Top 3 Training Mistakes
After a long break from weight lifting, I am back at it! I have only been lifting for a few weeks and I am already achieving great results by following the recommendations in Stephanie Gaudreau’s (Stupid Easy Paleo) eBook, The Paleo Athlete. I am excited to share some of what I have learned with you. By making these adjustments, not only will your performance in the gym improve, so will your general health!
Sacrifice Sleep for Training
This is something that those of us that prefer early morning training are often guilty of, including myself. Sleep is key to being healthy and being healthy is key to performing in the gym. Lack of sleep can contribute to inflammation and adrenal fatigue. When you combine lack of sleep with hard training, then you really have a recipe for disaster. This combination can result in chronic systemic inflammation and too much cortisol production.
If you are eating a healthy, nourishing diet and not achieving your fitness goals, then your quality of sleep would be the next thing to evaluate. Not just enough hours of sleep, but high-quality, restful sleep is key. If you have trouble getting good sleep, read my 9 Steps to Better Sleep for some tips.
Stephanie Gaudreau writes, “During the early stages of deep sleep—of which we should be getting into twice per night—human growth hormone is released into the body. These deep sleep stages are incredibly important for physical repair, while the lighter REM sleep stages (when we dream) that occur later toward the early morning hours are implicated in psychological renewal.”
Too much stress, exercising too late in the day, drinking too much caffeine, using the computer late at night can all play a role in poor-quality sleep.
Don’t eat enough carbs or the wrong kind of carbs
Let’s first tackle the wrong kind of carbs. We have all heard of carb-loading and pasta-parties. Many athletes load up on carbs like pasta and bread before their big events. The concern with these types of carbs are that they are hard on the digestive system and for many people they cause chronic inflammation. In the long run, loading up on refined carbohydrates isn’t going to help your health or your performance.
This is where the Paleo diet comes in. Many athletes turn to the Paleo diet to help improve performance, this is actually how I discovered it myself through Crossfit! Many rave about hitting new PRs (Personal Records) and experiencing increased energy with this new diet.
But, often us Paleo people tend to go to the opposite spectrum with carbs, and we go too low carb. Again, I am guilty of this one too! Going low-carb may help you lean out, but going too low may have some other adverse effects, including decreased performance and increased cortisol levels.
Carbohydrates play an important role in diet, especially for those that are physically active. They replace muscle glycogen after exercise and generally they are a faster burning source of energy compared to fats.
Not eating enough carbs to support your training can result in increased cortisol levels. Having unfavorable cortisol levels is bad news bears! Even with proper nutrition and training, you can start gaining body fat, especially in the abdomen. I know that this is true from experience! Over time, this can cause insulin levels to rise and eventually lead to insulin resistance.
In order to perform your best, it is important to include healthy carbs in your diet, preferably post work-out. In her eBook, The Paleo Athlete Stephanie Gaudreau details which carbs are best, how much you need and when to eat them.
Don’t Manage Stress
This one is a bit of a double edged sword. We are often told that exercise can help reduce stress, which it does. However, chronic stress can increase cortisol levels and cause chronic system inflammation. You are seeing a trend here, right? To perform and feel our best, we want to keep inflammation down and cortisol levels normal. Especially if you are a competitive or very serious athlete, you are getting plenty of stress from your high intensity workouts, plus day to day life. It is important to manage stress, as much as possible, to keep inflammation down and improve performance in the gym (or at your sport).
To manage stress, make time for self-care. This can be small things like taking 5 or 10 minutes to breathe and relax before you start your day. Or it can be bigger things, like treating yourself to massage or an acupuncture session. Managing stress is a big topic, but if you find that you are often high strung and feeling frantic, then take the time to find methods of eliminating or reducing stress and make time for rest and relaxation in your life.
Are you making any of these top 3 training mistakes? Want to know more about how to improve performance?
To learn more about how to improve performance and obtain optimal results from your workouts, checkout The Paleo Athlete by Stephanie Gaudreau. I highly recommend this book for anyone that is serious about getting fit in the healthiest way possible.
In The Paleo Athlete you’ll learn…
- Why athletes thrive on nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory foods
- The basics of Paleo and understanding macronutrients
- All about carbs—who needs them and why
- How to burn fat at rest
- What and how much to eat before, during and after a workout
- Why dietary hacks can’t substitute for solid nutrition
- Practical cooking tips for your busy schedule
- How to get ready for competition
- How to improve sleep and recovery and deal with injuries and stress
- FAQs and troubleshooting guides
- Thirty stupid-easy, mouth-watering recipes
- …and much more!
CLICK HERE to purchase The Paleo Athlete!