The SET approach; sleep, eat, train. I’m sure you’ve heard these words being thrown together before. Us fitness professionals love these type of headline phrases that we can use on our social media such as ‘Eat, sleep, train, repeat’, ‘go hard or go home’ ‘results or excuses’ etc etc. However there really is something in ‘Sleep, Eat, Train’
Sleep, eat, train is a way of living, it’s a lifestyle, it’s something that is going to make you look as good on the outside as you feel on the inside.
It’s a wellness cycle. Let me explain further. . .
If we look at ‘sleep eat train’ in a negative cycle, it goes something like this: You have a bad night’s sleep, you wake up and crave carbs, you need an energy fix, so you reach for the white bagel, the croissant, the bowl of sugary cereal. Let’s be honest here, you’re tired and you need energy, you’re not thinking ‘overnight oats with chia seeds’ you’re thinking warm croissant and a very large coffee! So you eat your refined processed carbs which give you an immediate release of energy (which will soon come crashing down!) and you find yourself on board the blood sugar rollercoaster which means all day you’ll be going from sugar high to sugar crash.
And if the truth be told, if your blood sugar levels are all over the place and you’re in a mid afternoon slump then the last thing that you’ll want to be doing is go to the gym or workout. You’re tired, your sugar levels are making you feel even more tired and you really don’t want to go and get sweaty at the gym. So you don’t. You don’t workout and you don’t burn off the excess carbs so when you go to bed that night, you might be mentally tired but your body hasn’t moved much all day and still has a lot of energy to burn. So you’re not going to sleep well again. It’s another bad night’s sleep and that negative cycle starts all over again!
So, now let’s turn it around and see what we can do if we prioritise sleep. . . We decide to forsake another episode of our favourite Netflix box set and we go to bed an hour earlier than usual. We’ve turned our phones off and left them downstairs so that we can get in to bed without doing that whole ‘Facebook / Instagram / emails’ triangle that we all do on our phones before we sleep (oh, must make a note of those amazing leggings I’ve seen on Instagram / wow, she’s put on weight in that Facebook photo / must reply to the email from my boss – oh it’s been 15 minutes since I last looked at Instagram so it must have updated by now etc etc. Before we know it, we’ve wasted 40 minutes doing that social media triangle that’s left our brains alert and the blue light our phones emit is helping us stay awake even longer!). I digress. So we’ve made the decision to go to bed a little earlier, leave our phones downstairs and indulge in a bedtime routine that helps to calm the body and mind. We have a minimum of 7-8 hours of quality sleep and we wake up feeling refreshed. Our brains are clear and we make good decisions when it comes to our breakfast (always going for a protein based breakfast to help steady our blood sugar levels for the day). We eat well throughout the day making sure we have plenty of fresh fruit and veg and our energy levels are high. We go to the gym and we are well fuelled to smash our workouts. We’re riding off an endorphin high and we refuel post workout with protein and carbs to help our bodies recover quickly. By the time bedtime comes we are both physically and mentally tired, and so we go to bed and sleep well.
We wake up and the positive cycle begins again. We make good food choices, we workout and we sleep well. And that my friends is the SET approach. Sleep, eat, train. It’s a way of living, it’s a way of making good lifestyle choices, it’s a way that will help you make good food decisions. Your body and your fitness levels are the result of the accumulation of your food and lifestyle choices. You have the power to change your choices and change the way you look and feel.
And it all starts with sleep.
So my advice to you is to plan your bedtime routine starting tonight. Count back 8 hours from when you need to wake up and work out what time you need to be asleep. Then factor in your ‘faffing’ time when you get ready for bed (removing make up, tidying the kitchen etc!), leave your phone in a different room to your bedroom, turn off the TV half an hour earlier than usual and make sleep a priority not an after thought.
Trust me, when you’re riding the positive wellness cycle you’ll be on a constant high. You will feel energised, will be in control of your food choices and your body will sit easily at it’s optimum weight.
All because you prioritised sleep!
Need any more help and advice or accountability when it comes to leading a healthy life? Just head over to Jump n Juice, the online health club, where we have everything you need to feel good on the inside and look good on the outside….nutrition, workouts, lifestyle tips, motivation and hundreds of people like you ready to embrace a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Until next time, eat clean and train mean!
by Louise Condon
Founder of the online health club, Jump N Juice, & Sweaty Betty Ambassador