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The Long Game - Issue #197

Taylor Somerville
The Long Game - Issue #197
By Taylor Somerville • Issue #197 • View online
We’ve discussed the importance of movement and pushing ourselves in the gym, but to truly reap the benefits from your workouts- recovery and rest days are essential. STRESS + REST = GROWTH. We stress our bodies during workouts through a process called hormesis. Hormesis is a biological phenomenon where benefits (improved health, stress tolerance, growth, or longevity) result from exposure to low doses of stimulus (workouts) that are otherwise toxic or lethal when given at higher doses, resulting in growth and adaptation. If all of you do is stress yourself, you won’t reach your full potential, mentally or physically.
What is the best way to recover? Sleep is the number one thing you can do for your recovery. We praised the person who said they only needed four hours of sleep and could work all day long. However, people began to burn out and experience negative impacts on their health. In the last several years, the importance of sleep is mainstream. Sleep is key to our health, longevity, and performance in life. When we sleep, we process and store information learned during the day. Sleep is when our bodies, especially our central nervous system, recover from physical exercise and stress.  On the other hand, sleep deprivation causes our immune system to decrease, increases mood swings, and junk food cravings. Recent studies show that one week of sleep deprivation, which is considered less than six hours per night, impairs fasting glucose levels leading to pre-diabetes.
What are the best ways to get a good night’s sleep? There are a multitude of tips out there, but the best practices include: going to bed and waking up the same time each day; early morning exposure to sunlight; turning off computers, phones, and bright lights an hour before bed; keeping your room cool; and, avoiding caffeine after noon. All of these drastically improve your quality of sleep. 
Along with sleep, we can also use the practice of “working-in” to help recovery. We can’t be “on” all the time and need to learn to take time for stillness; this is what I mean by “working-in.” We need to give our bodies and minds a break so we can take on life’s challenges. This can start with a breath practice. Our breath is the only system in our body that is autonomic, yet completely under our control. Evolution did not do this by accident. Breathing has a direct link to our emotional and physiological state. It helps you downregulate, allowing you to transition from tense and stressed out to calm and relaxed. 
Yoga, ice baths, saunas, and getting out in nature are also key practices. These practices put you in touch with your body and nervous system and help you become less reactionary. By incorporating these practices, they allow you to recover and give you the ability to train hard and handle the stresses of everyday life.

Not only do the top athletes make their recovery a priority, the top CEOs do too. For example, Bill Gates takes a week off each year to think. During this time he reads, meditates, and comes up with some of the most successful products Microsoft created. Are your routines and habits getting you where you want to go in life? Are you seeing improvement or have you plateaued? If you have reached a plateau, it is time to take a step back and evaluate what you are doing. Try to do deep focused work and get out of the cult of busyness. If you always feel like you are too busy, you may be inefficient with how you use your time.
We all have a unique circadian rhythm and it is important to live with your clock. There are a few universal truths to get the most out of your circadian rhythm. Two I find beneficial are getting more sunlight and stop looking at electronics an hour before bed. These practices help create the optimal scenario for hormone production, improving your overall sleep quality. If you find yourself having trouble falling asleep, waking during the night, or feeling groggy when you get up in the morning, your circadian rhythm is likely out of whack.
Mark Sisson is an ex-professional triathlete and author of many books including, Primal Blueprint. At 64, he is in better shape than most people half his age. In this article, he discusses a recent study showing our bodies function on a more constrained model of energy expenditure opposed to the additive model we previously believed. In sum, there is an upper limit on how many calories our body can burn per day. Through all the stresses of life, over-training can put our bodies into a “recovery debt.” “A recovery debt is what happens when you put a ton of stress on all the cells and tissues involved in training, without also giving them the energy they need for recovery and repair. You go in the gym, day in and day out, busting your ass and lifting weights, doing endless intervals, pushing yourself to the edge of fatigue and yet it never quite seems to pay off the way that it should, or the way that you thought it would.”
Before I go, checkout a few more links I found this week.
Are you a busy person ready to take back control of your life in 2021 so you have more time, more energy, and less stress? If so, set up a free call today.
I hope you enjoyed another edition of The Long Game, feel free to pass it along.
In Health,
Did you enjoy this issue?
Taylor Somerville

The Long Game is a newsletter for people that want to grow and challenge themselves. It is about the drive to better ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually while having the curiosity to enjoy the journey. I will include articles, podcast, videos, and blogs on a variety of topics ranging from psychology, fitness, meditation, and nutrition. I am a certified XPT Coach, I hold the Art of Breath certification, I am a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and hold the Aerobic Capacity certficate. Checkout my website to learn more about the services I offer.

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