The Power of Sleep, Goals & Planning: A Personal Trainer’s Expert Advice
⚡️ EXPERT FEATURE! Health advice you can trust: straight from health and fitness professionals.⚡️
Today we’re excited to feature Chris Howard as our health and fitness expert for December! Chris is a certified personal trainer with a Master’s degree in Exercise Science. He has over 20 years of experience in personal training and specializes in creating individualized solutions for his clients.
Chris also shares his knowledge on Instagram through regular entertaining, instructional and motivational videos. Check out his page to find the inspiration you need to keep pushing towards your health and fitness goals!
Follow Chris on Instagram HERE: @candh510
We had the privilege of talking with Chris a few weeks ago about how to get and stay fit, especially during the holiday season. He spoke about the importance of sleep, realistic goals and proper planning in your weight loss journey. Now we’re excited to share his enlightening advice with all of you!
What is the most significant change that that someone can make to start getting healthier TODAY?
“The one change you can make that will have the largest benefit on your life in terms of weight loss, gaining muscle, fighting off diseases and things like that is: improve your sleep patterns.
[For many of us] that could be sleep quality, which a lot of people struggle with if they’re up and down during the night. You know most toss and turn… You might go to bed at 10PM and get up at 6AM, but your quality of sleep is very low and you never achieve that deep sleep.
Sleep impacts your blood sugar levels also. When your sleep is less than optimal you have higher stress hormone levels, you have more cravings for foods that you shouldn’t have. [Plus] you’re less likely to use carbohydrates in the right way to help you fuel your exercise and keep your stress under control, [so] your ability to stay on a diet is also affected.
Additionally, if you have less energy you would be less likely to work out. Or during your workouts you’ll be less likely to train hard because your perception of pain is higher.
How can you stay motivated early on when it’s hard to see any positive changes in your overall health?
“I like to change the view of how people are looking at what’s successful because sometimes it’s a little convoluted.
When I say that it’s – for example – people might only look at weight when, if they also need to gain muscle, the scale is not going to tell the whole story. With a lot of women, they want bigger, rounder glutes, [but] with the body there’s a lot of individual factors that come to play with getting the body of your favorite celebrity.
I always say that success is the greatest motivator so you have to set yourself up in ways that you can see that you’re winning, right? So you got the circumference measurements, you have the scale, body fat, strength workout to workout or reps.”
How do you stay healthy during special holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas?
“I always like to be proactive and not reactive…
For most people avoiding the holidays is not reality, so I tend to deal in reality. If you’re going to eat everything under the sun on Thanksgiving, me saying “don’t do it” – it’s not going to work ‘cus you’re not trying to hear me, right? Right. Alright, so I realize that and… I actually work around those days in my program. [For example], you know Christmas is coming and you know that you’re going to have the grand Christmas meal with the family, then you aim to make the Christmas day the day that you take those extra calories.
Now another strategy that could be used – this may not be advised or be likely to be able to be used: you can drop your calories a little leading up into those holidays. Think of it, if it’s Thanksgiving, well I’m gonna take away 300 calories. Maybe if you have room, you’re gonna take away 75g of carb in the three days leading up to it… You can use that as a way of super-compensation. Then you’ll take-in extra calories [on the holiday] and your body is sayin’ “oh my gosh, what the heck is this?”. It’ll start burning calories at an extra rate, which may help your cause out in terms of weight loss or things like that. You’ve also had less calories in the days leading up, which might help you get that weight loss…
So you can either:
✅ Eat a little less in the 3-5 days leading up to it,
✅ Re-arrange whatever cheats you’re supposed to have so they hurt you less, or
✅ Try to exercise more.
I normally do limited amounts of HIIT work or cardio work. So I can make sure I have a HIIT session before that meal. If I had less calories and things like that, you know, at that time – maybe depleted more glycogen because I had less carbs. That super-compensation effect… If you’re performing more work, you know you burn more calories. So that might be another strategy.
You have to be honest with yourself and employ the strategy that’s easiest for you to use.”
Thanks again to Chris Howard, CPT, CSCS, MA for taking the time to share his awesome strategies for weight loss and fitness! Remember to follow him on Instagram (@candh510) for lots more fitness motivation, workouts and gym hacks – straight from the source!
Interested in hiring Chris as an online health coach? Check out his website here: Body Nova Fitness Coaching
Share your questions and thoughts with us in the comments section below!