Rest, Recovery & ZMA
So you’re slaving away in the gym, you’re cutting your calories, you’re sleeping less and feel fatigued and run down.
You don’t understand it, you’re sure you’re doing all the right things by exercising more and eating less but its having adverse affects- and worse, its affecting your sleep.
Ask yourself this- am I giving myself enough rest? When was the last time you took a rest day?
Did I sleep for at least 8 hours last night? Or was I stressed about something else?
One of the biggest training mistakes in women especially is over training and there are classic signs associated with this.
Ever wondered why you cant run, cycle, lift as much as you used to? Your body is trying to tell you something. Your muscles are overworked, fatigued and exhausted.
A key sign of overtraining is waking up at night, but why does this happen?
Your body is stressed and your levels of cortisol are elevated.
Cortisol is the commonly known ‘stress hormone’ which is released under both physical and mental stresses to the body.
Cortisol will raise your blood pressure, start breaking down muscle and bone to supply you with energy, suppress your immune system and halt any possible tissue growth.
When cortisol is raised for prolonged periods it also reduces the building blocks available for other hormones to form- testosterone and growth hormone levels decrease which is exactly the opposite of what you want during recovery and growth.
This explains why you simply will not see any changes in your physique regardless of how hard you keep pushing yourself. Cortisol reduces protein synthesis and so your muscles do not fully recover which is why you won’t be able to perform to your usual standard or run as far and fast as you normally can.
The effect that recovery has upon your hormones and central nervous system is crucial, In order to optimize muscle repair and growth you simply must learn to relax in order to drop those cortisol levels and increase those growth hormone and testosterone levels.
Put more simply, overtraining will also result in injury, some of which may take months to heal which can be extremely frustrating.
So what can you do to make sure you’re rested and getting good quality deep sleep?
It’s not just the hours, it needs to be good quality sleep of which the hours between 12am and 5am are most important.
– Find and make time to wind down- we’re all different so do what works for you whether that be a long bath or indulging into a favorite book
–Avoid drinking too much before you sleep
–Cut down on the amount of caffeine you consume during the day- add up how much you’re actually having
–Stop scrolling through social media pages (I know we’re all guilty of this)
–Invest in relaxing scents such as lavender
–Consider supplementing with ZMA capsules- A common misconception is that this supplement is only for men however both men and women can benefit from its effects, women simply need a smaller dose.
ZMA contains minerals zinc and magnesium and vitamin B6 which when combined, promote a healthy deep sleep. Zinc has also been found to be critical in the processes stimulating muscle repair and growth as well as promoting a healthy immune system.
Magnesium is known for promoting muscle growth as well as supporting central nervous system function. It plays a huge role throughout the body ensuring the function of many organ systems.
Now, vitamin B6 is there not only to help you absorb both zinc and magnesium efficiently, it helps in the production of hormones such as melatonin which encourage a natural deep sleep.
Together, these minerals form a fantastic supplement which can support your healthy testosterone levels and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
You’ll soon find this becomes a staple in your supplement draw as you’ll wake up feeling much more rested and refreshed, having fallen into a deeper sleep.
To maximize its effects, it is best taken 30-60 minutes before you sleep and preferably on an empty stomach!
So ladies, learn to listen to your bodies- REST and RECOVER– its part of the program! I guarantee you’ll find yourself feeling stronger, running further and lifting heavier by giving yourself enough time to simply relax and enjoy deeper better quality sleep.
Wishing you all a peaceful and deep sleep,