Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness



How sleep impacts our hormones

08 Sleep and hormones

Knowing how things work and the impacts they have in our body help us live a better life and achieve our goals in a simple way.

Nowadays sleep is one of our least priorities, if we want to lose weight we focus on diet and exercise and even when we know sleep is important we don´t give it the attention it deserves. Just one night of poor sleep will have negative consequences on your day and if this become chronic it can cause negative health problems.

Here we´ll talk about 5 hormones that are affected with just one night of poor sleep, this hormones are: cortisol, growth hormone, insulin, leptin and ghrelin.

Cortisol is the stress hormone, every time you are under stress your body releases cortisol to deal with that situation, your body needs more energy so it shuts down non essential functions for that period of time and glucose increases because it´s the preferred form of energy. Lack of sleep puts stress to your body so if you didn´t get enough good sleep cortisol will be high.

Growth hormone is the one that keeps you lean, it helps your cells use stored fat for energy and also repair and build muscle. Your body produce this hormone during sleep you need to get through all the phases of sleep for this hormone to get high. Lack of sleep keeps this hormone low making it easier for your body to store fat and even lose muscle tissue.

Insulin is known as the fat storage hormone, it takes insulin to the cells so it can be use as energy and it is triggered by carbohydrates, the higher insulin is the more fat you store and it´s also dangerous. Lack of sleep makes your body insulin resistant meaning that your body is not efficient using carbohydrates, your body needs to produce more insulin to get the same job done.

Leptin is the hormone that regulates appetite and it tells you when to stop eating by sending signals to your brain that you are full and that you have plenty of energy. Lack of sleep lowers leptin in your body so it can´t send signals to your brain that you are full so you keep eating.

Ghrelin also sends signals to your brain and tell you when you need to eat. Lack of sleep increases ghrelin so you are hungry all day. This is why your craving for sweets and unhealthy foods increases.

During sleep your brain is recharging so that you can learn, understand and memorize things with ease, lack of sleep affects your cognitive skills making it harder for you to retain new information, to react fast and make good decisions. Your attention and alertness lowers and you won´t be as creative as you can be.

Lack of sleep sends the wrong signals and trigger this hormones in the wrong way affecting not only your fitness goals but your health in general. One night of poor sleep will affect your day and you´ll see it in the short run symptoms like feeling tired, sleepy, lack of energy, hard to focus, cravings increase specially for sweets, being in a bad mood.

Chronic sleep problems can cause many physical and health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, anxiety. It also make your hormones go out of balance the internal clock of your body go nuts.

Changing habits is key for good quality sleep every night, some of the causes of bad sleep are chronic stress and blue light, if you are stressed your body won´t relax and your mind won´t stop making it almost impossible to fall asleep and get the adequate rest. Blue light is present in almost all screens of technology devices like computers, lap tops, cell phones, tv. Avoiding the use of this electronics before you go to bed help you sleep better and faster, meditation helps you relax and calm and release tension from 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.



How sleep helps with muscle growth

07 sleep and muscle growth

I´ve seen many guys working so hard in the gym with a lot of volume and frequency but not giving the same attention and importance to sleep. Our body recovers while we sleep so if you want to gain muscle you need to have the right amount and quality of sleep every night.

If your goal is to gain lean muscle mass then you need to prioritize sleep and make sure that it´s good quality.

Even if you have are following the best training and nutrition program sleep is still a most, your body and muscles need to recover after you hit the gym and sleep is a crucial part of recovery. Growth hormone is key to build muscle and it´s released while you sleep, the cycles or phases of sleep impacts the release of this hormone, if you have bad sleep or you wake up growth hormone won´t be at its max which minimizes the results.

I´ve seen many people that want to gain lean muscle mass taking a lot of supplements from protein shakes, weight gainers, multivitamin, fish oils and drugs like steroids (you know by now that I don´t recommend any of this) but they don´t consider stress and sleep. You need to give your muscles the right stimulus for them to grow and then you need to give them the right amount of recovery, the best recovery time is sleep.

If you lack sleep your body won´t use the food you consume throughout the day to get daily functions done and assist in muscle recover and growth. It also affects negatively your performance in the gym, you need to give your all on each workout if you want to grow but a lack of energy and not being recover compromise your workouts and overall results.

Lack of good quality sleep can cause muscle loss and weight gain from fat, an easy way to keep things under control is with sleep. You need to eat more to grow but if your body can´t handle the extra food properly you´ll gain fat instead of muscle.

When you get good quality sleep you feel more energized so your workouts are intense and you are able to stay focused so it´s easier to maintain your eyes on the goal.

If your goal is lean muscle mass with the least amount of fat sleep can help you keep fat low while increasing muscle, it is crucial that you have control and your body works in an efficient way. All hormones, neurons, chemicals, neurotransmitters they all get triggered what you need to do is use them to send the right messages and to work to your favor.

Having good quality sleep can be affected by different things including stress and this can cause that you wake up during night. Your sleep has 3 phases and during those phases your body has several functions and things to do, if you wake up you interrupt those functions. If the internal clock of your body and its functions gets out of rhythm your body won´t recover, repair and reenergize for the next day.

What you eat before you go to bed impacts not only the quality of your sleep, also your recovery. Protein is crucial for muscle repair and muscle growth, when you go to sleep your body turns to a catabolic state so if you have a protein before you go to bed you can increase protein synthesis and maintain your body in an anabolic phase for a longer period of time. The benefits of this is that you are giving your body nutrients to recover and build muscle before you sleep so it can get the job done in a more efficient way.

Fat loss and muscle growth is simple but you need discipline, consistency and work on the 5 elements of fitness. The right training combined with proper nutrition, enough quality sleep, low stress and the right mindset is what´s going to give you the best results.

There are some simple things you can do every day to improve the quality of your sleep and also to change and develop good habits that help you achieve your goals in a simple way and live a better 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 sleep can help you with fat loss

06 sleep and fat loss

If you´ve been trying to lose weight, you´ve been following the right program but you find it hard to stick to the diet, you don´t feel like working out and you don´t see results, the problem may in your sleep.

Sleep has more to do with fat loss than what you can think about. Lack of sleep increases ghrelin and lowers leptin this are two important hormones that make it harder for you to stick to a low calorie diet. Ghrelin increases appetite so if you didn´t sleep right ghrelin increases so you are hungry most of the time and leptin tells you when it´s enough food and you can stop eating so if you don´t get good sleep it gets lower and it won´t send you signals to know when it´s enough food.

With this two hormones sending the wrong messages it is so easy to over eat and most of that food will be sweets and junk which is the one we tend to crave more leading to weight gain. It´s not that you are doing something wrong is just that lack of sleep makes it harder for you to have control on what you eat and how much you eat and it lowers your energy and focus this is why you don´t feel like working out and you skip workouts.

Enough good quality sleep every night make fat loss a lot more easier, you don´t have to follow strict low calorie diets that can be counterproductive in the long run, there´s no reason to want to be perfect in one or two of the fitness elements if you don´t consider the other 3. You can follow a good diet based on real foods, a right training program focused on progressive overload get your mindset right, have enough good quality sleep and lower stress. All this together is what´s going to give you the results you want.

The problem with sleep is that it affects the other 4 elements, good quality sleep makes it easier for you to stick with your diet, you have more energy to workout and you are focused on your goals, it is harder to make bad decisions but just one night of bad sleep will affect your program at least for that day and if you chronic sleep problems the consequences are bigger.

Bad sleep also changes you fat cells, your metabolism slows you become insulin resistant and with this you end up storing fat in your body instead of using it for fuel. Your body simply don´t work how it´s supposed to work, if we think about it as a whole just the fact of bad sleep triggers the wrong hormones and send the wrong message so your metabolism slows down, you are insulin resistant plus you eat more unhealthy foods and in general you eat more, your workouts lack intensity and you may skip some of them, you are in a bad mood with low energy and not able to focus which creates more stress on your body and your mind is not where it´s supposed to be.

When you´re trying to lose weight you need to focus on losing fat while maintaining as much muscle mass as possible, with adequate amounts of sleep you make sure that most of the weight you lose is fat, it´s possible that if you´re following a low calorie diet and you´re working out you´ll lose weight but the weight loss can be fat, water and muscle. If you are not getting enough good sleep and you are losing weight the chances of you losing some fat, muscle and water increase compared to when you get enough sleep.

Even when fat loss comes down to eating less and doing resistance training focusing on progressive overload if you want to make your fat loss journey easier you need enough good quality sleep every night, this will keep all systems and hormones of your body working efficiently and you´ll find it easier to stay in a calorie deficit and with healthy foods.

The 5 elements of fitness are important and most be consider to achieve any fitness goal but this is meant to be something bigger, if you work on all of them you will live a better life more effortlessly and you´ll be able to get in shape and stay in shape without making everything harder than it really is.

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 fitness are related

03 Sleep and fitness

In fitness what you do in the gym is important but what you do outside is also important to get the best results as fast as possible.

One night of poor quality sleep reduces your results it doesn´t matter what your goal is. When you sleep your body recovers and build muscle so without good sleep your body can´t recover and grow. Growth hormone is an important hormone here it is the responsible for maintaining and building muscle mass, when we sleep our body produces this hormone during sleep and it can be the cause of muscle loss and slow metabolism.

Exercise is a great tool to improve sleep, if for any reason you don´t get enough good quality you won´t see results. Our body has an internal clock and it helps it schedule all functions running on time. If we change something of its schedule everything gets out of rhythm and the imbalance create a lot f negative effects on our health.

The benefits of working out are a lot and amazing but the times of the day in which you workout can also affect your sleep patterns, if you exercise right before going to bed you won´t fall asleep, you can do some physical activity a couple hours before going to sleep and it can help you sleep better.

Things like energy drinks or caffeine can give you a bust when you need whether you need it to finish work or to give you an extra push and focus for your workout but in the long run this are not the best option, you become dependent on them, every time you´ll need more and more and your body won´t be as efficient without them.

Working out in the morning is the ideal option, you can train hard and it makes you feel good and stay focused throughout the day and it also primes your body to have good sleep at night. Getting sun in the morning helps your body identify between morning, day at night improving the schedule. Working out in the morning and outside give you both benefits.

Lack of sleep also impacts your workouts if you don´t get enough sleep you won´t be focused, you´ll get fatigue faster and you lack energy which can cause injuries, but if you have good quality sleep you have a lot more energy, you´ll be focused and your body is totally recovered to hit the gym so it´s easier to keep making progress and this keeps you motivated when you see results day in and day out.

After a hard training session your body needs to recover so you need to give it the nutrients it needs which means you need to eat real food and you need good quality sleep to recover properly, if you don´t have enough sleep you´ll compromise your results by not recovering properly and by eating too much of the wrong foods.

Another thing to consider is your mindset, you need to have the right attitude and the right mindset to achieve anything in you want in life, lack of sleep gets you in bad mood, you feel lazy and tired so you don´t want to hit the gym and if you workout you won´t be training as hard as you can and you can get injured, it´s a lot harder to stick with healthy foods because cravings appear and you are hungry.

Going to sleep at the same time every day and waking up at the same time, working out in the morning every day and getting sun every morning helps your body understand and set its internal clock called natural circadian rhythm, in the long run this gives you a lot of benefits for your health and you´ll see you are more productive throughout your day and more focused.

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.



This are some causes of sleep problems

08 causes of sleep problems

Sleep is one of the 5 elements of fitness and it´s key to help you achieve ay fitness goal and live a better life, lack of sleep have a lot of negative impacts but there are also many things that can cause sleep problems.

One of the main causes of sleep problems is stress, if you have chronic stress your body won´t calm and relax and your mind don´t stop so you won´t be able to fall asleep or if you manage to do it you won´t feel rested when you wake up. Most of us have chronic stress and we don´t consider all the negative effects it has on our health and some of us don´t think of it as the cause of our poor sleep nights.

Digestive problems are also a cause of poor sleep, if you have digestive problems and you have a big meal or you have meals high on refined sugar and unhealthy fats you feel bloated and constipated when you go to bed you won´t fall asleep, your body is working so hard to digest all that food.

The environment also affect the quality of sleep there are so many things you need to consider here starting with the temperature of the room which change from one person to another but too hold or too cold will impact negatively your sleep also lights and noise. If your environment is not completely dark this can cause problems for your internal clock so make sure that all lights are off, you can use nightlights in bathrooms to avoid accidents if you wake up in the night. Noises inside and outside your house can keep you awake or wake you up if you are not use to them, in this case it can be hard to control the noises but do what you can in your home to avoid any loud noise that can disturb your sleep.

Light is an important factor on the quality of sleep, we´re exposed to light a lot more nowadays and this changes the internal clock of our body. Light exposure from sun is not the same as light exposure from electric light bulbs. In the late afternoon or late night we turn on the lights to continue what we´re doing but this creates a delay in our sleeping patterns, the light clock we are using externally with electronics and electric light bulbs is not in rhythm with our internal light clock which goes with nature. Getting outside and having light from the sun in the morning and turning lights off when the sun goes down or around the same time keeps the internal clock of our body in sync.

The color of your bedroom can also impacts the amount of sleep you get every night, some colors make you sleep less hours while other colors help you sleep more.

Blue light is also a problem lowering the production of melatonin, the use of electronics like computers, lap tops, cell phones are increasing the use of blue light and we use them a lot throughout the day, some of us use them at night right before we go to bed and sometimes in bed, checking news and social media accounts is one of the worst habits that are causing a lot of health problems.

Two things you can do today to improve the quality of your sleep is first reduce the time you spend using electronics, turn them off around one hour before you go to sleep, you can start with 30 minutes, turn the lights off also you can use this 30 minutes to meditate relax and calm and to release tension from your body and muscles.

Second try to get light sun every morning, if you can do some physical activity outside do it and reduce the amount of light in the afternoon and night, getting light from the sun in the morning and reducing light from electronics and electric light bulbs at night helps your body sets its internal clock.

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.



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.



Why fitness matters


I´m trying to remember the day I decided to lose weight and get in shape, I was really excited but a couple of days after I started a program I didn´t feel like working out and for some reason I couldn´t control my cravings for sweets, junk and all unhealthy food. After many years being lazy and eating all kind of junk it was hard mentally to make different choices and in many cases I ended up eating the whole bag of chips, cookies or chocolate and skipping workouts.

I think this is something everyone who wants to get in shape deals with and it´s normal, the way you get through that hard time is what makes all the difference. Being mentally strong to break the pattern of old unhealthy habits and develop new ones is what´s all about. Once I found out what the truth was and I created a program based on that true information I convinced myself that my mind was playing tricks with me, it wanted me to fail but I won´t let it, from that point on everything changed.

Getting in shape and sustain it is about lifestyle, you need to develop healthy habits that make it easy for you to achieve any fitness goal in an effortless way.

As in everything in life taking the first step and getting momentum is the hardest step, it is not just one step, in fitness you may take that first step by eating healthy and working out but in this first days you realize how physically, mentally and emotionally though this is so you give up.

You need to take that first step and continue, keep doing it until you get momentum, once you got that momentum going then don´t stop. Most of us begin our fitness journey to get in shape and lose weight but this is only the beginning and the reason to get involved in fitness but the goal must be to make it part of your life.

If you are following the right program you´ll get results every week and those results keep you motivated, once you get to your desired goal you have several options, you may want to sustain those results, staying in shape is not that hard once you develop the right habits, you may want to go one step further and get leaner or you may want to gain some muscle mass.

Depending on what you decide to do not next is how you´ll need to adjust your new healthy habits, specially your nutrition and training to fit that new goal and since it´s now part of your life it´s easier to follow through.

Most of us wait for New Year’s Resolution to beginning our fitness journey, I think there´s something about New Years that make us want to start the right way but you we can start this journey any day. Actually there´s no reason to wait until New Year, it´s February 2019 but it can be April, July or any other month and you can set your goal for Christmas, Instead of waiting for New Year start today and set your target for Christmas or Thanksgiving, your goal is to be in the best shape of your life for Thanksgiving.

Keep something in mind, the first weeks it´s going to be difficult, you´re going to be making different decisions and you´re mind will try to take you back by bringing all kind of negative thoughts and excuses, when this happen don´t contemplate those thoughts just get up and do what you need to do. The only way to develop new habits is by doing them over and over and over again so don´t think twice, if you need to get up earlier to work out don´t let your mind take control of you, instead take control of your mind by getting up and exercising.

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.