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Old 01-29-2010, 06:44 PM   #1
Jane Michel
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Default Work, sleep... suggestions with training?

The last time I was in an excellent shape (and it was my most excellent shape) - lean, felt good, 6-pack outline - was when I was doing weights and a short metcon 1.5 hours in the morning and sometimes a destress walk or slow row for 1 hour in the evening. I was eating lots of meat, with veggies or nuts thrown in once in a while.

Work hours are officially 8.30am to 6pm, but I arrive usually between 8.30pm and 9pm and leave between 7pm and 9pm. Schedule is something like this:

7am Wake up, cup of coffee
7.30-8am Walk, row, 5-10 minutes HIIT
8am-8.10am Some weight exercises
8.10am Shower, prepare for work
8.30am Leave for work
Between 8.50am and 9am Arrive at work
.
.
12.30-1.30pm Official lunch hour but I usually just have some green tea, hot water, or once in a while coffee while working. No appetite from just sitting down.
.
.
Between 7.30pm... 9pm Leave work, arrive home, eat dinner, shower
10.30pm Try to sleep

I've been getting fatter and feeling quite stressed out every night. I think I function best with 8-10 hours of sleep a night, and it takes me about 1/2 hour to fall asleep. I would really like to get back into exercising for about 1.5 hours every morning and doing a destress every evening. But I have no idea how to fit it in and whether it would help reduce cortisol or just make things worse.

Help
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:35 AM   #2
Brian Stone
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A few things on this that jumped out at me. Taking 1/2 hour to fall asleep is familiar territory for me for most of my life. That's 30 mins of a busy day that you're basically throwing away when it comes down to it. The following 2 things have been huge for me to fall asleep quickly:
1) Vitamin D3 supplementation every day (5,000-10,000 IU)
2) 500 mg Magnesium 30 mins before bed. Make sure not to take w/ anything that has calcium.
(Hat tip to Dr. G on #2 especially)

It looks like the mornings are the part of the day you're personally most suited to working out, so I'd start working on getting up a little earlier. Incidentally, this should also help you with getting to sleep sooner at night. Your schedule looks pretty full, so I'd say you're going to have to make a choice between all 8-10 hours a night in bed and some of that time spent working out. I can't say what the best balance for this is, as everyone's different, but unless you can con some extra time out of the office every day, this is the only area where it looks like you have some wiggle room.

In my view, especially with your lifestyle as it is now, you're probably doing yourself a disservice not eating lunch, unless you have a planned IF thing going on. Being an office hound myself and knowing how some days/weeks can go, I find that skipping meals frequently tends to contribute to my levels of stress, which bleeds into everything else. Your mileage may vary here, but at least you might try adding in some meat/veg/nuts for lunch for a while and see how other things are impacted.

Hope some of that helps.
-Brian
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:58 AM   #3
Steven Low
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What supplements are you on? I'm pretty sure you're on the D and fish oil already. What else?

What are you eating? Mostly Paleo? What are you having before sleep?
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:18 AM   #4
Mike ODonnell
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IF + long and Stress packed day = weight gain (esp stubborn fat areas)

You could cut back on the IF and just go the warrior diet way of small eating during the day and bigger meal at night (not overdoing on the calories of course). Might also want to try sipping BCAAs in water, may help curb cortisol while doing IF and during stressful times.

Seeing how the brain is a glucose hog, it's demands for energy during a long workday especially when stressed tax the whole body.

Of course sleep plays into that whole stress-recovery cycle of hormones as well.
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:28 PM   #5
Jane Michel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Stone View Post
A few things on this that jumped out at me. Taking 1/2 hour to fall asleep is familiar territory for me for most of my life. That's 30 mins of a busy day that you're basically throwing away when it comes down to it. The following 2 things have been huge for me to fall asleep quickly:
1) Vitamin D3 supplementation every day (5,000-10,000 IU)
2) 500 mg Magnesium 30 mins before bed. Make sure not to take w/ anything that has calcium.
(Hat tip to Dr. G on #2 especially)

It looks like the mornings are the part of the day you're personally most suited to working out, so I'd start working on getting up a little earlier. Incidentally, this should also help you with getting to sleep sooner at night. Your schedule looks pretty full, so I'd say you're going to have to make a choice between all 8-10 hours a night in bed and some of that time spent working out. I can't say what the best balance for this is, as everyone's different, but unless you can con some extra time out of the office every day, this is the only area where it looks like you have some wiggle room.

In my view, especially with your lifestyle as it is now, you're probably doing yourself a disservice not eating lunch, unless you have a planned IF thing going on. Being an office hound myself and knowing how some days/weeks can go, I find that skipping meals frequently tends to contribute to my levels of stress, which bleeds into everything else. Your mileage may vary here, but at least you might try adding in some meat/veg/nuts for lunch for a while and see how other things are impacted.

Hope some of that helps.
-Brian
Thanks for your suggestions Brian. Exactly! It's like 30 minutes of a busy day wasted just trying to fall asleep... annoying.

Yep already on the Vit D and magnesium, although I have to take the magnesium earlier than right before bed because it seems to disturb my sleep. I have thought of sleeping earlier and waking up earlier and have tried having the lights off at 9.30pm but have problems falling asleep so early. Have had sleep problems from adolescence and hoped that Natural Calm would be the answer but it didn't work.

Was thinking of doing some stairclimbing during lunch to get some activity in, get the blood flowing, perhaps relieve some stress. Maybe about 30 minutes in the office building, and then have a light meal after of maybe some eggs or fish broth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
What supplements are you on? I'm pretty sure you're on the D and fish oil already. What else?

What are you eating? Mostly Paleo? What are you having before sleep?
Yep Vit D 4000-8000 IU a day, and none if I go swimming.
Fish oil 4.1g EPA/DHA a day.
A Vit C tab 500mg sometimes.
Kelp 1000mg.
Alternate between zinc + B6 magnesium (5.7mg zinc; 25mg vit b6; 30mg magnesium) and 2 massively heaped tsp Natural Calm

I eat mom's cooking - meat, eggs, veg. She cooks with grapeseed oil and rice bran oil and with asian spices and sauces and stuff. Convenient but I should probably do my own cooking huh lol.

Before I sleep I have my day's worth of food and throw in all the supps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike ODonnell View Post
IF + long and Stress packed day = weight gain (esp stubborn fat areas)

You could cut back on the IF and just go the warrior diet way of small eating during the day and bigger meal at night (not overdoing on the calories of course). Might also want to try sipping BCAAs in water, may help curb cortisol while doing IF and during stressful times.

Seeing how the brain is a glucose hog, it's demands for energy during a long workday especially when stressed tax the whole body.

Of course sleep plays into that whole stress-recovery cycle of hormones as well.
Yeah I've been thinking about cutting back on the IF and wanted some confirmation from more knowledgeable people. It just makes me irritated lol becase I found out after some experimenting last year that steady state cardio after about an 18 hour fast hit my abdominal fat well, but this schedule doesn't allow me to do it.

Didn't know that about BCAAs MOD, thanks for the suggestion. I just thought it's usually used for recovery. What brand/kind/dosage should I get?
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:51 AM   #6
Steven Low
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May be a good idea to throw all of the supps earlier in the day as well.

Also, I agree with what MOD said. That would be the first thing I'd get rid of.
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:21 AM   #7
Allen Yeh
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Looking at your schedule just from a training perspective as everyone else has commented on the eating stuff already.

I'd hit the training early morning and leave the walking for your lunch hour? When I was doing the NEPA walks regularly I was usually hitting the gym before or after work and hitting the asphalt during lunch.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:16 AM   #8
Mike ODonnell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alicia Zhuang View Post
Yeah I've been thinking about cutting back on the IF and wanted some confirmation from more knowledgeable people. It just makes me irritated lol becase I found out after some experimenting last year that steady state cardio after about an 18 hour fast hit my abdominal fat well, but this schedule doesn't allow me to do it.

Didn't know that about BCAAs MOD, thanks for the suggestion. I just thought it's usually used for recovery. What brand/kind/dosage should I get?
IF is great...but is not really meant for high stress living either sadly. Just how all the hormones play out. Women respond worse too when things go sour as your bodies are more wired for survival (the whole making babies thing) so it will switch to fat storing quicker than men.

The longer the fasts (esp after the 18hr mark), the more FFAs become available. So it works great if you can time it like that. Maybe you just switch to 1-2 longer fasts a week to try and get that benefit, without causing more fat-stress gain in the process. It does make more sense to do the "lifestyle cardio"/walking/NEPA later into a fast when you have a higher availability of FFAs to use.

Keep in mind, cortisol lifestyle management is a HUGE component to success along with resistance training (to keep muscle) and some calorie deficit (to enable stored fat to be burned). It's like a 3 legged stool, if they make those....take away a leg and don't expect to stay up that long! Hence why people need to focus less on cardio to burn fat and more on their lifestyle (and it's effects on what is going on inside).

For BCAAs, I'd just try 10g in water sipped during the day. Top brands I have used in the past (as recommended by someone in the supplement industry who knows his sh*t) is Xtend and Chained Out (he also mentioned the chained out had some cortisol blocking agent as well....no idea on how true it is, but people seem to get good results with it). He converted me to using BCAAs more often and I have slowly converted him to eating less often (while still retaining muscle and getting lean).....win-win for both of us.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:08 PM   #9
Gittit Shwartz
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+1 on moving to more of a warrior diet pattern. Or even 3 squares. Just from my personal experience, regular fasting (even short fasts) only works for me during the summer (sunshine + not a care in the world). In stressful times I get run down fast on IF.

Anecdotally it seems women have a lot more trouble with pure IF unless everything else is 100% dialled in.

Good luck =)
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:46 PM   #10
Mike ODonnell
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Also may want to ditch coffee on IF days....switch to something less potent like tea.

Caffeine will raise cortisol...and without a feeding soon to help lower it down, it will do more harm than good.

Hence I keep my Americano (espresso) for right before a workout...to go hard in the gym then eat. I use tea on IF days to sip on otherwise.
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