The choices that most people continue to make regarding diet and exercise are simply not working. A significant number of people in this country, and worldwide for that matter, have impaired health and low fitness levels. This is due in large part from an increasingly sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor nutritional choices (WHO, 2014, and Health Intelligence, 2015). The average American spends more than 9 hours a day sitting. Research shows that people who sit the most have a 112 percent increase in the Relative Risk (RR) of Diabetes and a 147 percent increase in the RR of cardiovascular events compared to people who sit the least. Sitting down for a large part of the day has similar mortality rates to smoking (Wilmot et al., 2012). This just helps fuel the fire adding to the list of reasons why more than one-third of U.S. adults are currently obese (35.1 percent or 78.6 million) and 33.9 percent are overweight (JAMA, 2012). When you look at the groups collectively, approximately 70 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese! It’s time for a different approach and a needed change in mindset if you’re seriously ready to improve the most precious of all commodities: your health and well-being.

Let’s be honest, we know this can be a very difficult task since most people do not even like to exercise. More than 30 percent of people will not workout at all this year while only 5 percent will exercise at a level that is considered vigorous. There were about 81.6 million Americans who were completely inactive in 2015. In addition to factors like genetics, emotional instability, and sleeplessness, lack of physical activity is one of the leading causes of obesity. With that said, one of your goals is to carve out just 30-minutes a day and start moving more. That’s it! You can find half an hour each day and make a commitment to yourself (and your family) to improve your health and fitness.

The TBC30 Plan will get you moving on that path that you need to travel down to finally get results. This plan, by the way, has worked for hundreds of my private clients who, over the years, have followed the plan. You need to implement the following steps and nutritional strategies into your lifestyle for the next four-weeks and it will work for you as well.

“Given what we know about the health benefits of physical activity, it should be mandatory to get a doctor’s permission not to exercise.”

Per-Olof Astrand, MD, PhD, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Many government agencies recommend that individuals follow a customized exercise and nutrition plan tailored to their specific needs and goals to ensure optimal results. It sounds pretty basic but this rarely happens. If you never develop an initial plan and set individual goals then how will you ever know if and when you finally get there?

If someone has not exercised for a long period of time or is a novice, they should start slowly, keeping the exercise volume at a low training threshold. The goal and focus during this time period should be on developing both efficient movement patterns and overall fitness level and then on strength development. After a specific time period, the focus can transition to increasing the volume of work depending on the needs and goals of the person. Any increase in volume (repetitions/sets/load), once again, should not take place until that person has mastered movement competency involving the exercises they have been doing.

The Total Body Conditioning Plan (TBC30) is a 30-day diet and exercise plan that gets results by improving the quality of how you exercise and eat by changing exercise and diet mindset. The program offers a game plan with specific daily and weekly steps in addition to 8 diet strategies that will help improve your chances of success. The good news is, it’s only 30-days and all the workouts are less than 30-minutes.

Making the commitment to exercise regularly while focusing on specific diet strategies are two important initial steps. The basic concept is to use the plan as a template to bolster that commitment and hopefully “ingrain the habits into your brain.” There are 6-steps to follow over the course of the 30-day plan and five of those steps have specific game plans. Each game plan needs to be incorporated into your lifestyle in order to be successful. The 6-steps talk about the importance of changing mindset, performing a fitness assessment, adding more daily movement, getting stronger and leaner and finally, the importance of getting more sleep. By the time you complete your 30-day plan, you’ll improve not only your health and fitness, but more importantly, exercise will become habitual.

If this is not the right time for you to begin the program – then hold off – and come back when you can commit the time and energy that will be necessary for you to be successful.

STEP 1: GET A NEW MINDSET

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be”

John Wooden, former UCLA Basketball Coach

The first step in changing your mindset is realizing this is about more than just “exercise” or trying to lose a percentage of body fat or body weight. You need to finally understand that there is a deep connection between mind, body and spirit and you need to realize this fully when starting the TBC30 Plan. If this does not happen, you will never get to the point where you become fully invested in yourself and the plan and as a result it will be unlikely that your exercise and diet goals will ever materialize.

“Your mindset is your collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your thought habits.  And your thought habits affect how you think, what you feel, and what you do.  Your mindset impacts how you make sense of the world, and how you make sense of you.”

(Source: http://sourcesofinsight.com

It is important to keep in mind that changing ones mindset takes time. There is actually an ancient Greek word, metanoia, used to describe such a transformation and is defined as “the journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life.” You need to first find something that you really enjoy doing and incorporate that activity into your daily life. It’s not about counting or burning calories with a specific workout or following a specific diet. You need to set realistic expectations when it comes to exercise and nutrition and change your mindset to view exercise and what you eat as something you’re in total control of rather than looking at it as a chore. You need to make it fun and enjoyable. In a 2014 study in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Australian researchers looked at the relationship between various personality traits and exercise and other health-related habits. The researchers found that people who thought they had control over their lives were more likely to exercise and adopt other healthy steps than those who felt that luck or fate largely dictated their lives.

STEP 2: GET A NEEDS ASSESSMENT

A needs assessment can be defined as the process of identifying and evaluating the needs of a person and possible solutions to problems. It can be viewed as the gap between “what is” and “what should be.” A needs assessment focuses on the future, or what should be done, rather than on what was done as is the focus of most program evaluations (Witkin et al., 1995).

Let me ask you a question – how can you really manage something if you don’t measure it? Any good exercise program comes with periodic assessments that can double as check-in and motivational tools to help keep you committed to the plan and on track.

I want you to ask yourself, what do you really want to get out of the TBC30 Plan when it’s all said and done? Write down your goals and remember you don’t own them until you actually write them down. Go into your smart phone right now and open up notepad and list your goals. A few options in regard to setting goals might be to lose weight, reduce percent body fat, decrease your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), walk between 8,500 to 10,000 steps a day, or to climb 10 flights of stairs a day. Maybe your goal will be to limit added sugar, do more push-ups or pull-ups, hold a plank for 2:00 or possibly run 1.5 miles in a specific amount of time. Some or maybe all of these suggestions could be the right goals for you to work towards by the end of your TBC30 Plan. That’s your call, you know your body best. Again, write it down so you can own it.

symmetry4me.com_
photo credit: http://mamabee.com

Game Plan

  • Determine your WHR (use a Gulick tape measure)
  • Determine your average 3-day step total
  • Plank Challenge – record your baseline plank time

STEP 3: GET MOVING

It’s a fact and there is a great deal of published data to back up the following statement – we are “sitting too much, moving less and it’s killing us earlier than expected.” The TBC30 Plan looks to change all that. In order to change it, we need to use technology as a motivational tool to help us move more, when not at the gym, and monitor that movement. Before we talk about technology though let’s first discuss what is known as the Hawthorne Effect. The Hawthorne Effect was first developed by Henry A. Landsberger and is defined as a change in the performance of a person under observation because they are aware that they are being observed. This is why subjects in various research studies, as well as personal training clients, increase their chances of success because they are constantly being observed and the same may hold true when working with different types of technology. When a person knows they are being monitored or have the ability to check in periodically and report how they are doing on a regular basis, there chances of success for that specific task improves.

fitbit-fitness-trackers-comparison
Photo credit: http://gadgets-reviews.com

The TBC30 Plan recommends purchasing a Fitbit pedometer. Next, determine your three-day average for daily steps and begin adding 500 to 1,000 additional steps each week until you reach your personal goal (8,500 to 10,000 is our suggestion) and then work hard to maintain that level.

Karyn Hughes, MEd, said it well in a blog post featured on the Cooper Institute website, “tracking, logging, or monitoring devices help us self-correct our behaviors and support consistent behavior change that leads to healthier lives.”

Hippocrates once said, “walking is a man’s best medicine.” To find out if his 2,400 year-old remark was actually valid, two scientists from University College London performed a meta-analysis of research published between 1970 and 2007 in peer-reviewed journals. After studying more than 4,000 research papers, they identified 18 studies that met their high standards for quality. These overall studies evaluated 459,833 test-subjects who were absent of cardiovascular disease at the start of the investigation. The subjects were followed for an average of 11.3 years, during which cardiovascular events (i.e. heart attacks and deaths) were recorded. Their meta-analysis makes a strong case for the benefits of good old walking. The group of studies showed that walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31 percent, and decreased the risk of dying during the time of the study by 32 percent. The benefit of walking was apparent even at short distances (5½ miles per week) and at a slow speed of about 2 mph (an average walking speed is considered 3.1 mph). Subjects who walked longer distances and walked at faster speeds experienced the greatest protection. Additional research has demonstrated individuals who use a pedometer take an additional 2,000 steps each day compared to nonusers and their overall physical activity level increases by 27 percent. Looks like its time to break out the pedometer and start to step it up!

Game Plan: 

  • Get a minimum of 8,500 steps/day up to 10,000 +
  • Complete three 15:00 interval-based cardio sessions a week

STEP 4: GET STRONGER

In my opinion, the fountain of youth for each of us as we age equates to one word – muscle. You need to build more of it because you will lose some of it as you age and that loss reduces functional ability, balance and changes with your metabolism. The only way to build and maintain muscle tissue is by strength training regularly. If you do not strength train regularly as you age you will become part of the statistical group that loses 5-8 pounds of muscle with each passing decade after the age of 40.

The average person can count on three things during their lifetime: taxes, sarcopenia and death. The definition of sarcopenia is the loss of skeletal muscle mass associated with aging. The term, first coined in 1989 by Dr. Irv Rosenberg at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, literally means “loss of flesh.” To prevent the loss of both muscle and strength (known as dynapenia) as you age, research has shown you must overload your muscles by strength training several times each week to prevent a loss in muscle size and strength. According to research, individuals who did not strength train lost about 5 to 7 pounds of muscle every ten years and a by-product of this was that there was a reduction in their metabolism by about 50 calories a day. As you grow older, the loss of muscle becomes more pronounced and by the time you reach the age of 70, the muscular system has experienced a 40 percent loss of muscle mass and a 30 percent decrease in strength.

With the loss of muscle mass comes the loss of strength and power. A person’s balance, mobility and functionality are also compromised. Strength appears to peak between the ages of 25 and 35 and is maintained or slightly lower between ages 40 and 59 and then declines by 12-14 percent per decade after 50 years of age, according to research published by Doherty in 2001.

Each week of the TBC30 Plan includes days where you work specifically on either strength, a plank challenge, or interval-based cardio. You will exercise three days and then take the fourth day off and continue this format throughout the four weeks (see below). Every fourth day should be used as a recovery day. Try to find time for massage if possible and buy yourself a foam roller and use it before or after each session. You can visit Perform Better for the product.

Session 1

 

Session 2

 

Session 3

 

Off Day

 

Session  4

 

Session 5

 

Session 6

S HIIT S R HIIT S

HIIT

Add 500 to 1,000 steps each week. 15:00  15:00  15:00

note: S = strength day, HIIT = high-intensity interval training day (15:00), R = recovery day

Strength Days (3x/week, 30:00 sessions) – Focus on primary movements including the Squat, Deadlift, Loaded Carry, Lunge, Push, and Pull. The key takeaway here is to master these basic movements before increasing any type of volume. Build up to completing 2-3 sets of each exercise using a load that should enable you to complete 20-30 total repetitions of each movement by the time you’re done. If you end up working for time instead of repetitions, aim for 30-60 seconds of work per set and perform the exercises in a circuit fashion for about 30:00. The goal is three times a week and if you have a long history of working out, you have the option of progressing to every other day after the first week. If you’re new to the game, try only 1-2 circuits, 1-2 days a week and add in plenty of recovery between bouts of exercise. The volume of work (sets x reps x load) will depend on your ability and training history. An example of a circuit workout could look something like this:

  • Deadlift (use a Hex-bar if possible)
  • Pull variations (pull-up, TRX inverted row, lat pulldown
  • Lunge variation (front/backward/side/speed skater)
  • Squat variations (body weight, dumbbell squat, goblet squat, split squat)
  • Push variations (bench press, push ups, shoulder press, etc.)
  • Repeat 2-3x (for desired repetitions or time)

Cardio Days (3x/week, 15:00 sessions) – Focus on short, challenging, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) when it comes time for cardio workouts and these can be done on a bike, elliptical, treadmill, swimming, on a rowing machine or running. According to Len Kravitz, a researcher at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, “HIIT adds up to 15 percent more calories to the total calories expended.” That means if you’ve worked off 550 calories doing HIIT, you can reasonably expect to burn at least another 83 calories post-exercise. The HIIT sessions should include alternating formats using the following two protocols. One option, is to use a 4:00 warm-up followed by interval work using a 1:2 work-to-rest ratio (i.e. 30-seconds of maximum effort, 1:00 lower intensity) x 5 rounds, then a cool-down for 4:00. The second option, includes a 4:00 warm-up followed by a 30-20-10 protocol. This means 30-seconds of easy work followed by 20-seconds of moderate intensity work and then 10-seconds of maximum effort for a total of one-minute. Repeat this for 7 rounds followed by a 4:00 cool-down. Both of the workout protocols should take you about 15:00. The exercise intensity will depend on your ability and training history. The TBC30 Plan recommendation is to wear a heart rate monitor during workouts especially if you’re new to exercise.

Increase Activity Level (7 days a week). Wear a pedometer and focus on reaching your daily step goal (a minimum of 8,500 to 10,000 + steps a day).

TBC4 Plank Challenge (4x/week) – Progressively increase your “hold” time when doing the plank (every other day). First, determine a baseline, then work on increasing your overall “hold” time when you do it or increase the overall time each week. Start the exercise initially on your forearms eventually progressing to keeping your arms fully extended.  You know your body best, it’s your call.

Game Plan:

  • Strength/Cardio Training – 3 times each week.
  • Plank Challenge: Plank 4 times a week (every other day).
  • Increase daily step totals.

STEP 5: GET LEANER

“You are what you eat.” At times, it can be that simple. One of your goals should be to keep a food journal and record everything you typically eat over a 3-5 day period. In order for your body to become lean (i.e. reduce percent body fat) over the course of the next month you will need to stick to your exercise routine and follow the eight TBC30 nutritional strategies. Focus on becoming more mindful of what you’re eating instead of getting into restricted eating. According to Jean Kristeller, PhD, researcher and author of The Joy of Half a Cookie, restricted eating can be defined as a “dieting mindset that makes you hyperaware of every morsel you put into your mouth. The restricted eating mindset reduces the enjoyment of eating, socializing, and to some degree, life. Mindful eating is the middle way between mindless eating and restricted eating.” The goal is to find a balance between the two and keep that in the forefront of your mind as you work on incorporating the TBC30 nutritional strategies into the coming days and weeks.

Diet Strategy #1 – Drink more water first thing in the morning.

Research has shown that drinking 17-ounces of water upon waking up in the morning will increase your metabolic rate by about 30 percent over the next few hours. The same researchers believe that over the course of a year, individuals who increase water consumption by just 1.5 liters a day could burn an extra 17,400 calories and experience a five-pound weight loss. In addition to starting off in the morning with water, drink a glass or two of water before each meal, this has been shown to curb appetite and in turn you may end up eating fewer calories.  It has been said that “prevention is the best medicine” and this is especially true when it comes to drinking enough water. As your day progresses it’s also a good idea to have a glass of water before or with each meal. A report from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill showed people who drink 7 cups of water a day eat almost 200 fewer calories a day compared to people who drink less than a glass a day.

Diet Strategy #2 – Never skip breakfast.

I want you to start thinking about breakfast as breaking-the-fast (“BreakFast”). Research from the University of Massachusetts Medical School determined that those who skip breakfast are 4 ½ times more likely to be obese compared to people who make time to eat in the morning. Your breakfast should consist mostly of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrate. When you look at the thermic effect of food, it takes more energy (in the form of calories) to metabolize protein compared to carbohydrates or fats. A 12-week study of overweight and obese women found those who consistently ate a big breakfast, mid-sized lunch and small dinner lost more than twice as much weight as women who took in the same calories, but in reverse order! Those who ate a big breakfast first, also reduced waist circumference, lowered blood glucose, insulin resistance, and levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Finally, according to a Georgia Centenarian Study, individuals who eat breakfast regularly have lower rates of Type 2 diabetes and are less likely to develop heart failure over the course of their lifetime compared to than those who don’t eat breakfast. The study that looked at older Americans, over a 13-year period, suggests that regularly eating breakfast may lead to a longer-than-average life span.

Diet Strategy #3 – Don’t drink your calories.

Try to use your calories for food and not beverages such as soda, sports drinks, and alcohol, especially since it has been shown that the average American drinks more than 60 gallons of soft drinks each year. The average person in the U.S. consumes 450 to 550 calories a day through drinking beverages like fruit juices, sports drinks, soda and alcohol. In was determined in 2006 that 21 percent of the calories that Americans consumed came from either soda, juice, milk, beer, or other beverages and that this number was up from 16 percent since the 1970’s.

Diet Strategy #4– Be aware of processed foods.

You know the deal here, “if it’s white don’t bite,” be aware of items such as white bread, white potatoes, white rice, etc. White food generally refers to foods that are white in color and that have been processed and refined, like flour, rice, pasta, crackers, cereal, cookies and simple sugars like table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Many of these processed foods are made of saturated fats and large amounts of sodium and sugar. The natural, unprocessed white foods, like egg whites, cauliflower, turnips, onions, white beans are not included in this category. I have had the pleasure of hearing Walter Willett, MD, speak on several occasions regarding different nutritional topics while at Tufts Research Center on Aging in Boston. “Fat is not the problem,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases.” Research from Harvard University published in the New England Journal of Medicine followed subjects over a 20-year period and determined that the food most often associated with weight gain was…you guessed it, white potatoes. Again, don’t focus on restricted eating, just be more mindful of what you’re eating.

Diet Strategy #5 – Decrease your added sugar and salt intake.

The average American consumes about 40 teaspoons of sugar each day (about 600 calories) and this far exceeds what your body needs. The American Heart Association recommends the amount be cut to a maximum of six teaspoons (100 calories or 25 grams) a day for women and nine teaspoons (150 calories or 38 grams) for men. According to Robert Lustig, MD, author of Fat Chance, and a leading expert in childhood obesity at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine “sugar is not just an empty calorie, its effect on us is much more insidious. It’s a poison by itself.” Dr. Lustig and colleagues have also shown, through their research, that for each additional 150 calories of added sugar consumed per day, above daily requirements, was associated with a 1.1 percent increase risk of type 2 diabetes. Start reading food labels and become more aware of the sugar content in everything you eat. There are a few great apps that you can use to help you monitor your added sugar intake like MyFitnessPal and LoseIt. Watch out especially for sucrose (table sugar), fructose (sugars found in fruits), and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a mixture of glucose and fructose, and can be found in everything from ketchup to Gatorade. One study that was completed at the University of California at Davis, found adults who consumed 25 percent of their daily calories from HFCS for two weeks had increase levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, indicators of increased risk for heart disease. And in 2011, researchers at Georgia Health Sciences University concluded that high fructose consumption by teenagers could potentially put them at risk for heart disease and diabetes.

The outlook doesn’t get much better when we shift our attention to daily salt intake. It may be hard to believe but the average person consumes more than 6000 milligrams (mg) of salt each day which is about 2.5 times the recommended amount of 2400 mg a day. According to the American Heart Association, individuals should “reduce their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day and not exceed 2,300 mg per day.” But most of us get 1.5 teaspoons (or 8,500 mg) of salt daily. This translates to about 3,400 mg of daily sodium. It is true that your body needs a certain amount of sodium, but too much can increase blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Eating more than 2,300 mg of salt per day could raise your blood pressure to unhealthy levels. If you’re someone who already has high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend that you keep your sodium intake below 1,500 mg a day. Finally, remember that your body only needs about 3.8 grams of salt per day so don’t be like most people and consume 7 to 8 grams a day.

Diet Strategy #6 – Be aware of portion distortion.

Watch your portion size for each meal and every snack; this is an easy way to consume extra calories over the course of a day. If you are eating out at a restaurant and the size of the meal is too big, take away a quarter of the meal and you will eliminate 500 calories or more. Think about portion sizes as the size of your fist or for the sports fans out there, the size of a hockey puck, for each food group you have on your plate. Speaking of plates, start to use smaller plates, bowls and glasses when you eat. Bigger portion-size and “super-size” can be found at most fast food chains – so for the next 4-weeks work hard to eliminate any fast food you typically eat. One lunchtime meal at McDonald’s can wreck your day not to mention your waistline with one of their 1600-calorie meals.

Diet Strategy #7 – Eat more fruits and vegetables.

You invariably know this and you have heard it all your life, now you need to simply do it. Many fruits and vegetables are considered super foods and are rich in anti-oxidants, high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and low in calories. The key word here is fiber and by increasing your daily fruit and vegetable intake you’ll improve your chances of consuming 35-38 grams/fiber/day for men or about 25-28 grams/fiber/day if you’re a women. Another way to look at it is to eat 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories that you consume. Many nutritionists recommend at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day and the problem is that Americans get less than five servings a day. Focus on getting a little more fiber (and protein) in your meals and snacks and you’ll find yourself less hungry between meals.

Diet Strategy #8 – Decrease your calories prior to bedtime.

If all else fails, make sure you at least follow this last strategy over the next four weeks (in addition to of course cutting back on added sugar). Your goal is to avoid any “empty” or non-nutritional calories 3-4 hours prior to going to sleep. This includes especially foods or drinks that contain any caffeine or alcohol. This may be difficult for some of you because of busy work schedules or because you need to entertain clients for work and they typically eat and drink later in the evening. You may find that the quality of your sleep will improve if you cut out caffeine, alcohol and any extra calories after dinner. Many of us seem to do well during the day when it comes to caloric intake; it is usually late night when those extra calories seem to sneak in there. Even a few hundred extra calories each night, collectively over the course of a week, could be the culprit for weight gain. Taking something like a whey or casein protein drink prior to bed would be one exception to this strategy.

Game Plan:

  • Follow the 8-Diet Strategies each day. Focus on reducing added sugar. A goal for women is <100 calories (25 grams) of added sugar a day. A goal for men is <150 calories (38 grams) of added sugar a day. Increase the amount of daily fiber. You can use the exact same daily gram numbers, needed for added sugar, as a goal when monitoring your fiber intake.

STEP 6: GET MORE SLEEP

The sixth and final step is to get more sleep. It is one of the most important steps and is critical for success; not to mention it’s the one step that ties all the other steps together. We have become a sleep-deprived society and the evidence supports this; showing that we sleep on an average 6.8 hours as opposed to 9 hours a century ago. About 30 percent of adults report sleeping less than 6 hours per night. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that individuals who got less than 5.5 hours of sleep each night lost 60 percent more lean muscle that those who got adequate sleep. Another study from the University of Colorado showed subjects that got minimal sleep on consecutive nights gained two pounds on average over the course of the study. A second study from the University of Pennsylvania Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory looked at the sleeping and eating behavior of 225 people. They reported in the journal Sleep, when you’re awake between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., you’re more likely to consume extra calories. The group ate an average of 553 more calories, typically choosing foods higher in fat, when they were kept awake until the early morning hours.

The most valuable assets you have are your body and mind and it requires a certain amount of sleep each night to function optimally yet 60 percent of the population is not sleeping well throughout the night. Start thinking of sleep as a time to restore your body and mind and without adequate amounts each night, your body will not be able to perform at an optimal level. Research has shown that people who get less than six hours of sleep a night have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more. This is important because inflammation is linked to diabetes, stroke, heart disease, arthritis, and premature aging, according to a data published in the Centers for Disease and Control and Morbidity and Mortality Report. Research conducted in 2004 has shown that sleep deprivation can enhance the release of specific peptides in the body that produce hunger. Men that slept only four hours each night for two days witnessed a decrease in specific hormones such as leptin and an increase in ghrelin compared with men who slept ten hours during that same time period.  Leptin is an appetite suppressant hormone that is produced by adipose (fat) tissue, and ghrelin is released from the stomach in response to someone fasting and promotes the feeling of hunger.  The hormone leptin acts on the central nervous system, most notably the hypothalamus, by not only suppressing food intake but stimulating energy expenditure as well. Ghrelin levels typically increase before meals and decrease after meals. This particular hormone stimulates appetite as well fat production and can lead to increased food intake and a gain in body weight. A growing number of researchers are beginning to think the obesity epidemic in this country may be caused partly by lack of sleep and the effect this has on specific hormones. In addition, if you’re going to bed late, the odds are you’re up watching late night television with Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel and involved in mindless snacking. There is nothing worse than a few late night calories before going to bed. Additional research from the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin has shown that subjects who monitored their caloric intake and averaged 5.5 hours of sleep had more body fat compared to subjects who were consistently getting 8.5 hours of sleep.  The National Sleep Foundation’s sleep recommendations of 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep for adults (ages 18-64) and 7-8 hours of sleep for older adults (age 65+) were updated in 2015 and published in Sleep Health: The Official Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. Finally, the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study looked at more than 1,000 subjects and found those who slept less than 8 hours a night had an increase in BMI that was proportional to decreased sleep. This group of researchers also found that shorter sleep times were associated with an increase in circulating ghrelin and decrease in leptin, a pattern that is consistent with low energy levels.

Are you wondering right about now what the true definition of sleep might be? Glad you were wondering because according to William Dement, MD, author of The Promise of Sleep, there are two essential features that distinguish sleep from various sleep-like states. The first is that it occurs naturally (i.e. no sleeping pills) and the second is that it is a daily occurrence in humans. When you’re not getting adequate amounts of sleep your likely to go into sleep debt which according to Dement is the accumulated loss of sleep over a length of time; it is like a monetary debt and it must eventually be paid back. One final comment on the importance of sleep and it is explained nicely in the book, Biological Rhythms and Exercise: “Weight-training exercises may be unaffected by partial sleep loss early on in a training session, but the performance suffers due to lack of drive and concentration as the (exercise) session continues.” As you begin to add each of the six steps of TBC30 Plan into your daily routine, you will begin to notice more energy when you’re exercising, your quality of sleep is better and you should begin feeling like your old self again. The final step, Get More Sleep, is one area that many feel like they can neglect but as I previously mentioned it’s probably one of the most important steps because the other five steps are predicated on this sixth step, so you may want to begin focusing on this starting tonight. Here is a good Sleep Self Assessment Quiz you can take.

Game Plan:

  • Eliminate all products containing caffeine (i.e. coffee, chocolate etc.) by mid-day (around 12-1 pm)
  • Sleep goal for adults: 7-9 hours of sleep (18-65 year old)
  • Sleep goal for older adults: 7-8 hours.

Your baseline assessment should be completed prior to your first training session while your follow-up assessment can be completed on day 30 after your TBC30 Plan is finished. Best of luck and remember that you now have a “Game Plan” to follow. Finally, when you’re trying to change the way you look and feel, it comes down to…”whether you think you can or think you can’t, your right. (Henry Ford).

Please email me  at woodspg@gmail.com if you’re interested in trying your own customized version of the TBC30 Plan and let me know how you made out if you give it a try on your own. Thanks!

References

Witkin, B. R. and Altschuld, J. W. (1995). Planning and Conducting Needs Assessments: A Practical Guide. Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA.

Bernado R. (2016). 2016’s Fattest States in America, Wallet Hub.

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Additional Reading

Compelling Research on Waist to Hip Ratio, Stronger Blog.

What Type of Exercise Does Your Body Need as You Age.

3 Things You Can Expect in Life: Death, Taxes and Sarcopenia.

3 thoughts on “TBC30 Plan

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