SNOOZE YOUR WAY TO A LEANER YOU

SNOOZE YOUR WAY TO A
LEANER YOU
December 7, 2015
by ASP Admin

Together with food, water, oxygen and protection from the elements sleep is one of the basic needs necessary for our survival. It’s a wonder then why something so fundamental has become one of the most under-prioritised aspects of our lives. We sacrifice sleep for our work, TV, phones, social media, computer games and much more, all without realising that getting adequate sleep each night is one of the keys to optimal body composition and having a leaner physique. It is a common-known fact that sleep is necessary for recovery, but “recovery” involves so much more than just recharging your batteries for the next day. Recovery also involves the regulation of specific hormones that promote improved body fat levels, reduction in stress levels, improvements in muscle mass and overall physical and psychogenic repair. Without adequate sleep people will tend to store more fat and find it harder to put on muscle.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE WAYS SLEEP CAN HELP YOU ACHIEVE THE BODY YOU’RE AFTER:

SLEEP IMPROVES GROWTH HORMONE AND INSULIN-LIKE GROWTH FACTOR 1 PRODUCTION

Growth hormone (GH) is one of the most significant hormones in regulating anabolism in the body; it contributes to cell repair, cell reproduction and overall growth. Growth hormone is also a precursor to the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the liver which promotes muscle growth and cognitive function. From a fat loss perspective optimising GH production has been found lower body fat.

The significance of sleep in relation to GH is that the majority of GH is released by the pituitary as you sleep. Without adequate sleep GH production is supressed which, in turn, results in supressed production of IGF-1. Studies have found that individuals who consistently suppress GH production by not prioritising sleep generally have much lower muscle mass and higher body fat. Supressing GH production also translates to wasted efforts at the gym. Strenuous physical activity at the gym results in micro damage to muscles which must be repair adequately to prevent continual breakdown.

SLEEP LOWERS CORTISOL LEVELS AND INFLAMMATION

Cortisol is the primary stress hormone which, in excess amounts can have drastic negative effects on body composition. Individuals who place their bodies under chronic stress (whether it’s physical stress or emotional stress) will tend to store more fat, especially around the front of the tummy. This is an especially big problem in the corporate world where the stress of deadlines and productivity take over health and well-being.

One way to elevate cortisol levels (something you don’t want) is to sleep less. Studies have found that individuals who have sleep problems or average 5 hours or less of sleep store more body fat and also find it harder to lose body fat.

From the perspective of inflammation poor sleep increases inflammation in the body which not only increases physical stress—thus ramping up cortisol even more and increasing fat storage—but is also a major contributor to many diseases and overall poor health. In addition to this inflammation supresses recovery from training which can lead to decreased strength, poor muscle repair and impeded fat loss efforts.

SLEEP HELPS LOWER CRAVINGS FOR CARBS AND REFINED SUGAR

Increased cortisol from a poor night’s sleep can have an effect on food consumption the day after. The reason for this is because when cortisol increases another hormone, insulin, tends to make its way in the picture. Insulin is responsible for storing nutrients, but is also commonly called “the fat storing hormone” since constantly elevated insulin levels contribute to fat storage. Cortisol and insulin are antagonistic hormones; when one goes up, the other goes down.

In times of stress (or elevated cortisol levels) one way to lower cortisol is to increase insulin, and one simple way of doing this is to eat refined carbs. This is one major reason why people tend to choose refined carbs or lollies when they stress eat. It’s never a celery stick with some nut butter.

If you want to be able to make better food choices throughout the day and prevent unwanted carb cravings then managing stress levels by improving sleep is a great way to do so.

All-in-all, sleep is an incredibly crucial factor in getting the physique you’re after. Keep in mind that the points above are only a few of the benefits of sleep in relation to fat loss and hypertrophy. The negative effects of under-prioritising sleep extend beyond the above points. Under-sleeping can lead to lowered testosterone levels, overall increased appetite, poor cardiovascular health, poor cognitive function, insulin resistance and much more.

It’s important to note that getting enough sleep means getting enough sleep each night. Most people are in the habit of neglecting sleep during the week and then “catching up” over the weekend. This up and down in sleep patterns is enough to disrupt circadian rhythms which results in diminished benefits of sleep, and can even increase physical stress. If possible it is ideal to maintain a similar sleeping pattern even on the weekends.

Stay tuned for Part 2 for tips on how to get a better night’s sleep! In the meantime, sleep tight!

The Biggest Loser ? – Our Biggest Inspiration!

“THE BIGGEST LOSER”? –
OUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION!
December 16, 2013
by ASP Admin

If you’ve seen any of our Success Stories, you might have thought “that’s impossible!” or “ I don’t believe it”. With so many gimmicks in the fitness industry, it’s hard to believe that transformations of such calibre are possible, let alone natural!

The truth is, every single ASP transformation is genuine.

More importantly though, they are a personal testament to the hard work, dedication, sweat, lifestyle inconveniences and even tears shed by each ASP client. Each person’s story is different and unique. Some struggle more than others, falling back into old habits along the way. Others lose sight of their goals, and a few have given up altogether.

Then there are those who continue on, picking themselves up after each fall, choosing to move forward. These clients of ours haven’t completed a 12 week transformation, haven’t followed every piece of advice given, may have lost focus, cheated and many a times been on the verge of leaving. Yet their determination, perseverance and constant desire to change serve to remind us every day exactly why we do what we do.

One such client is someone we call the ‘silent warrior’, and this is his inspirational story:

At 175 kilos, I was the heaviest I had ever been. It wasn’t always like that. I was an active and popular kid, but things started to change growing up. Throughout my high school years, I became a victim of social abuse, incessant bullying and was marginalised from my peers. Feeling lonely, unloved and hating the world – myself included, I began indulging in food as my sole comfort.

This, as I was soon to realise, was to become a common trend in the years ahead. By the end of high school, I had gained 75 kilos and weighted in at whooping 115 kilos! With poor grades but the prospect of a shot at real life, I decided to join the workforce instead, looking for a trade apprenticeship. Again, I was overlooked because of my weight, and so with no further option in mind, I turned to labouring. During this time, I had tried to join a gym in an attempt to get fitter, but would always get intimidated by the huge bodybuilder types who were lifting insane amounts of weights. Moreover, I couldn’t help feeling that whenever I was exercising, people would stare and comment about how fat I was.

My labouring job did not last for long, and I quickly moved into the security industry, believing that this time my size and weight would be an advantage. How wrong I was! The bullying did not stop there as I hoped, with colleagues and patrons still calling me fat, and on one occasion, even had someone grab my belly fat in an attempt to insult me. Such ridicule continued year after year.

So here I was, 4 years later, standing at my heaviest – morbidly obese, unhealthy, unfit and extremely unhappy. One thing that became clear throughout this time was that I did not want to live like that anymore. I was huge fan of mixed martial arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), and decided that I wanted to become a fighter, or at least get fit doing so. Not knowing where to start, I enlisted in an MMA gym and followed a strict bodybuilding style diet introducing 1-2 cheat meals through the week. For 3 whole months, I trained twice a day, but had not lost any weight whatsoever. I could not understand this and felt perhaps I could do with some expert advice. After seeing the amazing transformation of a friend David Crow, with Australian Strength Performance, I was convinced that these guys had the knowledge to help me out. The following day, I called Ben Siong – the Founder of ASP – to tell him my story, and that was the beginning of my new life.

I had never felt more welcomed anywhere than with ASP. On commencing, Ben introduced a personalised diet plan which was completely different from the plan I was on, put me on a training protocol under ASP Coach Priscilla, and implemented some big lifestyle changes.

The effectiveness of the program was immediate. I was getting lighter, fitter, stronger and felt on top of the world. But my journey wasn’t like that all the time. After two months, I gradually began slipping back into my old habits and self-sabotaging mindset, and found myself cheating with food. Each time it happened, I justified my actions and then felt compelled to lie, hoping Ben would not know. However, my weekly BioSignature sessions would inadvertently give it away.

Being the awesome mentor he was, Ben would never blame me, but encourage and coach me through my mis-actions, pushing me further whenever I hit a rough patch in my weight loss journey. Each time, we would refocus on my goals and try again. It’s incredible to experience such a level of support especially when you never had any going through your whole life.

With the help of Team ASP, I competed in my first competition of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in November 2012. I beat one opponent and faired very well against two others. Unfortunately, during this time my best friend suffered a personal loss in his family and this affected me deeply. Over the next few months I once again found myself in the slums, facing an uphill battle to maintain my motivation and training.

Then it happened one day during one of his consult, that Ben suggested I work to become a personal trainer. Not just any trainer, but an ASP coach whom he will take under his wing and develop. I could not believe it! Here was a suggestion that I have never thought possible – a morbidly obese, self hating, depressed person aspiring to become an ASP coach? It took a while to sink in, but I now see what Ben sees – that I have the potential to inspire others, to tell my story and help people who have experienced the same things I have.

Having lost 28 kilos so far (24 kilos in fat!), with ASP, I’m still far from my goal weight. I am also little apprehensive of the thought of being a trainer, but I’m choosing to take the challenge face on. My name is George Menelaou, I am proud of who I am, and I have a story to share, a story about my continuing journey – a story about how determination and self belief can make anything possible!”

As George mentions we will be keeping a close eye on his progress over the coming weeks & months, and we’ll be posting updates for you too! We’ll discuss details of his exercise regimen, how he is managing to lose all his weight healthily, as well as the challenges he faces and overcomes.

Want to send your well wishes to George? We’ll be promoting his story on our Facebook page shortly after this post, so please share, like or leave a comment