I think we can all admit to being in a slump at some point. Things just don’t seem to be going right and we seemingly can’t catch a break. The same thing can happen in our fitness routine as well.

We don’t sleep well, so because we are tired we skip a workout. Once we’ve skipped that workout, we can let our nutrition slip, so we have a quick meal that might not be the best for us. So we go to bed hoping to have more energy in the morning, but we still don’t sleep well.

This cycle continues to go on and on, day after day, and creates bigger issues with our metabolism, energy levels and waistline.

So how can we fix it? Well before we go into that we should break down these issues just a little bit further, and the answers will come to light pretty quickly

Lets start with the workouts. When we workout, our body naturally produces more energy by increasing blood flow, oxygen consumption and freeing up more sugars for the body to use. Not only that, but our bodies produce endorphins, serotonin and dopamine to make us feel great (this is the “runners high”) and be happier. When we consistently workout and drop our body fat percentage, our body is more incline to utilize the energy we get from our food on a daily basis. So when we aren’t exercising consistently our energy levels lower, our hormonal production lowers, and our fitness levels drop (which makes exercising even harder, and less enjoyable). When we are more physically active, we have a tendency to be more conscious with what we are eating as well.

Which brings me to the next point in the nutrition side of things. Nutrition is almost everything when it comes to seeing composition changes, having more energy, and feeling better overall. When we are eating nutrient dense foods our bodies have a better supply of nutrients to run the body at a high, efficient level. A well-balanced nutrition approach will keep the cells of the body energized, and fueled at a high level. The problem is when we opt for low nutrient, high calorie foods, which is common for quick, easy, and on the go meals (such as fast foods) that are highly processed. While we are technically getting calories, we aren’t getting the proper micro-nutrients needed to keep our body feeling energized. This can make us sluggish, fatigued and lazier. When we feel lazy, we tend to make poor food decisions, grabbing things that are, as mentioned before, low quality. This not only affects the physical activity we do (if we have enough energy to do it) but can mess with our sleep cycle.

When we are eating poor foods and not exercising regularly, our sleep quality can suffer. As mentioned before, physical activity helps produce serotonin, which helps us get a deeper sleep. High quality food can assist this, and other hormonal production, and helps with muscular repair while we sleep. So when we aren’t taking care of ourselves, our sleep really suffers. Sleep, which is already incredibly underrated (and probably a whole blog onto itself), is responsible for our energy levels, and there is absolutely no way we can replace a good-nights sleep. Coffee, Energy Drinks and Caffeine will never replace a good night’s sleep for energy so if we aren’t sleeping well our energy levels suffer. Guess what? If we don’t have a lot of energy, we aren’t going to want to exercise (or wont be able to at a high level) and we will start making poor food choices… starting to notice a trend? Well, if this trend continues it’s pretty easy to see how someone will gain weight, which can lead to even worse sleep habits due to sleep apnea.

So if we aren’t exercising or eating well, our sleep suffers. When our sleep suffers, we are more likely to make poor food choices. When we make poor food choices our energy levels drop. When we have no energy, we aren’t going to be able to effectively exercise. When we don’t exercise we don’t sleep as well… and the cycle continues over and over again.

How do we stop this? How do we break out of this cycle?

Well, it’s much easier said than done, but we have to force ourselves out of the cycle, one step at a time. To break out of this negative feedback loop, we need to take a step out of it. This is where hiring a trainer, or getting a great support system behind you, is extremely beneficial. We need that accountability, we need that support, and we need that help to start building a better pattern.

This doesn’t mean doing everything all at once, in fact, trying to do everything all at once can lead to a relapse into the negative feedback loop very quickly. If we try to do everything all at once, it can become overwhelming, frustrating and difficult to build habits. We call this the “All or nothing” approach, in which we are either doing everything well, or we are doing nothing. We need to avoid doing nothing, obviously, so we want to take things step by step so even when we fall off with the eating side of things, we can still be in the habit of exercising and sleeping well.

Start with the easy stuff first, what ever that may be. We can start by going for a walk 3x per week. We can start by making sure we are having a healthy snack between lunch and dinner. We can start by drinking just a little more water. There are many ways we can get started but we need to start establishing habits that we can sustain long term. There is nothing wrong with starting simple, because once we begin to do positive activities; we will start going through a positive feedback loop.

Once we start to exercise a bit, we start to be more mindful of the food we eat (wouldn’t wanna waste the workout, right?)

So we make better food choices. When we are eating better and exercising, our energy level and mood increase (hormones, baby!)

Better energy levels make us even more active, which makes us eat even better, which helps us sleep better, and you’ll start noticing the positive feedback loop begin. The positive feedback loop won’t just affect physical activity, nutrition and sleep, but it will help with mood, with productivity, with motivation levels, and with a positive/productive mindset.

Life feels better when we are in the positive cycle. It’s hard to break the negative feedback loop, it really is. It’s very easy to say we are getting started; it’s much harder to do though. Have great support, stay motivated, and start slow. The rest will start to fall into place! 

 Rich Hill

CSEP – Certified Personal Trainer

RK Athleticshttps://linktr.ee/RK_Athletics

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