You are Missing This Essential Part of the Equation for Better Fitness

We can work out daily and eat well, but still have no progress on our fitness journey. Why? It seems like it should add up to gains. There is a commonly missed essential part of the equation for fitness.

Fitness is more than just working out and eating well – source

Keep reading to find out the most common reason as to why you are not progressing in your fitness journey. No amount of exercise and protein will help you unless you fix this immediately. Find out what to add to boost gains, improve overall health, and perform better today!

The Essential Part of the Equation for Fitness

You can go to the gym, exercise regularly, and still not get the results you want. You can look at your protein intake, increase it, start eating healthier, and STILL not get results. Why is that? It seems to be the most important parts of fitness: exercise, and nutrition. 

You eat enough protein, healthy carbs and fats, and work out well. Some people do less, lift less, exercise less, eat unhealthily, and can still show off more fitness gains than you. Why?

The simple answer is all related to what you do when you are not exercising. Actually, it is what you do when you are not even aware and conscious. That’s right. The essential part of the equation for fitness is sleep. Sleep takes up about a third of our lives. Everyone does it. All animals have to sleep for survival. It helps our mental and physical wellness greatly. Each stage of sleep triggers a different mechanism that primes the body for rejuvenation, increasing health.


Sleep is important for mental wellbeing, without a doubt. I mean, driving while sleepy is considered as dangerous as driving under the influence. Sleep is needed to increase your attention span, boost memory, and enhance learning ability. With good sleep, you are in a better mood, you learn faster, and store memories more easily. 

Sleep is vital in keeping physical health high too. It is needed to help the immune system work properly, fight off sickness, and increase healing. This mechanism is part of the reason sleep is essential for fitness gain.

Why is Sleep an Essential Part of Fitness

So, it’s pretty obvious sleep is needed to be healthy, but why is it so vital in fitness? Here is a breakdown of it.

Lack of Sleep and Working Out

When you go to the gym tired, chances are you are moving less. Maybe you don’t go as fast in your run, maybe you lift less. Whatever the case is, your performance will suffer if you do not sleep enough. Sleep causes you to get tired quickly, as being sleep-deprived makes it hard for the body to properly use energy.

Plus, sleep research shows that people who do not sleep well have a slower reaction time, slower alertness, and lower motor capability. These studies also found that lack of sleep makes mistakes more common, which can lead to injury. Being hurt is 100% likely to keep you from the gym, coming as a runner who hurt her Achilles tendon.

Sleep and Hormones

When we sleep the body releases essential hormones for wellbeing, such as testosterone and growth hormone. Growth hormone is particularly important for muscle building as it helps repair and restore muscles. After you work out, your muscles experience microscopic tears. These tears are then repaired, increasing muscle density and making you stronger. Without growth hormones released during sleep, your muscles will be unable to repair and grow.

Plus, sleep also reduces the amount of hormones that break down muscle in the body. This includes cortisol, a stress hormone that is elevated when you do not get a good night’s sleep. Cortisol can also raise inflammation in the body, leading to damage to the muscles.

Sleep and Weight

Sleeping well can help you regulate your weight. People who do not sleep well tend to be hungrier, more often. This is because sleeping less tends to increase ghrelin, the hormone that tells the body it is hungry. A lack of sleep also decreases leptin, the hormone in the body that lets you know you are full.

A study compared people sleeping 5 hours a night and people sleeping 8 hours, both groups on a weight loss plan. Both groups lost pounds, but the group that slept 8 hours a night lost fat. This means that the group that slept less lost muscle mass.


You might think, well I can’t sleep at night, I’ll just rest. While napping can be beneficial, it does not replace nighttime rest. Sleeping during the day will not really help reduce cortisol levels as it does at night. Cortisol is naturally released more in the daytime, as it is reliant on our light-dependent internal clock. This natural clock also affects melatonin, the sleep hormone. It will not be released during the day, making napping hard.

Naps can still be a good option if you want to increase alertness and concentration. Here is a guide to help you nap like a pro without disrupting your nighttime sleep schedule!

Tips for Better Sleep

Here are science-based tips you can try to get a good night’s rest. Want a more in-depth plan? Here is the best sleep guide you can use tonight! 

  • Start in the evening – start preparing the body to sleep early on in the evening, preferably after dinner 
  • Reduce technology – tech tends to stimulate our brains. Whether it’s watching TV, playing video games, or scrolling online, technology keeps us awake and alert. Try to lower tech use as bedtime rolls around.
  • Dim the lights – melatonin is a light-dependent sleep hormone. It is regulated by light. Lowering the lights in the evening lets your brain know it’s time to start winding down.
  • Lower the temperature – studies have shown that a lower temperature tends to make us sleepier easily. 
  • Calm the mind – do mindful and calming activities, such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation. Try reading a book you’ve read before! That way, you aren’t thinking about what’s going to happen next or how it ends.

The Takeaway

The essential part of the equation for fitness gains is sleep. It is the most important step, even more so than nutrition and exercise. Without proper sleep, it does not matter how much you work out or how well you eat, you will not make progress.

Remember that health comes from within, so eat nutrient-dense meals, exercise when you can, and take care of your mental health. Daily habits become the building blocks for emotional, mental, and physical health. Take care of your gut health too! Learn everything you need to know about gut microbiota today for free here.

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