Things That Helps Improve my Sleep Quality

You can only train as hard as you can recover

People have different ways they believe assists them in their recovery process. This includes protein shakes, massage devices, ice baths, sauna and more. Some methods of recovery may have more of a placebo effect than anything else.  

One undisputed fact today is the importance of sleep for physical and mental performance and recovery.

A couple points to note about sleep and recover:

  • Most of the natural human growth hormone is produced during sleep.1
  • Lack of sleep seriously impacts athletic performance, mental errors, injury rates, reaction time, and overall health2.
  • Athletes and those who work out more above average require above average sleep.3
  • While you sleep, your body creates more white blood cells to assist you in attacking viruses and bacteria.4

My Lower Back Injury: Should You Workout When Injured?

Not too long ago, for one of our daily WOD + strength workouts at our CrossFit gym, we started off the strength portion of the workout with a 5×5 squat. After a brief warm up of 2-3 sets of 135 pounds, I felt that I was ready to begin increasing the weight. At around 205 lbs. at the bottom of the descent of the squat, I felt a sudden pain on the lower back. It was an acute pain and caused my legs to weaken and give out. Luckily, I was able to bail out and dropped the barbell behind me.

After about an hour, I was able to slowly get up with assistance and “walk it off”. The next couple of days would be very difficult in terms of just getting out of bed. After 7 days of the injury, I was still having issues sitting up without pain.

This acute injury was caused by my impatience to not warm up properly as well as increase weight too quickly. When faced with an injury like this, there’s a few things to keep in mind during your recovery.

How to Measure VO2 Max Using Apple Watch

Did you know the Apple Watch can be used to give you your estimated VO2 max score? I didn’t, but you’ll be happy to know that it can measure it without you having to go through the more troublesome and traditional way of measuring VO2 max by running your ass off on a treadmill.

While not as accurate as the treadmill-oxygen-mask method the Apple Watch gives you a simple way you can start collecting and testing your own VO2 max.

What is VO2 max you may ask, here are FAQs about VO2 Max.

Skepticism over the “Hangover Free” Wine: A Dry Farm Wines Review

Drinking whiskey and beer when I’m out socializing and a few glasses of wine when I’m eating dinner or relaxing at home is something I thoroughly enjoy and regularly indulge in. The problem is that overdoing alcohol can give you hangovers and have negative effects on your training, fitness gains and overall health. Alcohol consumption is linked to a multitude of chronic diseases, not to mention the additives, preservatives, and sugars that are often found in many alcoholic beverages. That’s where Dry Farm Wines come in. They claim to be one of the healthiest options when it comes to indulging in wine.

Drinking Alcohol Will Destroy your Sleep Quality

I’ve been tracking my sleep for quite some time now using the Apple Watch. I used to use the now-defunct Zeo Sleep Tracker, a device worn on the head using EEG signals to track your sleep. I’ve also ordered the Oura Ring, one of the more accurate consumer devices to track sleep.

Using the Apple Watch’s Sleep Watch app, I can only estimate my “restful sleep”. The app does not claim to know when you are in REM or deep sleep, very important sleep cycles. Hopefully, the Oura Ring can provide more insights into those cycles of sleep.

Although the iOS app doesn’t detect REM or deep sleep, I rely on it to detect my heart rate during sleep. A dip in heart rate during sleep is healthy and indicates more restful sleep. Studies correlate a lack of a heart rate dip with all-cause mortality, with findings state that “those with very small or no dips in sleeping heart rate were about 2½ times as likely to die in the next 7 years as those with normal or large dips during sleep”.1

 

Cheating Should Be Part Of Your Overall Diet Plan

Despite differences in the protein and fats I choose to eat and the seasoning I use, I can get bored of eating similar style meals every day (eggs, meat, veggies etc..). That’s why I allow myself to have cheat meals where I eat basically whatever the hell I want.

Cheat meals can involve drinking copious amounts of alcohol and eating appetizers, desserts, and fried foods, all of which can be pretty unhealthy and damaging. I’m not on a mission to be unhealthy but if unhealthy dishes is what the menu has and what people recommend, that is what I will try.

Eric’s Dexa Scan Results for 2017 and 2018

If you want to know your lean mass percentage and other cool metrics about your body composition, the DEXA scan is one of the easiest ways you can find out.

The DEXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) is a fairly accurate way of measuring your body composition. This includes your bone mineral density as well as your lean body mass and fat mass.

The DEXA scan does this by exposing you to low level x-ray beams throughout your body while you lie on a table. There are few items of interest that the DEXA reveals. One is the lean mass versus fat mass percentage per region (head, arms legs etc..), the other is the bone report that tells you your bone mineral density per region.

I got my scans done at BodySpec, where you can get a scan for 45.00 or 2 scans for 85.00. You can also get your Vo2 max measured as well as your resting metabolic rate (RMR)

I’ve done this 2 years in a row. For consistency, both times I’ve done it was around the same time of day and in a fasted state.

Here are the results:

Fasting: The Number One Forgotten Health Tool

Fasting sounds scary. It sounds like something you should only do before major medical procedures or if you are on some meditative monk-like journey to find yourself. All it really means is that you don’t have to stuff your face everytime you feel a tinge of hunger.

Think of fasting as a form of discipline. You don’t have to give into every evolutionary need all the time. Sometimes it may benefit you to practice a little restraint and discipline.