Exercise vs Nutrition. Which matters most for fitness? Neither!
The most important input to improving your fitness is SLEEP.
AND since sleeping is a little easier than burpees or cutting sugar from your diet, it’s a great place to get started on a path to healthier habits. Huzzah for easy wins!
Sufficient, high quality sleep provides a bewildering array of health benefits, including:
Better illness prevention
Better energy (including during workouts)
Better libido (heyo!)
Slower aging and longer life expectancy
Better metabolism - in fact, a lot of the value of exercise is that it makes you tired, helps you sleep better, which in turn accelerates your metabolism further. A virtuous cycle!
That’s why sleep occupies the base of the Kickoff Pyramid, our model for driving optimal fitness results. We see a direct relationship between sleep and fitness results in most of our clients:
Clients report having a great workout 90% of the time when they got at least 7 hours of sleep the night before, versus 55% of the time when they got <7 hours
Clients who report getting sick are much more likely to have reported less sleep in the past few days
Ok, I get it - sleep is important. So what’s the plan?
Set a sleep alarm on your phone You schedule everything else in your life… why not schedule sleep? Give yourself a reminder that you need to start winding down at a certain time every night to get the hours you need to be your best. And once you’ve set your sleep alarm, be sure to pick a place to consistently keep/charge your phone while you sleep that isn’t right next to your bed. We all know why.
Don't sacrifice sleep to workout Sometimes you might have to sacrifice workout time to get the sleep you need. That’s a tradeoff worth making if it can’t be avoided.
Avoid pushing through when tired at night Here’s our hottest take - go to sleep... when you get tired! Skip the extra tv show and snack at night and just go to bed when your body tells you it’s time. Simple enough. While it’s possible to find a second wind where your body jump starts your metabolism to wake you up, it comes at a high cost -- it’s borrowing energy from your immune system, and it’s borrowing from tomorrow. Not worth it!
If you're still struggling to build the right sleep habits, consider whether or not working with a human coach will introduce the accountability you need to get things right. Kickoff’s expert fitness coaches can work with you to understand the lifestyle challenges that make getting enough sleep hard for you, help you design solutions, and hold you accountable to stick with your plan.
In the meantime, get some sleep!