Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness



Benefits of optimal sleep

06 sleep and fat loss

When it comes to fitness and health there are some changes we need to make in our lifestyle to live as best as possible, it´s not always about working as hard as you can, it´s always about working smarter, what are the best tools or the best habits you can develop that will give you the greatest benefits.

Improving the quality of sleep is one of them, most research and people in the industry recommend getting 8 hours of sleep but if you do the right things and improve the quality of sleep you can get 6 hours of sleep every night and feel great.

We´ve talked in other posts about the benefits of sleep for overall health and specially the negative impact on the short run but when we talk about longetivity, improving health and preventing diseases sleep is key.

1.- Good quality sleep improves skin health which help us get a youthful appearance, look younger

2.- Prevent diseases, most chronic diseases we´re seeing nowadays can be prevent with good quality sleep. Obesity, overweight and diabetes; stress, depression and anxiety, stress, and some others are linked to poor sleep and it´s been shown that when people improve the quality of sleep their health improve.

3.- Maintain a healthy weight.- Good quality sleep helps our body works efficiently this include systems and hormones and when our body is working efficiently it is easier to lose fat and maintain a healthy weight.

4.- Lower inflammation.- Many diseases are caused by inflammation in the body and having an sleep schedule helps our body function efficiently which keeps inflammation levels healthy.

5.- Improves memory.- Remembering information and keeping our brain at peak performance is based on good quality sleep.

6.- Sleep longer.- Enough good quality sleep help us live longer, here both are important too much or too little sleep is linked to a shorter lifespan.

Sleep is key for optimal health, most of us focus on diet and exercise but one night of poor sleep has negative consequences the next day and if this lack of sleep becomes consistent it affects negatively our health.

It´s possible to prevent chronic diseases but we need to commit to a healthy lifestyle and that healthy lifestyle includes a sleep schedule, we need to stop binging on Netflix and make our health our priority before it´s too late. Our unhealthy lifestyles are the root cause of many diseases nowadays so we need to develop healthy habits to live healthy lifestyles and to develop healthy habits means that we need to make different choices and that´s the hardest part.

Making a small different choice and repeating that new choice every single day will develop the new habit, take one choice or activity that you can change today and start doing it over and over, suddenly you´ll see that it´s part of your life.

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.



Sunlight and sleep

00 Training intro

Did you have enough good quality sleep tonight? If you great with a lot of energy and excited for the amazing day you´ll have then you had a great night sleep, if you feel tired and are thinking on taking a rest and you have cravings for your favorite junk food you didn´t have enough sleep.

Now, another question, how much time of your day do you spend outside? Whether you think about it or not, getting sunlight improves our sleep, we´ve talked before of the circadian rhythm, the internal clock of our body. This internal clock dictates many functions of our body like hormone production, appetite and it revolves around the pattern of natural light.

Getting sunlight exposure specially in the morning helps our body get the circadian rhythm right or on time which makes it easier to our body to keep us awake and alert during day and as the sun starts to set it´s an indication for our body that it´s time to sleep so our body starts working on releasing melatonin to fall asleep and once we´re sleep our body starts working on recovering, healing and growing.

Body temperature is also important here, it keeps fluctuating throughout the whole day, our body reaches its coolest temperature in the morning before waking up and its highest late in the afternoon of evening. It goes very similar to sunrise and sunset.

When the internal clock of our body is out of time all systems and functions get out balance, natural sunlight tells our body when it´s time to sleep and when it´s time to stay awake, if we don´t consider this and we go to sleep late then we will wake up later which is what happens to many of us on weekends or we don´t have enough sleep which happens during the week and with this hormones are not released on time, and overall our body is not functioning as efficiently as it could be.

When you go to sleep late at night and you wake up later in the morning the next day even when you slept 8 hours your body is out of rhythm, there are still 24 hours in a day, the sun rise and sets at the same time every day and that´s what´s going to get the internal clock on time.

There´s a time of the day when the sun is at its highest point and its UVB rays are more intense so you need less time.

The best time to get sunlight exposure is in the morning between 6:30 am and 8:00 am, you can take advantage of that time and workout outside which has a lot of benefits for our health, studies show that working out in the morning also improves sleep at night but I know that most of us can´t workout at this time and for some it´s so difficult to get sun exposure in the morning but if you can take at least 10 minutes it will be effective.

Most of us get 1 to 2 hours for lunch on our jobs, try to eat your meal in one hour and take 10 to 15 minutes to take a walk outside, this is another way to get sunlight.

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 caffeine affects sleep

08 Sleep and hormones

I love coffee and chances are you love it too but how much of it we drink per day and at what times of the day can be beneficial or a complete mistake. Some of us do not know how much caffeine we´re taking every day because it can be found on coffee, tea, chocolate, drinks and some drugs.

Most of us use coffee every morning to wake up and start our day the right way and also some use it in the afternoon or late night to stay alert through the rest of the day but even when I haven´t heard and found any big negative impact on health with moderate coffee or tea we need to put a limit.

Since caffeine is a stimulant it keeps us alert and it can cause insomnia and when we´re trying to get more sleep of improve the quality of sleep this is a huge problem, I´m not saying to eliminate caffeine and by this I mean coffee, tea or chocolate (dark chocolate 70% cacao or more) they all have amazing benefits for our health but what we need to do is be aware of the time we consume it.

When we consume caffeine, specially coffee, drinks or drugs studies show that it´s harder to fall asleep, we sleep less, we awake more during the night. We don´t need too much studies for this if you are sensitive to caffeine and you´ve had a cup of coffee late in the afternoon you may have get some of those symptoms. There are guys who are not sensitive to caffeine, they can have a cup of coffee around 3 or 4 hours before going to bed and they will get enough good sleep.

It also has a lot to do with the amount of caffeine we take, we can become dependent of it and each time we´ll need more and more and although it has amazing benefits, too much of a good think can have a negative impact.

I recommend having coffee in the morning from 1 to 2 cups per day, in the afternoon you can have a cup of tea if you can stick with 1 cup of coffee in the morning and 1 cup of tea in the afternoon that´s great, if you want chocolate you can have one small piece of dark chocolate at least 70% cacao or more.

Caffeine is great as an appetite suppressant so if you do intermittent fasting having a cup of coffee or tea will make it easier to stay fasted, if you fast in the morning skipping breakfast you can have coffee, or if it´s at night you can have tea.

If you are sensitive to caffeine and you take a cup of coffee or tea late in the afternoon you will start feeling anxious and it will cause insomnia, since it keeps you alert and awake it will take you longer to fall asleep and the next day you won´t feel rested because you didn´t get enough sleep.

Your body wasn´t able to recover, heal and prepare for the day because it stayed in an alert state for some time during the night and it wasn´t able to relax.

If you know you are sensitive to caffeine limit the intake to the morning so that you have at least 10 hours from the time you drink your coffee to the time you go to bed to take the effects of alertness down, be aware of energetic drinks and some drugs which can also be causing problems.

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.



The benefits of having a sleep schedule

23 The benefits of having a sleep schedule

What I see in most people, at least the ones close to me is that they have a sleep schedule from Monday to Friday which are work days and on Saturday and Sunday they forget about it. From Monday to Friday their sleeping schedule is based on school or job and for Saturday and Sunday it´s based on parties or Netflix.

Having a sleeping schedule that we stick to every day, including weekends has a lot of benefits for our body and the most important is that our body gets used to going to sleep at the same time and waking up at the same which balance the internal clock of our body called circadian rhythm, the benefits of this are:

1.- It´s easier to fall asleep.- When your body gets adapted to you sleeping schedule it´s easier to fall asleep every night.

2.- Waking up without an alarm.- Once your body is adapted to waking up at the same hour it´s easier to wake up every morning and you will do it without an alarm clock, you´ll be waking up roughly at the same time.

3.- Consistent good quality sleep.- It´s easier to get good quality sleep every night since your body knows it´s time to rest and recover.

4.- Performance throughout the day improves.- Since you´re getting enough good quality sleep your body is able to recover and heal so your performance stays at peak.

5.- Stay lean.- When the internal clock of the body and all systems and functions are in balance working efficiently it´s easier to lose weight and stay lean.

This are just some of the benefits of having a sleep schedule, now that we know the benefits we need to make the commitment to make some changes to our routine, having a 9 to 5 job can make it more difficult so you´ll need to make your sleeping schedule based on your working days, the goal is to go to sleep at the same time every day and wake up at the same time every day, also Saturday and Sunday or your rest day.

The first couple of days are hard but you need to give time to your body to adapt to the routine, what you can do is try to mimic natural sunlight, when the sun goes down turn off your computer, tv, laptop, ipad, cell phone or if you can´t turn them off use blue light blockers. At least try to turn them off 30 minutes before going to bed so that your body starts to produce melatonin.

For waking up you´ll need to set an alarm clock specially the first weeks, then when your body gets used to the routine and schedule you will wake up almost at the same time every day but if you need to arrive on time to your job or school I recommend setting the alarm clock so that you don´t arrive late.

Living a healthy lifestyle is based on habits and routines, the first days when you start making different choices it´s difficult and feels so uncomfortable, just stick with those new choices until your body adapts to those new routines and become habits, after that you´ll see that it´s actually simple and effortless to live a better life and you have so much freedom while staying lean and feeling great.

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. Pam


How lack of sleep affects our performance

21 Sleep and performance

We´ve seen before that sleep is a critical part of health, physical and mental but most of us stay late night watching Netflix, even when we can see some of the negative symptoms of lack of sleep the next day we can manage it but our performance and focus throughout the day won´t be as great as it could be.

If you are an athlete you may know by now the importance of enough good quality sleep every night and you know that lack of sleep of poor quality sleep really affects your performance at the practice but for people like me who are not athletes and are only interested on looking as great as possible and living an amazing life, then our performance will be measure at school or the office. Lack of sleep affects our performance and productivity in all activities throughout the day, here are some ways:

1.- Stops creativity and innovative thinking

2.- We tend to forget information whether it´s something we need to learn or something we need to do.

3.- It´s harder to focus and pay attention to the task we´re working on.

4.- Our reaction or response time is slower.

If we want to live a successful life we need to perform at peak in everything we do every day, we don´t have to be an athlete to focus on improving the quality of our sleep. When we´re working for success we need to be able to focus on what we´re doing and find ways to be more effective and efficient, we need to be able to make the best decisions for our business, job or life, we need to be able to think creatively, to come with new ideas, being innovative is key to stay relevant.

It´s not only about how you feel after a night of poor sleep, it´s about the results we accomplish, what we get done and how we do what we need to do, it´s about doing our best in everything and working as hard as we can but this efforts gets compromised with just one night of poor sleep or not enough sleep.

There´s no way we can perform great, stay focused, be creative and make the best decisions if our body and mind didn´t get enough sleep and didn´t recover properly. Now when it comes to health we need to prioritize our health and well-being, lack of sleep gets the body out of balance and this makes our body more susceptible to injuries and illness, if this occurs constantly health problems in both physically and mentally and injuries get worse impacting our performance more and more each night of poor sleep.

One night of bad sleep has immediate consequences on our performance and results for the next day, if we make this lack of sleep a bad habit the negative consequences carry on to our health. Sleep is key to live a successful life, our body needs adequate amount of rest each night to recover and heal, all hormones, systems and the internal clock of our body needs to be in balance to maintain a healthy body, reduce the risk of injuries and illness and to perform at peak every day on everything we do.

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.



Breathing to improve sleep

19 Breathing to improve sleep

High levels of stress are one of the most common causes of sleep problems, if we are stressed our body can´t relax and stay calm so it´s harder to fall asleep, if our mind is thinking in all the negative stuff of the day and we´re worried for something we will wake up constantly during the night.

Breathing is an amazing tool that help us get asleep faster and improve all aspects of our sleep patterns. Have you ever think of how you feel and what´s happening in your body and mind when you can´t fall asleep? In most cases we are stressed, our body and muscle are in tension and our mind is buzzing around.

The way we can fall asleep and get good quality sleep for longer periods is by calming our mind and relaxing our muscles and entire body, once our mind is calm and our entire body is relax we can fall asleep quickly.

Many people use breathing techniques to help them sleep and many of them prefer to do any of the exercises sitting in a chair or the floor, I prefer to do them lying in the bed just ready to sleep. If the goal with this breathing techniques is to fall asleep and not meditate then you can do them lying in your bed, if the goal is to meditate it´s better to sit in a chair or the floor otherwise you will fall asleep.

When we are stressed our body is alert and this sends the signal to our brain that it´s not time to relax and rest this is why we can´t fall asleep, with breathing techniques we slow our breathing and what this those is that as our breathe slows it sends the message to the brain that it´s time to calm down and our entire body starts to slow down and relax.

The best way to do this so that it actually works is to focus on breathing and keep your mind also focus on your breathe, for this you can use the 4 – 7 – 8 breathing technique by Dr. Andrew Weil or if you know other technique that uses counting while breathing go for it. Here you inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7 and exhale for a count of 8 and repeat this 3 times.

The special point about this is that you need to be focus and aware of what you are doing so that you don´t lose the count this way the mind is engaged and you start feeling your breathe going slower and your whole body relaxing.

This tool needs to be done daily if you want to get the benefits, if you do this one day and you want it to work perfectly, it won´t you need time and you need to make it a habit specially if you have sleep disorders. As always when you start anything new you´ll feel wear doing this exercises and your mind will start wandering in all that thoughts you want to avoid, when you catch your mind wandering just bring it back to the breathing exercise, do not blame yourself or feel bad, remember that is something new for you.

Breathing techniques are also a great tool to use before meditation and visualization, for any meditation or visualization technique to work efficiently your mind needs to be calm, focus on breathing deeply and sense how your body relax.

There are so many different breathing techniques, some more advance than others but is important that you take one step at a time and start with something simple, once you develop it as a habit you can try more advanced techniques that go according to what you want to achieve.

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. Pam


What we need to know about sleep disorders

18 Sleep disorders

Some of us don´t give sleep the importance it deserve, we have a lot of things to do and we love doing them that we don´t want to go to sleep, we´re so inspired and motivated by our work that someone needs to stop us, others don´t sleep enough because they need to finish their work even when they hate what they do and there are some others that can get 8 hours of sleep every night, they go to bed early but can´t fall asleep.

If you are in the last group you may have a sleep disorder and it´s the reason why you can´t fall asleep or you wake up at night, here are some of the most common sleep disorders:

1.- Insomnia.- When you have trouble to fall asleep or you wake up frequently during the night and when you wake up you don´t feel rested you feel like you didn´t get enough sleep, this can be caused by stress, jet lag, illness.

2.- Sleep apnea.- Here the regular pattern of breathing while you are sleep gets interrupted for short periods of time because the airway gets blocked.

3.- Nightmares.- This one is when our dreams are scary and we get frightened and fearful so we wake up, if this happens every once in a while is normal but when it´s constant it can be caused by stress, anxiety or worries.

4.- Shift work.- Working at night goes against the internal clock of the body and it´s harder to stay alert and productive during work time and you may have trouble to get 7 – 8 hours of sleep during day. Blocking all light and noises during your sleep time is key to help you get as much sleep as you can.

5.- Restless legs syndrome.- If you feel the urge to move your legs at night while you are sleeping you may suffer from RLS, one of the causes is low levels of iron but there can be more.

We all suffer from sleep disorders from time to time, if we´re dealing with a very stressful situation, if we´ve been traveling a lot, if we are worried, it´s normal to have some nights of poor sleep every once in a while but when this is consistent then we need to do something.

There are different treatments for sleep disorders, some of them will be more beneficial than others and as with any other treatment you will get results fast, at least the symptoms will lower but almost all sleep disorders can be improved by making some changes to our lifestyle that start with making better choices, being more active during the day, especially in the morning, reducing stress and following a healthy nutrition program will improve the quality of sleep.

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 to improve sleep

16 How to improve sleep

Our lifestyles are based on habits, if we have good habits we live a healthy successful life but if we have bad habits we won´t have the results we want and we won´t live to our full potential.

The way to improve the quality of sleep is to develop the right habits that lead you to a better life, developing one good habit for each of the 5 principles of fitness will have a positive impact in all areas of your life and it all starts by taking action, here some steps or actions you can take today to improve your sleep:

1.- Create a sleep schedule – The internal clock of our body or circadian rhythm needs to be in balance so that you fall asleep and wake up feeling rested without waking up in the middle of the night. Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time, even on weekends and vacations.

2.- Check the room temperature.- If the temperature of the bedroom is too cold or too hot you won´t be able to fall asleep and you may wake up in the night.

3.- Set the right environment.- Try to reduce light and noise in your bedroom, it may be difficult to eliminate outside noises but what you can do is make sure that there´s any noise or distraction in your home and your bedroom and if you can use curtains that can block light from the outside.

4.- Avoid blue light.- At least 30 minutes before going to bed turn off light bulbs and all electronics like computers, Tv, laptos, cellphones, ipads.

5.- Meditate.- You can use the 30 minutes of no light to meditate, this will help you relax your body and muscles and calm your mind.

6.- Exercise.- Exercising helps you reduce stress and keeps you in a great mood plus it has positive effects on the systems of your body that helps you sleep better.

7.- Get sunlight.- Get outside and get natural light specially in the morning, this helps regulate your circadian rhythm.

This are the best habits you can start developing today that will help you improve your sleep, they help you fall asleep faster and improve the quality of your sleep. You don´t need to change everything and adopt them all at the same time, one step at a time is always the best way to do it.

Take one of this steps and commit to doing it for the next 30 days, once you feel comfortable with that take another one, if you want to get results fast you can try points 4 and 5 together so that you don´t waste those 30 minutes.

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 lack of sleep affects our day

15 How lack of sleep affects our day

Every day I cross path with someone who didn´t get enough sleep, someone who woke up in the night several times or someone who didn´t sleep at all and around lunch it´s obvious they can´t go any longer, the short term consequences of lack of sleep are there, they feel terrible, they don´t have energy, they can´t stay focused on what they´re doing, they have headaches and they´re sleepy. We all know that lack of sleep or poor quality have negative consequences and we still don´t give it the attention it deserves.

We all want to be as productive as possible during day, we want and need to perform great, to keep energy high and be able to stay focused and keep concentration on what we´re doing but the number one factor that brings all this down is lack of sleep and this happens to all of us at least once a week.

Lack of sleep impacts our performance throughout the day and it also impacts our mood, when we didn´t sleep well we tend to be more rude and aggressive with the people around us and if we are rude, disrespectful or aggressive it will cause negative reactions from the others which turns in a negative environment, this leads to lack of motivation, lack of inspiration, not feeling like doing the work and if this continues for a period of time it can lead to depression.

One night of poor sleep or lack of sleep has a direct impact on your day you´ll see and feel the negative effects at this point it affects your coordination and memory  but when this lack of sleep or poor sleep occurs for several days it puts at risk our health both physical and mental health and it´s not only obesity or diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, depression are all caused by lack of sleep.

One of the reasons why it is harder for some of us to lose weight and stay lean is poor sleep habits, this is what makes it impossible to stay on track on any program, if our hormones are out of balance, our metabolism is slow, we feel hungry and we crave more unhealthy foods and at the end of the day we eat a lot more, insulin and cortisol are high, growth hormone is low, we feel tired and sleepy, we don´t feel like working out, our performance is poor, we lack motivation. With all this negativity going on it´s obvious that we won´t stick to the program and not only that, our body is entirely out of balance, it is not working efficiently and the chances for us to get sick are really high.

From what I´ve learnt my conclusion is that we are doing everything wrong and out entire system is wrong, we have a lot of things to do and we need to be more productive and effective and the 9 to 5 job time doesn´t seem to enough so we work extra hours to finish all the work, the problem is that the more hours we work the less productive and effective we are, we get more tired, we are prone to make more mistakes and make bad decisions and it blocks our creativity.

If instead of working more hours we take some time of rest to go outside every couple of hours and if we reduce the total amount of hours to rest, to reduce stress, to meditate and to sleep hour productivity and performance will increase, we will be more effective and assertive, our creativity increases helping us solve problems more effectively and we are able to stay focused on what we´re doing.

In some cases it is more important to prioritize sleep over training, the recovery part your body does while you sleep is crucial for overall health, if you skip one workout it won´t be that bad considering that the reason why you skip your workout was to prioritize sleep which will give you positive benefits for your day and life.

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 exercise improves sleep

Exercise and sleep

So many people ask me why I do so much exercise and the reason is simple, I love working out and it has amazing benefits although I don´t consider I do a lot of exercise, most of my workouts last 60 minutes sometimes I 90 minutes. One of the greatest benefits when I started working out was the way it helped me sleep better specially if I workout in the morning.

Exercise reduces stress and it can also help with depression and anxiety and since one of the causes of poor sleep or lack of sleep is stress working is a great way to reduce it and at the same time you get the benefits of quality sleep and you get in amazing shape.

If you are asking when is the best time of the time to workout many studies show that the mornings are the best time of the day. If you train first thing in the morning you don´t have to worry later, you´ve already started your day right and since exercise triggers neurotransmitters in your brain you get that feeling good sensation and you are ready to hit the rest of the day. If you have the possibility of working outside or doing some part of your workout outside to get sun light is easier for your body to control its internal clock.

Exercise improves sleep quality and increases sleep duration whether you´re not having good quality sleep or you´re not having enough sleep exercise can help you improve both.

Between resistance or cardio training one of them may have a better impact on improving sleep and that one is cardio training or aerobic exercise

If you train at night because you prefer it or because is the time of the day you can do it if your workout is high intensity and you go to bed one hour after you´re done it will be harder for you to fall asleep. If you can´t train in the morning you can try moderate intensity, even yoga or Pilates can be an option, resistance training is good but I’d avoid circuit training and  HIIT is not a good option at this time.

Enough good quality sleep also has an impact on your workouts, if you don´t get good quality sleep or lack of sleep will affect negatively your routines you won´t be completely focus, you won´t have energy and chances are that you may skip your workout for the day.

So enough good quality sleep improves your workout the same way that working out improves your sleep, if you want to get better sleep then cardio training will help you but you also need resistance training to maintain and build muscle mass.

Remember that sleep is key for recovery so if you train hard you need to get enough good sleep so that your body can recover and you´re able to hit the gym hard the next day.

Since both, sleep and exercise are important some people try to prioritize one over the other, some people love to train and workout out so they rather hit the gym even they haven´t slept that well, others hate to workout so they prefer to stay asleep even when they can get up earlier and get their routine done first thing in the morning. The problem is that they´re both important, they´re 2 of the principles of fitness so you need enough good quality sleep every night and consistent exercise.

What I recommend is getting at least 6 hours of good quality sleep every night and at least 20 minutes of exercise which if those 20 minutes can turn into 40 or 60 minutes per day it will be great at least 5 days a week, if you can workout the 7 days go for 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.