Sleep Tips - ELIVATE

Sleep Tips for Member Post-Workout Muscle Recovery

Sleep – the miracle workout restoration

By: Julie E, MPH, RD and Nutrition, Vitamin & Holistic Expert

Do you ever wonder why some clients are training and eating well, yet not getting leaner? The next time you encounter this scenario, please ask your clients about their sleep patterns. If they’re not sleeping well or long enough, it’s highly possible a couple days of rest and my sleep tips can take their fitness to the next level! We all know this formula:

Exercise + Healthy Diet + Rest + Repair = Positive Results

Without adequate rest, this formula just isn’t complete!

Why is sleep so important for post-workout recovery?

When a client shows up for a training appointment with bags under their eyes, dry skin and a lack of focus, do you ask about sleep habits? Without even knowing the science inside the cells of our bodies, this picture reminds us how important sleep is – we just feel good, energetic and strong after a good night of sleep, don’t we?

The same is true for your clients. Adequate sleep is more important for someone who is working out, especially those doing heavy lifting. As a trainer, you know exercise creates a catabolic reaction, so the body is in breakdown mode. After exercise, we go to sleep to rest and repair. Without adequate sleep, there is no repair and the body remains in a catabolic state—muscle breakdown.

The muscles often look more atrophy, even puffy at times. The person may feel weaker the day after a great workout if they don’t sleep well that night. A catabolic state includes symptoms of inflammation, pain and at times the most undesirable symptom, storing fat.

Without adequate sleep, we don’t feel like ourselves. Our blood sugar and cravings are out of whack and we do our best to just get through the day and stick to our fitness and nutrition plans and goals. We are not at our strongest and we have a harder time repairing and recovering from workouts.

Biological consequences from a lack of sleep

The scientific explanation of why sleep is so important is all about our glands. Yes, glands. They regulate everything from hunger and thirst, to sleep and hormone balance, to energy and metabolism. The more stress our heads and brain experience, the more frazzled the glands are. We absolutely need to shut down and rest the brain, in order for these glands to cycle through their own rest and repair.

A Simple Solution: With so many of your clients waking up in the middle of the night, good, sound sleep is often hard to accomplish. Or so they think. Here’s a little secret: It takes 5 straight hours of head-pillow contact for the glands to rest, repair and rejuvenate the body. Pressure on the adrenals or kidneys can easily stir your clients awake in the middle of the night.

Tempur-pedic mattresses allow for a nice alignment of your body and adjust to individual body weight. Of course, if your clients’ pillows are either too high or too flat, the alignment of their necks can easily be strained. Especially when lying on the side. If the spinal fluid can’t get to the brain adequately, the brain may feel stress and this activity can also stir your clients awake in the middle of the night.

As trainers we talk so much about muscles and diet, we might forget from time to time that the organs and glands are actually responsible for how we look and feel.

The next time you have a client who talks about their sugar and carbohydrate cravings they can’t rid, ask about their sleep patterns. Maybe your homework for them will be to just sleep! I’m pretty sure if you tell your clients they can lose more weight and feel better by sleeping, you’ll be the most sought after trainer at your gym!

Julie E, MPH, RD has been a nutrition & fitness professional for the past 28 years. Because she believes exercise & diet should be efficient and effective and easeful, Julie E continually teaches us her Simple Solutions so we can have a healthy life. She is the author of: The NO DIET Diet and the creator of the StretchBall. Julie can be reached at, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

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