Must. Get. Sleep.

Happy almost-Friday! One more day until it’s another 3-day weekend for me, and this week can’t be dragging long enough.

I had a good time reading through your favorite childhood books in response to my last post. I had completely forgotten about some of those, so it was a nice trip down Nostalgia Lane :)

Yesterday was freezing cold. During fall, winter, and spring in Colorado, it’s hard to get used to a temperature because it’s ALWAYS changing. It had been in the high 50′s-60′s for about a week, and then a snow storm came pouring in. I bundled up as best I could and willed myself to get accustomed to the coldness.

Thankfully, it stopped snowing in the afternoon, and temps should be returning to the 50′s for the weekend (yayyy). Due to the cold though, I didn’t feel like going outside at all yesterday once I got home. So, I stayed at home and did an hour of Zumba on my Wii, followed by a solid 15 minutes of stretching.

After eating dinner, helping my roommate clean up the kitchen, and taking a long (very hot) shower, I curled into bed with a book to call it an early night. For good reason, too: I’ve been extremely sleep-deprived since Saturday night.

Maybe I’m subconsciously really stressed about work, but I’ve been having a hard time sleeping since the weekend. I either can’t stay asleep for more than an hour or two at a time, or I just lay in bed until well past midnight even if I get to bed on time. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal if  I didn’t have to wake up at 5:30am to get to work on time. I think I’ve been averaging 5 hours of sleep a night. I have no trouble falling asleep in my car during my lunch breaks to keep myself from passing out on my desk though.

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I think the issue is that I have a more difficult time falling asleep when I’m very tired. Even though I’m so exhausted, I just lay in bed and can’t sleep. The next night is usually more difficult because my sleepiness is compounded by my continued lack of sleep from the nights before, and I start getting anxious at bedtime wondering if I’ll be able to sleep that night.

So, where am I going with this? In addition to being necessary for everyday functionality, sleep is extremely vital for obtaining and maintaining your fitness and health goals.

Don’t believe me? Check out this article from the Huffington Post (I know it’s not a health site, but there are tons of studies out there. I was just too lazy to search for a different one.) According to the article, sleep affects hormones tied to appetite. People who slept less than seven to eight hours a night often experienced weight gain, and those who slept less than that amount weighed more than those who slept a greater amount.

This is the side effect I’ve been experiencing the most. I’m not in maintenance mode yet, so I still weigh myself about three times a week. Since Saturday, I’ve gained a whopping six lbs. I’m only 5’3″, so that’s a decent chunk of change for weight gain. I’ve been eating mindlessly and in much larger portions than I usually do. I also have been drinking less water, inhaling way more coffee, and consuming more sweet treats (I normally don’t have a big sweet tooth).

In addition to the weight gain, my lack of sleep has left me feeling sluggish during workouts and has greatly increased my recovery time between them.  I attribute this to the fact that your body rebuilds from tough workouts while you rest, sleep in particular. The same article states that our growth hormones responsible for tissue repair, body fat reduction, and healthy immune function are released during sleep. With less and less sleep, my body isn’t being given the time to restore worked muscles, replenish energy stores, and all of that other good stuff that I need to hit an intense workout. (Also probably why I got that head cold.)

Being that this blog documents my trials and errors during my time of weight loss, hopefully this information can be helpful to some of you out there on the same journey as me. It doesn’t matter where in your journey you are, make sure you get a good night’s rest. Healthy eating and exercise will be easier to do, and you’ll feel more alert as well. I finally got 8 full hours of sleep last night, and what a difference! I still have some sleep catch-up to do, but I’m already feeling better, and the lingering aches from my past workouts are already dulled down.

Anyway, my lunch time is up, and I’ve gotta tackle a lot of issues before heading home for a 6 mile speed workout and (maybe) a BodyPump class if I’m up for it. I hope that the short remainder of your week is a good one!

Question of the Day: How many hours of sleep do you need to feel energized and prepared for the day? Has the lack thereof ever interfered with your weight loss or fitness goals and how so? I need between 7.5-9 hours to feel good. Yeah, I’m a bear.

A Little Sneak

Hey all. It’s a snowy evening here in Denver with expected accumulations between 5-8 inches. Unfortunately, we won’t be having a white Christmas this year. It’s supposed to climb into the mid-40s for the next week starting Friday…yay Colorado!

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a major blizzard. It was actually almost exactly 6 years ago during my sophomore year of college. I had just finished my last final of the semester. There was no snow when I got to my exam, but when I walked out, it looked like I had stepped into a giant Boulder snow globe. Over the course of the next 36 hours, it snowed between 3-5 feet of snow. All of the malls closed down for 3 of the biggest shopping days of the year because it was that bad. The National Guard had to be called in because hundreds of cars were trapped on the highway, and emergency shelters were created in the mall food courts. Crazy, huh? Oh, my friends and I also found an igloo at my apartments that could easily fit 4 of us in it. True story.

Well, that’s not in the forecast for tonight, so no free day off of work for me :( lol.

I don’t know about you guys, but it feels weird to be done with my holiday shopping. I’m normally stopping by Walgreens on Christmas day in hopes of finding something to finish up my gift list on my way over to someone’s house. I keep getting the urge to go shopping for things that I don’t need just because I’m already done. The only thing keeping me away are the crowds of crazed holiday shoppers frantically searching for last-minute deals. No thanks.

Now on to the workout front…

I’m ridiculously sore from yesterday’s TRX workout. I’m aching in places I haven’t felt in a really long time, and it burns so good. I do feel like a bit of a cripple, but that’s better than feeling like a bit of a couch potato. We’ll see if I start getting cabin fever and decide to go to my apartment gym to finish the miles I didn’t get to complete yesterday (only 2 more!). Big maybe on that one.

My Portland RnR Half Marathon group of friends and I have been debating on a race to do prior to the Portland RnR at the end of May. The options were the Colorado Half Marathon, the Boulder Spring 10 Miler, or the Cherry Creek Sneak 10 Miler. My hands-down pick was the Colorado Half because it’s supposed to be an absolutely beautiful course, and it’s at a complete gradual decline; however, it was also the priciest at $95. The Boulder race sounds fun, but it’s also a semi-hilly course ($45). The Sneak is hosting a 10 mile run for the first time, so it’s hard to say how well-run it is, but it was also only $35 and close to where I live.

If you paid attention to the title of this post, you’ll know that we decided to go with the Cherry Creek Sneak.

It’s supposed to be a really fun race, and it was dirt cheap to sign up. Plus, you get free beer afterwards. I still really want to do the Colorado Half, but it’ll go on my must-do for 2013 list. Yep, it’s not even 2012 yet, and I’ve got a 2013 list going on.

Tomorrow is my last day of work before a 4-day weekend, so I cannot wait for tomorrow to end :) I hope that you’re staying warm wherever you are.

Question of the Day: How are you staying active this week before the big holiday weekend?

Laugh Your Heart Out

Happy Friday Everyone! It was a FREEZING day in Colorado yesterday. I didn’t get home from work-related events until around 10:30pm, and it was around 12F at that time…brrr.

It hasn’t snowed for what seems like a month, and it’s been in the high 50s and low 60s. I guess we’ve been spoiled haha.

At work, my team just worked until noon and then headed down to the Denver Tech Center for a work kick-off followed by dinner and a comedy show at Comedy Works. Because I didn’t get home until late, I didn’t get to work out at all today, but I should be able to make up for it tomorrow and this weekend.

Dinner was an Italian buffet, but it wasn’t all that great, so I stuck to grilled veggies and some pasta with meatballs.

The best drink of the night was PAMA pomegranate liqueur with Sprite…yummmmm. I tried to limit my intake since there was an open bar all throughout dinner and then drink tickets for the actual show after.

The headliner for tonight was Kyle Cease. I’ve never heard of him, but he’s had cameo appearances on several comedy films.

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The last comedy show I saw was Russell Peters about 4 years ago, but this show was just as good. Honestly, part of the time we had no idea what he was talking about because it was just so random and off the top, but it seemed perfectly appropriate to laugh :P I was super tired, but it was definitely worth the long night.

It’s going to be a sleepy day since I had to meet coworkers at 6am to carpool down to DTC to catch breakfast for the final day of our kick-off, but at least it’s Friday!!

Question of the Day: What are your plans for the weekend?