The formula seems simple; If I spend more time working in the gym, I should get better results.
While that’s not untrue, it’s also only a portion of the equation because there are prerequisites.
The work done in the gym or exercising, in general, doesn’t tell the whole story because the gym isn’t where your body changes.
It doesn’t get stronger, leaner, faster, etc., in the gym.
The work done in the gym is the signal.
It’s the catalyst that starts the growth, but that’s it. It’s just the catalyst.
The real growth happens in the hours and days after the workout. The time period that leads to the greatest changes in your body is actually when you’re asleep.
Sleep is when your body does most of its housekeeping. It’s when most of your growth hormone is released, which is the “secret ingredient” for recovery.
You can think about it similarly to running on ice.
You can move your feet and legs faster than any human on the planet, but you won’t go anywhere if you don’t have any friction between your feet and the ice.
You’ll slip and slide without making any progress. In fact, you’ll quickly tire yourself out, and if you’re not careful, you’ll end up sprawled on your back on the ice.
When you get enough sleep, it’s like adding spikes to the bottom of your shoes, and with spikes, it doesn’t matter how slick the ice is because you have enough friction to translate all the power into forward motion.
Sleep is the foundation of recovery, and it’s what makes the hard work you do in the gym “stick.”
What should you do about it?
It’s one thing to say, “Sleep is important.” It’s another thing entirely to alter your mindset and lifestyle to align with that fact.
The simplest first step is to ask yourself where you’ve been compromising sleep for other things and what boundaries need to be in place to keep yourself from making those compromises.
Do you opt for entertainment over sleep by doom scrolling, playing video games, binging Netflix, or diving down internet rabbit holes?
If that sounds like you, what boundaries need to be established to keep that from happening? An excellent place to start would be a consistent sleep schedule and evening screentime rules, like “no screens 1 hour before bedtime and being in bed by 10:30 with no exceptions.
If you set the boundary, you only have to decide once instead of re-hashing it every night when it’s time to turn in.
Take 10 minutes right now and do this for yourself.
Determine where you’ve been compromising sleep for other things
Set boundaries for yourself to prevent you from continuing to make those compromises
It may be the most valuable 10 minutes you spend on your health this quarter.