Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness



How many hours of sleep do we really need?

05 how many hours of sleep

We´ve all heard that we need 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night but, is this really true?

For some of us it´s hard to get 8 hours of sleep every night for many different reasons specially our busy schedule but not being able to get enough sleep impact our performance. It affects our physical and mental health making our productive lower.

Being very busy takes sleep to the last number of our priorities is the first thing we sacrifice and the one that has a negative impact in our day and health. Our lifestyle impacts directly the quality of our sleep, we´ve been talking about stress and how it affects negatively but also watching tv late night, using the computer, exposure to bright light before you go to bed make it harder to fall asleep.

The total hours of sleep will vary depending of your age and daily activities, the younger you are the more hours you need but what I consider to be more important is the quality of those hours, if you sleep 8 hours but those 8 hours are not good quality then you need to improve the quality. The way to know if you are resting or not is by how you feel when you wake up and throughout the day, if you wake up and don´t feel rested, you feel tired and it´s hard for you to stay focus on the task at hand or you have cravings specially for sweets this means you´re not getting good sleep. If you sleep 6 hours but you feel great in the morning and you feel energized through the day then those 6 hours are good quality.

If you are very active during the day, you have a lot of work, you do exercise, you need to make important decisions you need more hours of good sleep compare to someone who has a 9 to 5 job and spend most of the day sitting.

If you have a busy schedule every day having around 5 to 6 hours of good quality sleep every night may be all you need to perform at peak but it will depend of you. You may need more and the only way to know it is by how you feel, if you wake feeling great, with a lot of energy and you´re focused and ready to hit the day then you get good quality, from there pay attention to how long those this last, those this high energy and productive attitude last all day long? in this case you´re having enough good quality sleep, if you start feeling tired and sleepy in the afternoon then you need more sleep. Do the alarm wake you up? Or do you wake up before the alarm ring? If you wake up before the alarm rings then your body it telling you that it had enough sleep but if you have trouble waking up and you hit the snooze button then you don´t have good quality or it wasn´t enough.

Another factor that is important to consider is at what time do you prefer to sleep, do you prefer or feel better when you go to sleep around 9 or 10 pm and wake up at 5 am? or do you prefer to go to sleep around midnight and wake up at 8 am? This will be impacted by your schedule, by work, school or any other thing you need to do on your day.

Creating a routine where you go to sleep at the same every night and wake up at the same time every morning helps your body set its internal clock to help you sleep better during night and perform better during day. What you do before you got to sleep is highly important to make it good quality, avoiding the use of electronics at least 30 minutes before you go to bed will help you sleep better, don´t use your cell phone, computer, tv, tablet or any other. If you can turn off the lights at least 30 minutes before you go to bed do it, it will help.

Use those 30 minutes to calm and relax using tools like meditation to empty your mind and reduce tension in your body and muscles.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



What is HIIT training?


You may have heard of high intensity interval training (HIIT) it has become popular over the last years and so many people love this type of workouts but, is it right for you? Nowadays you can buy so many different weight loss programs on DVD and do them at home, most of them are based on HIIT and circuit training which are awesome training tools but this is also the reason why most people end hating exercise and are not able to sustain their results.

HIIT is an intense form of cardio where you work in intervals, from there the name and even when some guys are able to do the routines some of them get so anxious and angry because it´s hard. On the other hand you have the people who love it.

The reason why so many guys prefer this type of cardio apart from being shorter in time is because so many experts claim about being the answer to fat loss which is not necessary true. There are more things that come into play for any fitness goal like nutrition, sleep, stress and they all work together so if your diet is right, you are in a calorie deficit then yes high-intensity interval training will help you lose fat and it has more benefits.

Studies show that HIIT burns more fat than steady state cardio and there are studies that show that HIIT can also increase body mass so considering this studies then this type of cardio is the way to go right? The problem I see with HIIT is that it impacts the central nervous system and it takes at least 48 hours to recover and if you don´t consider this it can lead to over training.

So how does HIIT help you burn more calories than traditional steady state cardio? The answer is EPOC. Actually if we compare the calories burn on each type of exercise (HIIT and steady state) we´ll see that we burn more calories with steady than with HIIT, but the benefits of HIIT come after you are done with your workout. Once you´ve finished your HIIT session your body´s metabolism stays high burning more calories for some period of time, this is called excess-post- oxygen consumption. It´s the amount of oxygen your body needs to get back to normal.

One of the biggest problems with this type of cardio training is hunger, HIIT increases hunger so if you are fasting you´ll need to schedule your meals around your workouts or it´ll be harder to continue the fast or you´ll over eat in your meals. If your goal is fat loss you need to be in a caloric deficit and it may be hard for you to do this types of workouts, you may feel a lack of energy so it´s hard to give your all and push to your max and it may be harder for you to keep calories low so you may consider steady state cardio which can also help you burn fat.

 This type of training is based on intervals, you choose one exercise for example sprint and perform it for a short period of time, it may be from 20 seconds to 45 seconds and then you take a rest of 30 to 45 seconds and repeat those intervals 5 to 10 times. The time you are performing the exercise you need to make it as hard as possible, you need to give your all and then you recover to do it again.

I used 20 to 45 seconds of work and 30 to 45 seconds of rest, you can adjust this times according to you level and intensity of your workout, if you a really giving your all you may do the exercise for 20 or 30 seconds and take 45 or 60 seconds or more of rest to recover so that you can do it again.

Since you are giving your all for small periods of time this type of cardio takes less time to complete compared to steady cardio which we will see in the next post. In 10 or 20 minutes you are done with cardio so if you hate it this can be a great option.

You can choose 1 or more exercises to perform for this type of workout, sprints are the most common but jump rope or even burpees are great. Choose the one you like and perform the exercise for 30 seconds try to go as fast as you can, this workout is supposed to be intense so you need to put it all, then take 30 seconds rest. As I´ve said before you can adjust the time of the intervals.

If you are just starting you fitness lifestyle I don´t recommend you start with this type of training, if you are out of shape it will be so hard and you will hate it so steady state is the best option for some weeks or months then you can try HIIT.

I also don´t recommend you take this cardio as your only option, 2 or 3 days a week is all you need to get amazing results and avoid over training or burning out.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



Stay out of your comfort zone

02 Stay out of your comort zone

The famous comfort zone is the worst place to be, you are comfortable in some ways but you are struggling in others.

Going to a job you hate just to get enough money to pay bills but you feel comfortable because you don´t have to work that much, you don´t have to think. If you want more from live then stop complaining and blaming other people of your life and current circumstances, stop criticizing and take action now.

In your comfort zone you are comfortable because you are familiar with the process, in your work you know your routine and exactly what you need to do, you do not need to put any effort and things seem to be in control, you have a monthly income that is enough to pay bills, to buy food, there´s no fear and no need to get stressed out for things getting out of control. Getting out of that comfort zone increase stress and anxiety not knowing what´s going to happen, not seeing things clearly increases fear.

Getting out of your comfort zone, making the decision of taking risks and wanting to change your life is a big step to achieving your biggest rewards, getting out of your comfort zone challenge you and push you to achieve things you never thought were possible. Doing things that challenge us helps us grow and learn, if you want to get better and progress you need to challenge yourself.

All the risk and fear is worth it once you see what you are capable of, not all people like the feeling of anxiety, the fear of not having anything clear and secure which is why they prefer the comfort zone.

Getting out of your comfort zone means learning, part of the fear of getting out of that zone is knowing that you are aiming for something big, that you don´t have all the skills and knowledge you need and that you will fail. You´ll see that there are so many things that you need to learn and that time of boredom and stress while you are learning becomes the biggest obstacles. There you are stretching your mind, improving skills or techniques, learning abilities all this is what helps you grow.

The way to make the learning process more enjoyable is to do something you love otherwise you will give up. You can consider your hobbies and talents, what do you have more fun doing? Even when things get stressful and challenging the final results and the price for achieving your goal is  so amazing but the fulfillment, and joy comes from the journey.

This is what life is all about setting big goals that are always challenging you in some way that doesn´t give you the change to get comfortable so that you grow and be better every day.

I like to stay out of my comfort zone as much as possible, it makes me feel alive and it gives me something to work for. I have my purpose in life very clear and everything I do is based on what I love which is fitness and music, helping people live healthier and happier and I look for goals that get me out of my comfort zone. Sharing all I know with you in this website and videos get me out of my comfort zone but I love the challenge of writing and getting better.

If you want something different in your life or if you want your life to be better you need to make different choices, making different choices means getting out of your comfort zone, the reason why most people get stuck living the same all their lives if because they like the feeling of comfort and security even when most of them are always struggling with their finance or any other aspect of life, but if you want to achieve something better you need to change things, forget about playing it safe, challenge yourself and see how far you can get, enjoy the challenges and enjoy the feeling of being out of your comfort zone.

Set goals that scare you, that make you feel that fear but at the same that inspire you and motivate you, focus on doing things you love. You can start with small goals that are not as risky but that give you more confidence and belief to try bigger things.

When you set goals that get you out of your comfort zone you may need to change your beliefs and routine, it all depends of what you want to achieve and how your life looks like, there´ll be challenges along the way but the good thing here is that someone has already done or achieved what you want so you can learn from them.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



How stress is making us sick

11 How stress is making us sick

One of the reasons why we´re dealing with many different health and mental problems nowadays is stress.

In the last posts we´ve seen that stress can be good but most of us live with chronic stress and this one is unhealthy and it affects negatively your physical and mental health in some cases it can be very damaging.

A very simple explanation about how stress make you sick is this, stress is a survival mechanism, it´s the “fight-or-flight” response to keep us alive when we are in danger. When we are in a stressful situation our body releases cortisol which is the hormone that turns on the “fight-or-flight” response and with this it comes a series of reactions like heart rate goes up, your muscles get tense but while this reactions of cortisol are on, other functions of your body are turn off, so your body can´t protect you from diseases. So if we spend most of our time with stress, this means that cortisol is high along with all the reactions and some functions in your body are off most of the time and it can´t protect us from diseases so we get sick.

Stress has become part of our days for most of us and we´ve  learnt to live with it without realizing all the damage it is causing on all aspects of life, from health to relationships. From school, job, traffic, unhealthy diets, lack of sleep, a lot of negativity all this accumulate over and over every single day causing chronic stress and it affects the body and the brain.

Trying to satisfy and please everyone also increase stress, doing something you hate and dealing with negative people and many other stuff we live every single day are also causing a lot of damage to our body and brain.

Many people talk about mental health but I don´t see most of them doing something to reduce the problem, our environment has a lot to do with the way we feel and how we process and react to circumstances and each of us have also a lot to do with the way we feel and react to what happen to us.

High levels of stress for long periods of time weaken your body, all systems of your body are not able to function properly and its ability to defend you from diseases lowers so it´s easier to get sick. Some of the symptoms you can notice in a short period of time are constant headaches, your weight fluctuates, you have skin problems, your hair falls, inflammation, you feel tired almost all the time, it´s impossible to focus and finish any activity. Things can get worse and cause more problems like obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, suicide.

It also has a negative impact on your hormones making it harder for you to have good quality sleep and making you eat more specially unhealthy foods. High levels of stress increase cortisol which can lead to craving sweets and refined carbohydrates, this is a reason why it´s harder to avoid junk and processed food, this may be why if you are following a weight loss program you can´t stick to it so finding ways to manage stress will be very helpful.

Cortisol also cause insulin resistance which means that your body is not able to utilize carbohydrates properly so your body stores them as fat instead of using them for energy. Being insulin resistance makes it harder for you to lose weight and stay lean.

For the last years we´re hearing a lot more about mental health and all the negative aspects about depression, anxiety and other problems. Stress is also highly related to all this issues, it triggers certain chemicals in the brain and create imbalance between regions. There are studies that show that stress can kill brain cells.

Stress can also affect your mood getting you in a negative state of mind and making everything seems worst, you tend to over think, and make your worries and fears bigger because it triggers an area called the amygdala which is your brains fear center. It also makes you more emotional because your brain associate events with memories. Stress lower serotonin which is the “feel happy” neurotransmitter and dopamine which is the one for pleasure-reward so you feel sad, you take your phone and send a bunch of whats to some friends and upload a picture to your social media to get some likes and get this two neurotransmitters up to “feel good” for a short period of time.

When you are stressed it´s harder to have enough good quality sleep which causes a lot of problems on your day to day and all this continues an unhealthy cycle which can be very tough to get out off.

For me it´s clear that our lifestyles are causing a lot of health and mental problems so it´s crucial to start developing good habits that help us live better.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



How sleep and food are related

02 sleep and food

After a couple months of researching about sleep and thinking about a few years ago when I had many nights of poor quality sleep I tended to crave more junk food for the most part of the day and to make things worse, I didn´t have a lot of sweets and junk in the house so I went to the store to buy them. I ate a lot more and I didn´t feel like working out but at the end of the day I felt terrible.

Understanding the relationship between food and sleep can help you have better quality sleep and can make it easier for you to stick to a nutrition program.

Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep increase cravings specially for sweets and junk food, is you try to stick to a diet but you didn´t sleep well it will be harder for you to make the right choice at every meal. Now what you eat right before going to bed can cause sleep problems like insomnia or some digestive issues that won´t let you fall asleep. On the long run, you nutrition program or what you eat on a daily basis have an impact on your sleep patterns.

Our body needs nutrients to function properly but what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat they all have an impact on our health and the quality of our sleep, if you eat unhealthy foods before you go to bed your body doesn´t know what to do with them and it takes longer for your body to digest them plus you are not giving it the fuel it needs so it can´t recover and you won´t feel great the next day. Foods high in refine sugar and trans fats cause indigestion and make you feel bloated.

If you eat too much before going to sleep it can cause digestive issues, some people like myself have digestive problems like feeling bloated or constipated so having big meals at night can be counterproductive your body will be working a lot harder to digest all that food and you won´t be able to sleep, you may suffer of acid reflux or heartburn. This is the reason why I do intermittent fasting and skip dinner.

Drinking too much caffeine specially late in the afternoon or night you´ll find it harder to fall asleep most of us use coffee or any other form of caffeine to stay awake so that we can finish what we´re doing but in the long run this disturbs your sleep patterns and functions of your body.

Our body has an internal clock which keeps all functions scheduled and running on time, when you take caffeine to stay awake, you go to sleep and wake up at different hours your body goes out of rhythm, when you eat too much before bed, your body takes longer to digest that food and it´s working on that when it supposed to be sleeping and recovering.

Lack of sleep and even sleeping too much can alter your appetite, this is why if you didn´t get enough quality sleep you have cravings for sweets and unhealthy foods and you also eat more and that excess of food which is usually unhealthy makes you gain weight.

Poor quality sleep has negative impacts on your brain and hormones and this hormones, neurons and neurotransmitters are the responsible of you making bad choices you have less control over your impulses and will power.

When you lack sleep you less energy and it is harder to do everything you need to get done, you don´t feel like going to the gym so you don´t workout and comfort food is your first choice. If your concern is weight loss then you need to make sure that you sleep enough at least 7 hours of good quality and that your nutrition program is good.

With lack of sleep your metabolism slows down and two hormones get affected. Ghrelin is the hormone that increases appetite and leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating when you are full. With sleep deprivation ghrelin goes up and leptin goes down, so you eat more and you eat almost all the time. You have no control over this two so you keep eating and it takes longer for leptin to send you the message of being enough.

When you have some days of poor sleep in a row insulin levels are also affected, you become insulin resistant and your body is not able to use the food you eat properly specially carbohydrates.

As you can see; sleep, stress, nutrition, training and mindset are all connected and one change in one creates a change in the rest. It´s a cycle that never stops this is why I share with you tools for each of them and I urge you not to be perfect in any, it´s not about perfection it´s about finding tools you can use every day and develop habits that lead you to a better life without being so restrictive.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



Is cardio training that important?

02 Cardio training

A few years ago when I decided to lose weight and get in shape I went to a gym for about a year and I saw 2 different kinds of people, first there were the ones who were already fit and love to workout most of them guys who only wanted girls to look at them, they spent a lot more time lifting weights. Second the guys who were trying to lose weight some of them had more weight to lose than others but all of them were out of shape, here you can found both girls and guys all of them in the back corner of the gym hoping that no one seems them and no one makes fun of them, they spent most of their time in some cardio machine.

This haven´t change so much, people who want to lose weight spend more time doing cardio because that´s what they read on the internet or some magazine or someone told them. Even when cardio is important some guys tend to give it a lot  more importance than what it deserves and this can cause problems in the long run.

Let me tell you something first, cardio is not nessesary for fat los sor to get in shape. Yes, you read it right you do not need to do cardio to lose fat and there are so many people who don´t do cardio because according to them you won´t get any more benfetis so if you hate it you can skip it completely. Although I don´t agrre completely with them.

Cardiovascular training is important and has a lot of benefits for your health, of course it can help you lose fat, get in shape and stay in shape, but it also helps your body recover from resistance training, it is great for your heart and also for your brain, it improves mood, it also helps to improve insulin.

Cardio is a great tool to lose fat and stay lean but it´s not the best tool to use for any fitness goal, there are research that shows that one hour of cardio compared to one hour of resistance training burns more calories while you are doing it so, thinking about weight loss as calories in and calories out if you want to lose fat you do cardio which burns more calories right?

Not so fast, … with all types of exercise you send signals to your body and your body will respond accordingly to that signal. With cardio you are sending the message to your body to become more efficient at using calories.

Cardio is a great tool to stay in shape.

If you´ve been spending the last years without doing any exercise, the momento you start working out it will feel like hell, you´ll be so tired and you´ll burn a lot of calories but with time if you continue doing the same exercise, for the same amount of time at the same intensity it´ll become easier and easier and your body will burn less calories every time your do it. If cardio is the only exercise you do, you may start losing muscle and now that your body has adapt to that activity your metabolims slows down.

You don´t need to spend one hour doing cardio if your goa lis to get in shape, if your goa lis to run a maratón then yes you can spend one hour to build your endurance. You need to set a goal and design a plan that gets your on the right track.

Cardio is important if you want to get the health benefits it can give you, this is the reason why I do 20 minutes every day, you don´t need more just make those 20 minutes intense after you´re done with it you´ll start getting some of the benefits like improving mood and more energy throughout the day.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



Why weight loss and fat loss are not the same


After a couple years of being uncomfortable with the way I looked physically and having low self-esteem I decided to start working out and following a diet to lose weight, I even follow some traditional weight loss programs you can find on Internet and in all of them I get to a point where I give up. It was so hard to stick to the diet and every day it was harder to exercise, I wasn´t getting results so I lost all motivation. The moment I stopped following any weight loss program it was harder for me to maintain the results, I needed to eat less and I had to exercise a lot more, this is when I realize that something was wrong. At this moment I decided to take a couple of months to research, learn and understand everything I need about fitness and health. I started reading every book, magazine, article that I could, then and once I had understood the information I  use it to gain personal experience, to find out the truth about getting in shape, sustain those results and do it in a simple and effortless way.

If you are in this place there are some points you need to understand to get in your best shape once and for all and the first point is that weight loss and fat loss are not the same. Weight loss means losing body fat, water and muscle mass; fat loss means losing body fat, water and maintaining muscle mass. If you focus on weight loss and you follow any of the weight loss programs out there which are based on strict low calorie and cardio yes you will lose a lot of weight but it include fat, water and muscle.

You´ll find it hard to follow the program for a long period of time and when you stop you´ll see that it´s almost impossible to sustain your results, you need to eat a lot less and you have to exercise a lot more just to maintain or otherwise you start gaining weight fast.

The reason of it is simple, your metabolism is slower and you are insulin resistant. Slow metabolism means that you lost muscle mass so your body uses less energy for all activities. Being insulin resistant means that your body can´t use carbohydrates the  right way (there´s a lot more to know about metabolism and insulin but we´re going to talk about that in next posts).

When you focus on fat loss you´ll lose body and water but you´ll maintain as much muscle mass as possible or even gain muscle. Here you increase metabolism and improve insulin, your body uses more energy and it´s able to use carbs more effectively which make it a lot easier for you to get consistent results and sustain them.

There are so many weight loss programs that focus on the wrong goal, the reason is simple we live in a fast paced world, we can have almost everything instantly so when we´re following a weight loss program we want results fast and the industry takes advantage of this without considering the negative effects on health on the long run.

Weight loss is fast, unhealthy and unsustainable; fat loss is slow, healthy and sustainable. Even when fat loss takes some time it won´t take you that long, around 8 to 10 months is enough to get amazing results. Think about it this way, take Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve or your birthday as the day to achieve your desire weight and start following a fat loss program, don´t get obsessed with it. Time will pass anyway so it´s worth it that you use that time so when Thanksgiving, Christmas or your birthday arrives you look and feel a lot better. If you are going to put time and effort on your workouts and making better choices on your meals make them count by focusing on the fat loss which is what´s going to give you the best results.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



Success is a lifestyle based on good habits

01 The lifestyle of success

Have you ever asked yourself why successful people keep getting success and average people stay that way? It´s their habits what makes the difference.

Habits are small actions you do every day sometimes without thinking about them. Your habits create your life. Good habits lead to a life of success, bad habits lead to failure.

What you do every single day determine how you live, if you want to be successful create good habits that lead you to a life of success. Your day is built of habits, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep most of your daily actions are habits, you are so used to doing them that they are now part of your subconscious and you can do them even with your eyes closed, this is a routine.

Most people have poor habits that lead them to average results, following the same routine every day that keeps you comfortable in a way that you don´t have to work that much but that keeps you struggling with money and that keeps you stuck in the same place is the result of poor habits.

Bad habits will keep you from achieving your goals and dreams. Habits like complaining, criticizing and blaming someone else when something didn´t go out the way you wanted is one of the worst things you can do that keep you where you are. Waking up late, not exercising, eating unhealthy food, procrastinating are all examples of bad habits that not only are leading you to health problems and diseases, also to a life of struggle. Your life will not improve until you decide to change, until you take responsibility and commit to a better life.

With good habits you are able to grow personal and professional while living healthy and enjoy life as much as possible. When you want to achieve any goal you want to sustain the results, the best way is to make it effortless, good habits are the only way to get to your goals and sustain them, good daily habits make your goals seem effortless and give you the freedom to enjoy life.

Achieving any goal is simple if you have good habits, what´s difficult is building those good habits which take time, it´s not something you can do from one day to another, you need at least one month but it can take up to 3 months for a habit to become part of our life. It´s tough to build new habits because it requires our focus and attention and with so many things that need to get done we get right back to our old habits.

To develop new habits you need to start small, for eating healthy you can start by eliminating junk food from your house and the next time you go for the grocery buy healthy, natural foods, instead of candies and cookies buy some fruit, seeds and nuts, start by doing 10 or 20 minutes of exercise, start with 10 pushups and 10 squats and make it daily. Schedule 30 minutes of your day to exercise, it will be hard the first days but do it, do not complain or make excuses. If you want to get up earlier set the alarm and live it far from your bed, once you´re up start doing what you planned.

When you start building good habits you´ll get some kind of results, you feel better and things start to get better, this motivates you to continue with this new habits until they stick. For habits to stick you need to do it over and over and over again, repetition is key. You won´t develop new habits if you do it today and the next two days you´re too tired to do them.

Developing new habits and will power go hand in hand, the first weeks you will need will power to get up and do what you need to do until it becomes a routine, exercising or waking up earlier are some of the hardest habits to develop, get up and do it anyway, focus on the rewards, focus on your goal and it´ll be easier to do it.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



How sleep and stress are related

01 sleep and stress

There are nights when I can´t manage to fall asleep, my mind just keep wandering on everything that worries me and everything I need to do the next day and thinking about the worst case scenarios of a certain event. When I could fall asleep I suddenly wake up and when I watch the clock just 2 or 3 hours had passed, it´s clear that all the stress of the day won´t let me fall asleep.

All 5 elements of fitness (nutrition, training, mindset, sleep and stress) work together to help you live a better life. The relationship between sleep and stress need to be consider if you want to make changes to your life.

You may be one of the millions of people around the world that are not having good quality sleep and the cause of it is stress. You may be sleeping around 7 or 8 hours but when you wake up you feel tired or you´re not having enough sleep; both of this are a big problem.

Sleep disorders are increasing and in many cases the root cause is chronic stress. The reason why is because our body responds to stress by shutting down unnecessary systems and keeping you in an alert mode so if you are constantly stressed your body stays in this alert mode so you are not supposed to sleep when the night comes you may fall asleep for short periods of time and you are constantly waking up or your body is not resting, cortisol is high, adrenaline is high your muscles are tense and in case you´ve forgotten why you are stressed your mind doesn´t stop, you keep thinking about the problems at work, relationships, finances.

We all have to deal or cope with stressful situations every single day, things like getting stuck in traffic, financial problems, bad relationships with coworkers or your boss, maybe problems in school with teachers or classmates make fun of you and you´re bullied all this scenarios we live every day create chronic stress which makes it hard for us to relax during night which lead to poor quality sleep.

Our everyday problems are the ones that keep us awake at night, all this stress create negative thoughts and our mind love to think of the worst things that could happen and it creates tension in the body plus the high levels of cortisol and insulin remains high it´s impossible for you to let it all go and give your body the rest it deserves.

How many times have you gone to bed ready to get some sleep and your mind start wandering in all the problems and though situations you had? You start worrying and get anxious for all the stress of your day you won´t have good quality sleep and your body won´t be able to recover and restore all systems and hormones. The problem is that lack of sleep or poor quality sleep creates an imbalance in hormones like leptin and ghrelin and some neurotransmitters of your brain which creates more stress.

Chronic stress won´t let you have good quality of sleep and lack of good quality sleep creates more stress. If you have problems at your job, at home, financially or any other you may not be sleeping well, if you don´t have good quality sleep you’d find it hard to make the right decisions and you won´t be able to deal with though situations in the best way possible which creates even more stress. This cycle will continue and it get worse. Chronic stress is linked to insomnia and both of this have been linked to the increase of mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

All of us can suffer nights of bad sleep from time to time and we´ll all experience the short term consequences that day but when it becomes consistent

To have a good quality sleep your body and mind needs to be calmed and relaxed otherwise the high levels of stress will keep your body in arousal. When you are calmed and relax your body can get into deep sleep going through all phases without waking up in the middle of the night.

If you want to have good quality sleep you need to know how to lower stress, to get calm and relaxed this is why some doctors give patients drugs or medicine that help them relax before giving them other medications and in most cases that´s enough.

The way to lower stress is to turn off your mind, your mind always create negative scenarios to your problems and it shows you the worst think that could happen you need to block all this stuff from your mind and the way to do it is using a tool called meditation.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



What you need to know about muscle fibers and hypertrophy


It´s not new that every year trends come out and the one I´ve been hearing more for the last months at least here is hybrid training and the way people is talking about is related to rep ranges but they don´t really know or understand how this works.

What got m attention is that some of them talk about as something new (as always…) but it´s not new… there´s nothing new, almost all training techniques or tools have been used before people only make little adjustments and change the name, the same thing happens with diets.

To talk about muscle fibers there are 2 points that we need to understand; muscle fibers and hypertrophy.

We have two types of muscle fibers which are type 1 and type 2, both types of muscle fibers are highly important for muscle growth, knowing how this two types of fiber works and how you can hit them or target them is key to creating workout programs that will lead you to your goals.

Type 1 muscle fibers or slow twitch muscle fibers are target with light weights , high reps and short rest periods around the 12 to 15 reps.

Type 2 muscle fibers or fast twitch muscle fibers are target with heavy weights , low reps and long rest periods  around the 5 to 8 reps.

There are 2 types of hypertrophy which are  sarcoplasmic and myofibryllar. The 2 of them are related to the muscle fibers because depending of the rep range you are working is how you target each of them.

In sarcoplasmic hypertrophy the muscle increase in size because more fluid gets into the cell, you target slow twitch muscle fibers which are type 1, working around the 12 to 15 reps per set or more. If you want to get “the pump” this is where you need to focus on, this is also the most common rep range and the one you´ll see a lot more on gyms.

Since you are lifting light weights for high reps you can use the 3 types of exercises; bodyweight, compound and isolation (I´m writing a post for each).

This type of hypertrophy makes you a slave to the gym, you need to be training to hit the muscle otherwise you lose it. Is easier and faster to gain muscle and to look big with this one but if you take some time off the gym you lose that muscle.

In myofibryllar hypertrophy the muscle cell increase in number, you target fast twitch muscle fibers which are type 2, working around the 5 to 8 reps per set. If you want to build lean dense muscle this is where you need to focus on.

Since you are lifting heavy weights for low reps you can use bodyweight and compound exercises which are the ones you can lift heavy weight, with isolation you can´t lift heavy you can get injured.

This type of hypertrophy takes more time to build and to get big but it´s there to last,  you can take some time off the gym and it will take longer until you lose that muscle. What you need to consider is that here you are working your central nervous system and it takes more to recover.

Both types of fibers and hypertrophy have their benefits and hitting both of them gives you amazing results. You can use type 2 for compound movements and type 1 for isolation movements this way you focus on getting stronger and adding some more workout to weaker muscles.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.