Why sleep is so important for training progress, becoming more disciplined, and an outdoor bodyweight workout

Happy Monday,

If you want to make progress in your fitness journey, there’s no question that you need to be consistent with your training. But outside of your workouts, the number one thing you can do to speed up your progress is prioritize sleep.

Sleep is the main time our bodies repair and recover after tough workouts. It’s also when any new learning from the day is cemented into our brains.

It baffles me just how many people try every trick in the book to try and get better, fitter, stronger, faster… yet get poor (or just not enough) sleep.

Put simply, sleep isn’t something you can skip or “hack” your way to needing less. We all need to sleep.

Here are some sleep basics to keep in mind:

  • Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night. This means you need to be in bed for 8-9 since very few of us sleep the entire time we’re in bed.
  • Sleeping in a cool, dark room is best. Cooling mattress pads, blackout shades, and eye masks can all help result in better sleep, too.
  • Screens off after about 10pm. Screen time too late throws off your circadian rhythm and disrupts your sleep.
  • Don’t eat too close to bedtime. This can throw off your sleep. But don’t go to bed too hungry, either, or you may wake up famished in the middle of the night.

If your goal is to become a better athlete, artist, creator, entrepreneur, friend, or human being… sleep should be one of your top priorities.

What I’m reading —

4 Habits You Should Give Up to Be More Disciplined by Nick Wignall

Many people think you’re either born with discipline or not, but nothing could be further from the truth. Wignall, a clinical psychologist, describes how tactics like self-compassion, removing distractions, following our curiosities, and focusing on the task at hand, instead of our long-term goals can help us build discipline naturally. Some solid gems in this one.

What I’m listening to —

Travis Stevens: Judo, Olympics, and Mental Toughness / Lex Friedman Podcast

This is a very long podcast interview (it runs almost 4 hours), and if you have no interest in judo or other martial arts, it’ll probably bore you to pieces. I found it super interesting — Stevens is a former Olympic athlete and one of the best judo competitors in the world. He has gone through some incredibly tough injuries and setbacks and come out even stronger. Stevens and Friedman talk about how martial arts have shaped them in and outside of the gym. As Friedman says:

“What happens when you get into martial arts is that it alters your life forever for the better.” – Lex Friedman

A quote that inspires me —

“Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health.” — Matthew Walker

What I’m training this week —

This outdoor bodyweight workout kicked my butt. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Three new workouts —

Apartment-Friendly Kettlebell HIIT Workout (12 minute, kettlebell)

12-Minute Medicine Ball AMRAP Workout (AMRAP, medicine ball)

495 Rep Fast and Furious Challenge Workout (Time challenge, pull up bar, dip bar)

Remember, you can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete (this is WAY cheaper than joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer! In addition, you’ll be helping to support the site and making future features to the app possible.).

As always, I value your feedback, so please feel free to reply directly to this email if you have any questions or comments (yes, I am a real human). I get a lot of emails and messages, so I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read everything you guys send me!

Here’s to sleeping well,

– Krista

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