more important: sleep or nutrition?

The answer? BOTH! Especially when you’re talking about athletic performance!

Sleep

You should be getting 8-10 hours a sleep a night if you care about your performance, no excuses. This is best in my experience as an athlete. Try aiming for a minimum of eight hours a night for a week and tell me you don’t feel better!

Check out some of our past blog posts on the importance of sleep, such as ‘Sleep & Body Composition’, ‘Shut Off The Lights, and ‘Take Care Of Your Mattress’ for more important on how to get a good night sleep.

Nutrition

In my experience, I find that most aspiring athletes aren’t eating enough to support their training and performance goals. All too often, people think they are eating sufficient food to meet their goals; but, when they take the time to record their food intake, they realize they are not even close to optimal consumption. This not just with respect to protein intake, but it’s likely they are at a caloric deficit. (Female athletes, I hate to call you out here but you are especially susceptible to the caloric deficit pitfall.)

Given the demands of high intensity training cycles required for athletes, the body needs adequate nutrients to be replenished and repair itself. If you are of a skinnier or leaner body type and trying to put on muscle mass, you will need to put a great deal of effort into eating a surplus of calories so that you can meet your caloric requirements each day. Hardgainers, you will likely need to eat at least 1.0-1.5 grams of protein pound of bodyweight and anywhere from 1.5 to over 2.0 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight to gain mass.

Everybody is different, so of course you have to do some experimenting and find what works for you. One of the keys to success is to invest the time to record the data. Data is KING! If you are a serious athlete, you should know exactly what you eat, how much you eat, and how much you sleep. What you think you are eating or how many hours of sleep you are getting may not be reality. Track your numbers and see if your perception matches your reality. If you’re feeling lost, find a coach who can properly guide you on what you should be eating on a daily basis and go from there.

References

1. Dement, William C., and Christopher Vaughan. The promise of sleep: A pioneer in sleep medicine explores the vital connection between health, happiness, and a good night’s sleep. Dell Publishing Co, 1999.

2. Deutz, Nicolaas EP, et al. “Protein intake and exercise for optimal muscle function with aging: recommendations from the ESPEN Expert Group.” Clinical Nutrition 33.6 (2014): 929-936.