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What's more important? Diet or Sleep?

Posted Apr 18 2013 5:54pm

                                    
As for how much is enough?  I think that differs person to person but it also has to do with your lifestyle routine. We know that the body is constantly repairing when we sleep...and working. So for an age group athlete who not only trains for races/events but has a full-time job (parent or in an office), sleep is vital for consistent gains in life and to minimize risk for illness and injury. You do not have to prove you are a superhero by being able to function with only 4-5 hours a sleep.
Additionally, as you will read in the article, a restful night of sleep is the key. Good sleep means that for most nights, when you fall asleep, you are out for enough cycles to wake up feeling rested. I know for myself that I've learned that I can only afford one to two nights of sleeping 6.5-7 hours for anymore I struggle with activities of daily living. My energy fads as the week goes on, I have more afternoon cravings, I don't think as clear, I don't recover as quickly, I feel moody at times and my performance suffers with training. However, with only one to two nights of 7-hours of sleep, I know that a good night of sleep for 8-8.5 hours (depending on my training phase) most days of week will help keep my life in balance. So, the issue is not trying to make time for more sleep but rather, making sure sleep is the priority and making everything else fit in for a consistent life routine.
Sit down with a piece of paper and make sure you have your priorities in the right placeMake time for sleep
Make time for a healthy diet

Don't expect to life a busy, go, go, go life and hope to find the time tomorrow because you will be "good" tomorrow. If you are currently training for an event and find yourself like a zombie by thurs or friday, perhaps it is more beneficial for consistent quality training to take a rest day on Wed or get a little extra sleep by modifying workouts mid week than trying to be a superhero and expecting your body not to fail you from Mon - Sun, week after week after week.

I am sure you can guess my answer.

It's all about balance.

There is a great saying that "you can not out-train a poor diet". In other words, if your diet is not balanced in a way to support the metabolic processes during activity, don't expect to eat whatever you want and however much you want and then just "exercise" your way to "good" health. Sadly, it doesn't work like that.

I find that when it comes to creating an individualized, balanced lifestyle, people are always quick to think about the person who is an anomaly. You know, the one who can eat whatever she/he wants but still has great race results or has the "perfect" body (if there is such a thing). Or the person who ate only x-foods (aka followed x-diet) for 3 months and lost 30 pounds and now feels amazing. When was the last time you just thought about yourself and didn't compare your life to others....wishing that you could be like others or questioning why others have it so easy or why they can do it and you can't?

I think about my own journey in the past few years and I am very proud of my own changes in regard to living a lifestyle that I feel is balanced and healthy. As a health professional, I am not forcing my lifestyle on others but rather helping to inspire and motivate you to think about what it is you can do to make for a balanced life. Certainly, some of the things that make me feel healthy now were established overtime so when it comes to the diet, you can't expect to feel the positive rewards overnight.

Colorful Seasonal saladOrange slices
Carrots
Celery
Tomatoes
Leeks
Leafy green lettuce
Edamame
Corn
Quinoa (Red or white)
Cranberries
Pumpkin seeds
Sliced almonds
(As featured in my lastest monthly Plate Not Pills Article on LAVA:  Manganese )
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 cup lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp water (add more for desired consistency needs for a dressing)

1. Combine ingredients in small blender (ex. Ninja cup blender) and store in glass jar or Tupperware container in refrigerator.


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