Our Sports Scientists hear all the time from clients that their sleeping patterns are poor. Late nights out, working late, mind racing when your head hits the pillow etc. Can you relate?
It is very well known and documented that sleep plays a crucial part of humans’ general health and wellbeing. However, does sleep have any effect on muscle gain, retention or loss? Let’s dig deep and find out!
A number of studies have identified the importance of sleep on human hormonal balancing. When we sleep, our body releases anabolic hormones such as Testosterone & IGF-1 to aid the body in the recovery process. When sleep is insufficient, the release of these hormones is reduced which may lower the bodies’ ability to repair muscle or thus build muscle. So if you are doing regular strength training, but your sleep is compromised you could end up not getting those gains!
Studies have also shown that sleep is vital to make sure we don’t experience muscle atrophy (muscle break down). Lack of sleep will elevate hormones in our body, specifically CORTISOL. Cortisol is a stress hormone and when its elevated it has the effect of breaking down muscle tissue. This hormone is very Catabolic and reduces the rate of protein synthesis and inhibits muscle tissue growth.
So Elevated Cortisol = harder to gain muscle!!!
To reap the rewards of our hard work in the gym, you must get your sleep right.
The time in which we sleep directly influences cortisol levels as well! A number of studies have identified that individuals who slept during the day could not significantly reduce Cortisol levels when compared to people who slept during “regular” night hours. The conclusion of these studies stated that there is a direct correlation to cortisol secretion and our bodies natural clock (Circadian Rhythm) and it seems that catching up sleep the next day might not offset a bad night’s sleep.
To summarise, sleep plays a HUGE role in the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. LACK of sleep will contribute to breaking down your hard earned muscle! Sleep provides a state of recovery and repair for the body, allowing the “good” anabolic hormones to be secreted into the bloodstream and reducing the release of “bad” catabolic hormones.
Put your sleeping habits to the test with a DEXA scan and our experts will provide you with the advice you need to get to your goals!
THE BEST WAY TO BUILD MUSCLE
When asking individuals, “What is the best way to build muscle?” a common response would be that you HAVE to lift heavy weights! But is this true? A recent meta-analysis conducted by Schoenfield et al. 2016, aimed to find out if you could build muscles using lighter weights. Their conclusions may change the way in which you think about building your muscles.
ABOUT THE STUDY
The study involved two completely untrained groups (men); a “High-load” group were prescribed a moderate repetition range (6-8 reps) at more than 65% of 1rm (rep max) and a “Low-load” group who were delegated a higher repetition range (12+ reps) at less than 65% of 1rm. The results showed that both training groups experienced similar “Hypertrophy” (muscle growth) effects.
Schoenfield et al. 2016 concluded that the most influential factor to muscle gain is that of “Total-work volume” (reps x sets x weight) and if the total volume is similar in both training groups; similar muscle growth should be examined. Arguments arose as experts stated that the individuals that were used to undergo this study where just experiencing the “newbie” gains we obtain when untrained individuals begin weight training. They argued that as the individuals were “untrained” and had not been exposed to any form of resistance training previously; they would, therefore, have a greater muscle potential and a likelihood to respond to any form of training.
Schoenfield et al. 2016, responded to this and performed the same experiment with trained individuals – he got similar results! Equal muscle growth in both the heavy and lightweight groups.
So what does this mean for you?
Well, it means that if you love lifting heavy weights with low reps you should still go for it, but if you like lifting lighter weights with higher reps then you can do this and get the same muscle growth on your body!
Although imagine the effect of lifting both lighter weights vs heavyweights on the longevity of your being. The heavier we lift, the higher the risk of injury we may be exposed too. A big reason why we see some of our clients stall and go backwards in their body composition goals is from injury.
We often see injuries in our clients who are heavy lifters. Injuries are obviously counterproductive for regular training. This is not to say you powerlifters or individuals out there who do love to lift heavy should cease to train the way you enjoy, but mixing the training methods between the two may be beneficial to allow your Central Nervous System (CNS) to recovery from your heavy lifting sessions.
If you have any question about this article or your specific training program, you can speak more about this to our experts at the Crows Nest Clinic.
All of our clients at Body Measure know that DEXA scans are the gold standard for body composition. The most advanced technology giving you the most accurate representation of your current composition.
Your FIRST SCAN is your a base line. With this information our experts can calculate your ideal weight, the time in weeks to get there, and the muscle and fat changes you should be expecting! Also, and most importantly we get a measure of your VISCERAL fat levels (the bad fat!)
Your SECOND SCAN is crucial to your success, here you will find out how your body has actually responded to changes in diet, lifestyle or exercise. This is where we give you tailored diet and exercise advice to get you to your goals in the shortest time possible.
One of the most shocking things we find with the second DEXA scan is that the client is actually overtrained and they are losing too much muscle.
LOSING MORE MUSCLE THAN FAT?
We see this a lot at Body Measure. When this occurs your body is not responding to your diet and workout protocols in a positive way and we need to address this immediately
These are usually the common reasons why: 🔹 Over training 🔹 Under eating 🔹 Not getting enough sleep 🔹 Gut / digestion issues 🔹 Simply run down
This is the most triumphant goal you could achieve!
If you are losing fat and increasing muscle at the same time your body is in an optimal state of change, the best advice we can give you know is to change NOTHING….. Here a client has hit the perfect balance of exercise and diet and needs to milk this as long as they can
We are lucky to have such amazing research grade technology available to the general public.
Adam (owner) & Emily (sport scientist) from Body Measure were lucky enough to go one-on-one with Paul from the Shaw Show to create a podcast available to you, have a listen and let us know any questions or comments on what was discussed!
When Paula Beckton was selected as a contestant on Channel 7’s Bringing Sexy Back, she weighed 101 kilograms. However, Paula had convinced herself that the figure was only a number. It was only when she had her first DEXA scan, and was confronted with the facts about her body composition behind it, that Paula had what she called her moment of truth:
“The DEXA scan revealed the true me. Knowing and facing the damage I was doing inside was really important and a pivotal point. You don’t actually know that when you weigh yourself on the scales at home. Seeing the DEXA scan imaging of the amount of fat I had on my body was quite confronting, I think on the show I said that it was “really gross” and I can’t deny that it was shocking. I could see how much my weight gain had affected my health and how poor a role model I was being for my children.”
Starting her journey with a DEXA scan and being provided with detailed body composition data was a key motivational tool for Paula. “Having a DEXA scan at the start really sets the pace and allows you to be very clear on what your starting point is and what you want to get away from being.”
As most overweight people who’ve tried to make lifestyle changes know, it can be tough. Maintaining motivation and momentum to lose weight is difficult when the number on your bathroom scales is barely shifting.
Paula was able to bypass this frustration, thanks to regular DEXA scans to review her body composition. The scans empowered Paula with critical information on maintaining momentum, keeping her focused on her journey towards a more ideal weight.
“When you lose weight, you sometimes don’t see yourself how much weight you have lost. You might think, oh, I’ve only lost 12 kilograms, but with the DEXA scan showing me what that loss of 12 kilograms actually means in regards to health and not just weight, it really gave me a mental edge to continue to work towards my goals,” says Paula.
Thanks to Bringing Sexy Back and the insights provided by DEXA scans, Paula has been able to make significant lifestyle changes – all while managing the regular challenges of daily life.
“I made this work, I wasn’t locked away for three months. I had all my usual responsibilities as a mother, a wife, and a business owner. I worked, I cooked, I cleaned and did all the normal things that a working mother of four kids does. My exercise regime consisted of 20 minutes in the morning on a cross trainer as that was all the time I had available to me, so I made the most of those 20 minutes every day.
“I had tried and failed at so many diets in the past – otherwise I wouldn’t have reached 101 kilograms! I knew that this time around any changes would need to be sustainable in the overall context of my life.”
With four children, Paula was motivated to improve her own health so that she could continue to be present in their lives and able to keep up with them. “My kids’ obvious pride in me being healthy is a great feeling and knowing that their little arms came closer and closer together when they hug me is fantastic.”
Yet, with juggling four children and a busy work life, Paula had to recognise that one of the most important factors in her success was self-motivation and a willingness to put herself first.
“I had to commit to myself that there would not be anything that was going to stop me, not even the repertoire of excuses I had from past efforts. I needed to make the right choices for myself, and not just for the kids.”
The experience of appearing on Bringing Sexy Back and the empowering information from the DEXA scans, has been a life-changing experience for Paula.
“I have made a healthy lifestyle change and it was such a wonderful opportunity. I would strongly encourage others to take the steps to jump start their new life and embrace living, truly living, a new healthier lifestyle towards health and fitness.”
After your first Dexa scan, how did finding your truth, inspire you to begin your weight loss journey?
‘My moment of truth’ as I call it was a big reality check and wake up call. I had known that I had put on weight and pretty much stopped weighing myself as it was only going up. However; that was only a number, I thought I could deal with ‘that number’. Seeing the amount of fat I had on my body was ‘really gross’ (I think I said on the show!). I could see the outline of my body and how much ‘that number’ had affected my health, and how much a poor role model I was being to my children.
‘I didn’t want to know the truth I see what I see every day and I carry it with me every day and having that scan done was just another twist of reality, for what I have become’ (quote from the show).
Why do you believe it is important to get such accurate readings from a DEXA scan?
The importance of the Dexa scan was to see the true me and face all of the facts not just ‘that number.’ Knowing and facing the damage I was doing inside was really important and a pivotal point as you don’t actually know that when you weigh yourself on the scales at home.
‘You can’t walk away from it, you can’t turn the page or say that poor person look what happened to them because that poor person is me’ (quote from the show)
Can you tell us more about your beliefs that weight loss needs a life style change rather than a diet change?
I can’t remember how many diets I had tried in the past and obviously failed so many times otherwise I wouldn’t of reached 101kg! This time round it was going to be a lifestyle change something that was sustainable, I wasn’t about to do another diet and fail again and again and again. Why do something short term, why not make it a moment that you can live? I now say ‘live a lifestyle not a diet’ and so what if I put a piece of bread in my mouth, I know what I need to do and I know I can’t do it every day. Life is about living not dieting. When you have kids you make the most of it and make the right choices as an adult and for yourself, not just for the kids.
What were your biggest challenges in your weight loss journey and how did you overcome it?
Portion serves was my biggest obstacle knowing that there should be a different in size to Marks plate and mine and not have him ask which one is mine. Smaller meals throughout the day and more flavour was a great option.
The 2nd obstacle was not eating, who would of thought doing this would sabotage my metabolism! I now have been reunited with my metabolism and feeling hungry is a sure sign of success. However; the true success is what I then eat. Being organised with food and setting an alarm to eat at 10am and 2pm was instrumental and then would help stop eating a massive meal at night time.
What are your favourite motivational tools on your weight loss journey?
I honestly thought I was going to use it as a piñata when Cam asked me to create a body cast of myself. That was ONE massive turning point in my life. BUT having that cast and seeing but feeling what I had became wanted to make me get so far away from that it wasn’t funny, many of tears happened looking at that thing! I absolutely love it now and I am soooo proud of it!
Like a lot of people my kids are my motivation. Being around for all 4 of them and keeping up with them as they grow but also them being proud of me being healthy is a great feeling and every hug they gave me their little arms came closer and closer together and they can hold their elbows when they hug me before they could only just touch their fingertips. Kids have their own way to motivate us without them having to say a word.
The other thing, which some people may find silly, is having a normal size bathroom towel fit around me! I love being able to close that gap and now being able to wrap it around me, I know I have change and it wasn’t the towel size.
Sometimes you have to really break things down and find the small things that matter and motivate you along the way.
Why is it important to have a dexa scan not only at the beginning of your weight loss challenge but throughout your journey?
Having the Dexa scan at the start really sets the pace and what you want to get away from. Know the moments of achievement was inside and out, physically and emotionally was amazing to see it in front of you and broken down with no rose coloured glasses, just facts and facing the truth. When you lose weight you also sometimes don’t see yourself to how much weight you have lost and might just say oh yeah I have only lost 12kg, but seeing what that loss of 12kg actually means in health not just weight, there is nothing else like it, it give you the edge mentally.
As well as being in the public eye, you had a team supporting you on your weight loss. Why do you think is important to having a supportive and motivational team around you?
I had a small team around me to start with, but my number one team was my family. Let’s be honest you can have a support team around you but have you been honest to them? Have you broken it all down and shown them? Without getting everything out in the open with my husband I think I may of failed again and well I really didn’t give thought to getting it out in the open and doing it on national TV! until about a month into filming when it hit me and I turned to Mark glassy eyed and he asked me what’s wrong! It was that moment I said I’m going to be on Tv like ‘ALL’ of me! Wow that was a moment I will never forget, the total honesty, the total truth everything no more hiding and it was that point of knowing well that’s the truth they know it now I have to do something about it.
I found that the most important supportive person had to be myself, I had to put myself first and motivate myself if a person is going to make a change they have to want to make that change themselves. I made that commitment to myself and there was not going to be anything that would stop me, not even the repertoire of excuses I had from the past efforts.
How have you found maintaining your new lifestyle in terms of fitness activities?
I honestly know that I can sit back and say that I made this work, I wasn’t locked away for 3months, I had to do this in my own life, as a mother, as a wife, a business owner, I had to work, I had to cook, I had to clean (ok that did get put down the priority list) I had kids to take care of and live a fairly normal life as another mum out there. I made it work and I know others can also. I made commitments to myself that I could maintain. I honestly really only did 20mins in the morning first up on the cross trainer that Fit online supplied to me, I only had 20mins free and I made it work. My lifestyle now doesn’t need as much regular training as I did, I just make sure when I do train, as I always did, I make the most of each session, I don’t got there to look pretty and come out the same way everything comes down to how much effort and commitment you are willing to put in.
Why should people enter your competition?
The life changing opportunity that I was given by Channel 7 on Bringing sexy Back was just that! It was a healthy lifestyle change and such a wonderful opportunity. If I can help give someone else a jump start at their new life and experience a little of what I have then I would be so happy knowing that I have the old saying ‘pay it forward’ it truly is how we all support each other without knowing. The emails and Face book messages have been so inspiration al from so many people out there in the same situation I was and it is just my way of trying to say thank you and help change the life of someone else to ‘live a lifestyle and not a diet’.
To enter Paula’s competition to kick start your healthy lifestyle journey- which involves winning over $4500 in prizes (including a FREE before and after Dexa scan) visit Paula Beckton “Bringing Sexy Back” Facebook page to enter!