Your Metabolism isn’t slow. your neat is

Your Metabolism isn’t slow. your neat is

Roy Ritchie

Coach | Nutritionist

Roy Ritchie

Coach | Nutritionist

Your Metabolism isn’t slow. your neat is

“That guy is lucky.  He can easily eat anything since he has a fast metabolism.”

How many times have you heard that phrase in the past?

It’s usually followed up with “I have a slow metabolism.  I just need to look at food and I gain a ton of fat.”

The truth is, most of the time this isn’t the case.  There is nothing wrong with their metabolism at all.  It’s just an easy excuse because we heard –or read– it at work, in the gym, or on the internet.

Despite going to the gym a number of times a week while cutting calories.  They may still find it difficult and plateau which then results in frustration, which then leads to a panic decision, such as drastically cutting calories and working out even more.  And when this doesn’t fix things, what next?

I’m not dismissing that there actually are people out there that have hormonal issues which canresult in their metabolism being slow.  But it’s like I mentioned above.  This isn’t always the issue.

In these cases, it comes down to simply a lack of moving.  By moving I don’t mean training.  I mean basic, every day, moving.  This uses up calories too.  A lot, in fact.

This is where NEAT  becomes an important player in the game of fat loss.

First off, what is NEAT?

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.  It is the movements that we do in our daily lives out with sleeping, eating, and purposeful training.  It’s everything from walking, gardening, housework, and even fidgeting.

All these movements –and more– are keeping the body both consciously and subconsciously active.  Burning calories in the process.  So when people are becoming obsessed with the latest fat burning supplement (lol), superfood (more lols), or fitness gadget to fix their fat loss woes, it is more likely down to a decrease of NEAT levels.



Your energy requires can be broken down into three areas.  Your basal metabolic rate (BMR), the thermic effect of food (TEF), and NEAT.

NEAT can account for as up to 50% of energy expenditure in people who are active, and as little as 15% for people who are more sedentary.  That’s a large range which highlights it’s effectiveness in weight management.

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the energy that’s expended to keep the body functioning while you are sleeping.  Breathing, blood circulation, body temperature, muscle contraction, brain and nerve control, and cell growth, to name a few.  This can account for 60-75% of your total daily energy requirements.

And lastly, you have the thermic effect of food (TEF).  This is the number of calories that’s required to digest food (yes, you burn calories while consuming food which is sweet!).  The energy required for this is withing a range of 5-35%.  This is down to the type of nutrient that you digesting.  Here is an example:

  • Protein – 20-35%
  • Carbohydrates – 5-15%
  • Fat – 0-5%

This is one of the main reason that it is more advisable to have a higher protein intake while dieting for fat loss.

So, for example, if you take a male who has a BMR of 2000, he is going to burn around 300 calories digesting his food daily.  Adding on to that, he may burn between 300-1000 calories by walking, gardening, playing accidental footsie with his boss, or whether he sits in an office all day to then go home to then sit on the sofa until bed.

This means that if this guy did no active training in the gym –or similar, and his NEAT levels were on the lower end of the scale.  He would be burning around 2600 calories each day.  However, if his NEAT levels were on the higher end of the scale then he could be burning up to 3300 calories daily.  That is a 700 calorie difference between losing, and gaining weight.

You could actually go to Burker King and place an order for:

  • Whopper Jr sandwich, without mayo (240)
  • Quaker oatmeal (170)
  • Garden side salad (60)
  • Apple slices (30)

Which all adds up to 500 calories.  Still leaving 200 on the table.

Not bad for simply moving a little more.



We all have that friend who –like the example at the start of this post– seems like they could live on a diet on poptart sandwiches and Five Guys milkshakes and still walk around looking like a marathon runner.  Like anything else, you don’t know what their daily lifestyle is like.

The chances are they are naturally more active.  Even if they have a desk job, they will be moving around the office at any given opportunity.  Have various hobbies midweek while being on the go all weekend.  They aren’t lucky.  They just naturally don’t –or can’t– stop moving.  Subconsciously burning more calories.

Like anything else in this life.  Success leaves clues.

NEAT life for the win bro!


Although people can naturally have higher NEAT levels, this can naturally adjust, decreasing through the process of weight loss dieting.

When in a weight loss phase, your metabolism can slow down (This can also happen even if your weight has been around maintenance for over a year).

This does not mean that your training effort is any less.  You will be beginning to naturally move less due to the decrease of energy from the dieting phase.  Leading to your NEAT levels and overall physical activity unconsciously decreasing with weight loss.  Although you may be working your ass off in the gym to try and burn off some extra calories, you are losing out on up to 500 calories per day by simply moving less.

This can work in the other direction too.  If you start to diet back up and your NEAT levels don’t increase, then you can end up increasing your weight even quicker over time due to the lack of energy being used while there is more coming in.


Remember.  Although you may not naturally move a lot, you can still place down markers to purposely increase it.

  • Use a fitness tracker with the aim to hit 10,000 steps daily.
  • Use the stairs instead of the escalator or lift.
  • Park a little further from from or the store.
  • Walk and talk while in conversations, whether its in person or on the phone.
  • Take 10 minute breaks every hours to take a short walk while at work.
  • Perform foam rolling or mobility exercises while watching TV.
  • Have both a morning and evening routine of a 5-minute flow such as the ones on Max Shanks YouTube channel

You don’t need to do all these at once.  Just add in one or two a week until it becomes a habit.

Sure, your metabolism may be slower, but it isn’t set in stone.  You can adjust it with simple tasks over time.  There’s a reason that the skinny person who is always on their feet may be skinny.  Just the same reason that the overweight person who is always sedentary is overweight.



Fast and slow metabolism – It isn’t as black and white as you think.  This can be adjusted by increasing your NEAT.

How effective is NEAT in terms of actual weight loss? – NEAT, BMR, and TEF all play a part in your daily energy expenditure.

What about my skinny friend? – Success leaves clues.  Their natural activity level may be different to yours.

NEAT can be adjusted – NEAT levels aren’t absolute.  They can naturally change through weight loss or weight gain.


P.S. Was this article NEAT enough for you?  (That was truly awful, I know) Then why not check out my newsletter below so that you don’t miss any more posts like this.

Training Deload: What is it? Do you need to do it?

Training Deload: What is it? Do you need to do it?

Roy Ritchie

Coach | Nutritionist

Roy Ritchie

Coach | Nutritionist

Training Deload: What is it? Do you need to do it?

I tend to be happy enough with my training.  I structure it in a way that it balances itself out while making progress in one or two areas at a time while supporting it with a generally healthy diet.

I say generally because in reality, who’s overall diet is 100% perfect?  Well, other than the “fitspiration” profiles on social media.

But that’s a rabbit hole I’m just not going down at the moment.

However, the other week I started to noticed a few things.  Despite everything being where it should be at the moment.

Business, lifestyle, training, finances, diet, family, and friends.  I noticed that there were a number of days where I just felt… off.

I wasn’t sleeping well and was lacking focus when I was doing simple day to day tasks.

My training also sucked balls.  I didn’t enjoy it, which wasn’t like me at all.  I stopped enjoying certain lifts and felt I was more in a routine than aiming for something.

Sounds like I’m about to start writing a script for the next Hollywood rom-com hit, but I’ll save you the emotional pull on your full sized aortic pump.

Well, as I was sat journaling, I was writing all the small things that had been happening throughout the previous two weeks (this is a great way to create clarity whenever you’re getting stressed, anxious, frustrated, or just simply enjoy that mode of output).  And it hit me.  I was burning out.  I needed to chill out a bit.  I needed to deload.

The reason I hadn’t noticed it before was because I program training for all my clients in a way so that deloading naturally occurs (more on this later).  And, because I focus more on them than on my own training, I didn’t take notice of how much overall training volume I was doing in each workout, each week.

A rookie mistake, I know.

There are a lot of myths and opinions on training deloads.

  • How often?
  • How to go about doing one?
  • Do they actually work?

All valid questions with mixed answers of course.  So let’s have a closer look at it all.



  • Workouts are no longer fun.
  • Struggle to, or can’t finish a workout.
  • Strength is plateaued or decreasing.
  • Aching or painful joints.
  • Sleep quality has gone down.
  • You start to have a lack of focus.

Which then brings me to the question you want to know the answer to.



A deload is a purposeful training strategy that is used to reduce the amount of work we do in a week. Using less weight and/or doing less in a number of total sets.

The purpose of the deload week is to rest our joints, connective tissues, CNS (central nervous system), to give our body a break and enhance future progress and avoid injury.  We get to do this on a rest day, but in certain circumstances, the joints will require more time than the muscle to fully regain recovery.

Not only is it an opportunity for you to fully recover these areas, but it’s also a way to fully restore testosterone and cortisol levels.  So if you notice that you start developing some tendonitis along with major plateaus in your training progression, then this is simply your body’s way or telling you to take a timeout.

The main notion behind a deload comes from the law of supercompensation.

And no, that is not some sort or reject superhero.  Let’s have a look below.

Put simply, you get stronger while you recover.  This is why whether dieting for strength, muscle, or fat loss, there comes a point where you start making zero progress, or you start moving backward.

Training 6-7 times a week – sometimes twice a day – is not, and will never be a solution.  It leaves no time for recovery.

Training stimulus:  

This is where you are deliberately applying stress to the body through your working reps, sets, and overall workout.  Creating muscle damage and fatigue.


This could be in a form of an active rest between sets, going for walks, or taking an entire day or week off.  Whatever you choose to do, fully rest.


Think of this as a rebound effect.  The body is primed and ready to take on higher training loads or increased performance.


This is where the problem lies.  We love the first part and feel like the Stifmeister on the last part.  But blatantly disregard the most important part.  Yup, the recovery.


Now, the recovery phase can be a deload, but it doesn’t need to be.  In fact, I’d avoid doing a full deload, ever.

In that case, this is where you might wonder what the hell happened to me.  I told you, I got sloppy.  These things happen.



First off, a deload does not need to be a full week.  It’s just a standard term that is used.  A deload can simply be for 2-3 days if that is all that is needed.

Here are a couple of standard options that you can apply:

  • 50-70% of the weight you would normally use.
  • 50-70% of total sets.

An example of this would be:

If you’re squatting for 4 sets of 8 @ 100kg, then instead perform 2-3 sets of 8 @ 60kg.

Although both of these methods work perfectly ok, I mentioned at the start that I tend to avoid these when programming for clients, and this is how.

I program in an introductory week.  At the beginning of each training cycle, I keep the training volume and intensity lower at around 2-3 sets for each exercise.  Especially the main exercises such as the bench press, heavy rows, deadlift, squats, pull/chin-ups.  This is a perfect way for them to be introduced to new exercises, training methods, and rep schemes.  Preventing a complete break and keeping the ongoing momentum.

An example of this would look like this:

  • Week 1:  Barbell Squat – 2 sets x 9 reps
  • Week 2:  Barbell Squat – 3 sets x 9 reps
  • Week 3:  Barbell Squat – 4 sets x 9 reps
  • Week 4:  Barbell Squat – 5 sets x 9 reps


While you are within a deload phase it’s beneficial to increase the amount of basic exercise such as walking, mobility work, foam rolling, stretching.  This will increase the recovery further, especially if these are areas that you tend to neglect, which we often do.

Alternatively, if you are simply getting real tired of the gym then just take a break.  Get outside.  Run, train in the pack, hike, do star jumps down the street after a turbo espresso, or just do something fun to create the spark that you need or get going again.  You can also use this time to realign your training goals and discover new ways to challenge yourself.  Maybe you’re just in a repetitive cycle because it’s what you have been doing for so long or have closed off your interest for other training methods which you might actually enjoy.

Maybe you’re just in a repetitive cycle because it’s what you have been doing for so long or have closed off your interest for other training methods which you might actually enjoy.  If you’re used to doing the 5/3/1 method or the couch to 10k, then you are likely to just stay there and think everything else is balls.



A standard rule of thumb is once every 12-24 weeks.  I personally don’t like this, however.  The reason being, if you are still feeling good and everything is moving in the right direction, then keep going, but be mindful.  Imagine if you are still heading to the gym each day with your progression on point and then your coach or trainer tells you that it’s now time for a deload.  You will be pissed.  Especially if that then breaks your momentum.

You’re pulling in for a pit stop when the car is running perfectly fine.

There is no need for this.  Which is why it’s only a basic rule of thumb, and one which you should ignore right this very moment.

Just follow the introductory method above.



Ask yourself, are you an athlete?  Most of us aren’t, so you could always follow an autoregulatory method and play it by ear if you’re not following a specific program.

Think of it like this:

How do you feel?

-Awesome:  Keep it going.  Aim to progress in your training and possibly create some new personal bests.

-Pretty Good:  Keep going.  Aim to keep on progressing in your training, but be aware that you might be pushing it.

-Meh, ok:  Keep going.  Avoid doing anything stupid.  Focus on keeping your technique and form on point and avoid chasing wild numbers with the weight.

-Sucking Balls:  Either keep going but lower the weight and just focus on using some energy.  Or alternatively, do some short and light work while adding in some mobility and recovery work.



No, but it’s also important to play it by ear (or body), and avoid being stubborn.  The gym won’t go away and you are doing yourself no favours by powering though.

A deload doesn’t or isn’t a major game changer like it is shown to be, therefore doesn’t need to be placed on the list of importance.

If you’re prioritising recovery, intro weeks, time off for holidays/weekends away/general life stuff then you’re good.

But, it is beneficial for…

-Competitive athletes:

They will be on a very specific training program to target almost constant progression.  To improve seamlessly requires just as specific times of rest and recovery.  Deloads are a must.

-Older people

When we start to get older, recovery becomes more and more a priority.  For training and nutrition to progress, the aging person needs to protect their energy more so that they’re able to perform at their best each time they do a workout.

When older people do a workout, it’s recommended that each workout is of the range of doing the least amount of work for the most bang for your buck.  2 hours of bicep curls are sadly out.

2 hours of bicep curls are sadly, out.

-People with recurring injuries

If you’re picking up injuries in certain areas then either cut out exercises that flare it up or reduce the effort when you do so.  Otherwise your body will simply accumulate more injuries over time due to wear and tear, and also other body parts overcompensating.

Take regular deloads to work around this.  Rest: improve.



Symptoms for deloading  Look out for fatigue, aches and pains, lack of enjoyment, lack of progression, and poor sleep quality.

What is a deload? – A strategic period of time to allow the body to rest and recover.  There is no set time for this.  It can vary.

How do you deload?  – You can set program it within every 8-12 weeks, taking time fully off or reduce the amount of training you do.  Alternatively you can program an introductory week into each training cycle to allow working recovery.

Do you need to deload? – If you are an athlete, have recurring injuries, or are an older person.  If not, then simply be aware of the triggers.


Need to deload from all these nuggets of knowledge?  Feel free to check out my email newsletter below and get the stuff I don’t post on social media.  It’s magical and will melt your face off.

How poor sleep is blocking your fat-loss goals

How poor sleep is blocking your fat-loss goals

Roy Ritchie

Coach | Nutritionist

Roy Ritchie

Coach | Nutritionist

How poor sleep is blocking your fat-loss goals

Sleep deprivation is not good for you.  Neither is stress.

And that’s about it.

Ok, ok, I’ll go on.  However, I have stated the obvious.  You have no doubt heard this before, but this doesn’t mean that you are fully aware of how much it does, and in what way.

You see, we live in a glorious time.  A time where it is deemed cool to sleep less and #Hustle #Grind #NoPainNoGain and all these other false bullshit motivational cliches.  And don’t get me wrong, there are people who can function really well on 4-5 hours sleep a night, but these are outliers and will no doubt not be living this way all the time.  They just present themselves so.  At the same time, this does not mean we all can.  We just think that we must.  Whether it’s to succeed in our careers or just the same old “fear of missing out”.

Let’s not forget, on top of our working day we have out family lives, friends, social events, hobbies, scratching our crotches, and of course, training and dieting.

These all play a part in chipping away at your physical and mental reserves on a daily basis the second you wake.  The issue becomes that we blatantly ignore the red flags and push on.  Some of us claim that we function better this way in fear that if we stop, then we inevitably fail at whatever we are doing.

Of course, we all have different methods of dealing with stress.  Some of us enjoy a cold beer.  Some like to get lost in a book.  Some of us just fire up the ole’ Netflix and binge on the latest trend (which is secretly never-ending reruns of Friends).  And of course, some of us head to the gym to “crush” some weights.

I like a mixture of all –and more– depending on the day of the week, and whether I can simply be bothered shifting my ass in front of a barbell or flat out starfishing myself onto my Hugh Hefner type livingroom rug.

This is all helpful on the surface, but it is not tackling the overall issue.  By not doing this we are constantly overlooking the obvious culprit.

Sleep deprivation

So why is this such a major issue when it comes to training, dieting, and overall heath?

I’m mostly going to tackle the most common issue.  Fat loss goals.

By sacrificing sleep to get more done when we often hit a fat loss plateau.  Our instinctive first actions that we take are…

  • Drastically cut calories
  • Insanely cut carbs
  • Add a training day (or two)
  • Add too many intense cardio sessions (think 45-minute High-Intensity Interval Training….again)

Oh, and of course, stress ourselves even more.

The classic stress feedback loop that silently killing your fat loss progress.

There are a number of simple actions you can take to resolve this, but first, let us look at the potential drawbacks to burning the candle at both ends.



We are all well aware of willpower and self-control and commonly blame them when we make a poor dieting decision.  We get a build up of immense frustration but we play it off as a joke while we say it with a wry smile.  Covering up the fact that we are pissed off at the decision we just made.  Whether it was pressing down that extra doughnut that you bought to enjoy knowing too well that you had zero intention of eating just one.  Or, because you know that you should have gone to bed at your standard time but somehow ended up staying up an extra hour scrolling through heavily filtered Instagram photos of #fitspiration profiles and now couldn’t get up to the gym the next morning, meaning that you will now be starting the day off feeling guilty.  On top of already feeling frustrated and stressed.

This filters throughout the day.  Heightening the chances of making poor decisions which are now almost a guarantee.  Draining away something which is just as important as your physical energy.

Decision fatigue.

I’m not shitting you, this is a real thing.  It just gets dismissed and pounded with stimulants such as bucketloads of coffee and any useless expensive training supplements that you just happened to have been suckered into buying that month.

You see, decision fatigue is the brain’s equivalent of physical fatigue.  It is working constantly while you are sleeping and awake.  However, when you are awake it is you who is now behind the steering wheel.  When we are in control, our personalities will dictate how much we abuse our brain’s ability.  Especially when it comes to an age old classic of multitasking.

This is where the kicker comes in.  Like our bodies, we only have a limited source of energy –or willpower– each day.  If we get up early to do a bunch of tasks before work and then head in to start trawling through the dreaded email inbox while being loaded with demands before we’ve had a chance to mold our ass’s into our chairs then we are already taking off huge chunks of willpower.  And our ability to make focused decisions.

Fast forward to the mid-afternoon when the day has really done a number on us and we are trying our best to stick to our diet.  Which we are.  But it is mainly because we have kept ourselves occupied with the routine of work and the fact we are now looking forward to getting home for the day

But first, we have the gym to get our workout in.  Which is now sounding like a challenge in itself.  Willpower is taking more hits than Johnny Depp’s movie credibility after yet another Pirates of the Carribean outing.  5 pm rolls around and we somehow make to the gym.  We enjoy it as we always do.  Now to head home, kick our feet up and chill out for the evening.  But first, dinner has to be prepared.


Willpower is rock bottom now.  Decision fatigue is long gone.  But, we have one more major decision to make.  What food choices to prepare for our dinner that is going to fit with our diet.  Do we take the time to prepare something satiating, tasty, and will leave us feeling better about ourselves.  Or, do we go for the quick buck?  Grab the first thing to devour and end up feeling guilty the rest of the evening.  Finishing the day feeling like shit.

This is where preparation is key.  If we know what our daily routine looks like and how it makes us feel throughout, then placing small markers across our daily environment will help make these decisions easier.  Creating a path to dietary success.

This could be by preparing food and freezing the week or night before.  Packing our gym bag and taking it to work with us as a reminder to carry it out to after.  Setting timers to take breaks from your work to allow time for our stress levels to drop while we grab a drink, walk, and most likely a classic skive.

Basically, whatever works for you.



I sort of just answered my own question there did I?  I need to stop revealing myself too quickly.  This is why I keep getting into more situations than a Charlie Sheen and Miley Cyrus hybrid.  Minus the illegal ramifications, drink, and drugs.


Of course, there is more to this.  People who tend to have broken sleep patterns due to being shift workers, new parents, or struggle with insomnia can find it difficult for a number of reasons (some which I’ll explain later).  Couple this with the ole’ decision fatigue, someone can all of a sudden find themselves with more time in their day.  And in this case, they will more often than not consume all their meals and snacks long before they head to bed –assuming that they actually do.  This then leaves a lot of time to fill, and it tends to be filled with trips to the kitchen to do some subconscious ninja style snacking, and we both know that nobody in the right mind has ever snacked on salads.

Which then means…

High fat and carb choices ahoy.

This is really where the first double-edged sword comes into it.  With this, it intensifies our brain’s salience network.  Think of this as our pleasure signaling system.  And like I mentioned above, when we seek pleasure we definitely do not stand at a kitchen counter throwing together a salad with a multitude of filthy thoughts going through our heads.

I have never once thought about eating a salad from Scarlett Johansson’s semi-naked body.  But fajitas and ice cream with a side of craft beer?  Where the hell do I sign up?

Alrighty then, let’s steer this awkward ship back now Roy.

Due to the heightening of this pleasure signaling we crave only one type of foods.

Highly palatable foods.  

These are foods that tend to be more calorie dense (high calorie), nutrient poor (low nutrition) foods such as fat and carbs, though it’s mainly fat.  Increasing malnutritional choices.  Ramping up the ole’ calories in quick succession.  The next issue is that these foods are often non-satiating.  Meaning that we just keep eating away and grabbing more choices in an uncontrollable manner.  Not even paying attention most of the time in a zombie-like state, until its too late.

This then leads onto what’s else is going on under the hood.



Yes, I said the H word.

I’ve mentioned above about the effects of stress which causes cortisol to max out for long periods, so now to get into the dirt of this.

Note:  High cortisol is not a bad thing.  In fact, it can be very beneficial for fat loss, muscle, and strength goals.  It is when it cortisol is too high for long periods of time that this then becomes an issue.  Think of drinking your car at 100mph for hours on end.  Something negative is eventually going to happen.

We are all aware of stress and the importance of controlling it for our health.  Well, it just so happens that it kinda plays an important factor in weight management too.  Especially when paired up with sleep deprivation.

If we are spending our days fighting off poor choices due to a poor sleep cycle coupled with decision fatigue then the natural result of this is, of course, heightened stress.  The thing is, we are aware of it but more often than not do we do nothing about it.  It is the old adage of humans preferring to live in a state of suffering than resolution and comfort (we are a weird race that’s for sure).

When we eat we stress.  When we train we stress.  When we go to bed late we stress.  Then, when we wake up, our stress levels are extremely high.  It becomes a cycle of a never ending fuck-ton of stress.  Maxing out cortisol.  Aiding in the storage of body fat.

Not only that, there are the other hormonal imbalances that tag along for the ride.

First up, leptin.  The hunger suppressant hormone.  This dude helps tell us when we have had enough to eat and are now satisfied, definitely something that we want on our side.  But there are two main factors that mess it all up.  One being dieting for extreme levels of fat loss (think stage competitions, photoshoots, or anything that requires a nice defined set of six-pack abs).  The other is, you guessed it, sleep deprivation.  With this, leptin has shown in studies to have dropped by around 19% and possibly more when it comes to chronic sleep deprivation.  Double this up with dieting for fat loss and it’s going to take more abuse than Donald Trumps Twitter account.

Next up, Ghrelin.  If leptin if the hormone that signals hunger suppressant, then take a wild guess at what Ghrelin does?  Yup, you guessed it.  This promotes the feeling of hunger.  All of those times that you think that you are hungry is simply ghrelin knocking away at your brain.  Teasing you to just take a bite of that icing dripping custard filled mouth porn style doughnut.  Oh, and you know what happens when you are sleep deprived.  Again, you guessed it, it skyrockets.  Causing hunger –or the feeling of hunger– all the time.

At this point, you will be feeling like Luke Skywalker when he clocks on that Princess Leah is his sister, and he gave her the ole’ tongue punching to the mouth.


Leptin is through the ground.  Ghrelin is through the roof.  Cortisol is all over the place.  It’s a no-win situation.  All because your sleep is a mess.



Prioritise Sleep – Obvious, right?  The thing is, we don’t.  We tell ourselves that we will make up for it in the weekend but then make plans which sometimes results in being awake even later.  Rolling back around to feeling even more shitty on Monday.  The old Monday hatred.

Can you go to bed earlier?  Even 30 minutes earlier each night.  This will help so much more than you think.  If you struggle to fall asleep at night then try taking a hot shower or use some Epsom salts and take a bath.  Both of these will help relax you and prime you for sleep.

Lower Training Intensity – I know I get it.  We want to keep crushing it in the gym, but sometimes it is too much.  Causing more physical stress.  Preventing the body’s ability to lose fat.

Either swap out a workout for some conditioning work, such as mobility stretches, foam rolling, or some lower intense cardio such as a walk or swim.  It doesn’t need to be forever.  Just until things start to improve.

I’ve broken clients fat loss plateaus a number of times in the past by reviewing the amount of stress at work, in the gym, all the while trying to bottle-neck their free time to be busy.  So by reducing –or changing– their training slightly then all of a sudden the scales started to budge.  Voila.

Increase Calories – Sounds counterproductive.  But if a part of your increased stress levels is due to dieting, then creating a calorie increase to around just below maintenance for a week or two can help alleviate this.  Allowing you to then work on other areas with ease.

If you try to do too much at once then you can stress even more, or flat out fail.  So make one change.  Assess it, and follow it with another if need be.

Remove Electronics – If you have any electronic devices in the bedroom such as a bright LED alarm, TV, lightsaber, or even your mobile phone.  This can disrupt sleep due to the bright lights –or that absolute idiot who text or calls you late at night knowing full well that people actually sleep.

Aim to stop using anything with a bright screen such as a phone, tablet, or laptop around 30 minutes before bed to allow the brain to fall into a relaxed state.  The blue screen effects trigger the mind into working extra hard.  Trying to process information at an accelerated state and preventing melatonin from increasing, thus taking longer to fall into a deep sleep.

Lower Temperature – If it’s too hot in the bedroom (not like that you filthy minded…) then it will become too uncomfortable to relax and sleep.

Drop the temperature and lose some clothes.  Allow for your body’s natural body heat to comfort you rather than the artificial heat caused by your home’s heating system and layers of clothes.

Go For A Walk – Or find any other way to get some headspace.  We will fill our days with almost anything we can latch on to, again, causing more stress and fatigue.

Take time to go for a walk.  Listen to music.  Read a book.  Have a conversation.  Anything that will occupy and relax your mind more.  You do not need to be physically and mentally active all the time.

Create A Routine – Creating a consistent sleep cycle is important, much like having a diet, work, workout, and… any other routine.  If your body gets into a sleep routine then it will be more compliant in its overall function (focus, hunger, performance).

With that, you can aim to create a bedtime routine.  Winding down in a consistent and specific way.  A fw things I like to do is start to dim down the light around my place.  This includes on any electronics too.  On my iPhone, I have the nightshift mode set to begin at 7pm while on my laptop I use an all called f.lux which removed the bluescreen effect.  Removing any strain and allowing your brain to relax more within the times that you set it to be active.

Calm Down and Switch Off – It can be very hard to switch off the brain.  It’s a bit of a scumbag that way, and we don’t help it in any way.  Two things I find works really well to help settle it down are first, having a cut-off point for stimulant such as caffeine.  I head to bed at around 10pm so 4pm is my cut-off point since caffeine stays in your system for up to 6-7 hours.

Second, I try to take some time to do some journaling.  Just dump my thoughts onto paper.  this is great for any stresses that you may have in any way.  You may think journaling is not for you but you would be surprised at how effective just clearing your head and organising your thoughts can be.  Especially for removing stress.  If this is not your jam, then try doing some light reading for 10-15 minutes before you head to sleep.  Again, this is great for settling your thoughts and allowing your brain to switch gears and read itself for sleep.  The annoying thing is that it’s always when you are really into a book and you can only get one page in at a time before dosing off.



Lack of willpower/Self-control – Lack of sleep lowers our willpower and out minds ability to make a sensible decision.  Increasing the chances of snacking and binging.

Decision fatigue – Couples with the above, be aware that our brains energy depletes much like our bodies.  Increasing the chances of skipping the gym or eating more.

Sleep less.  Eat more – When we are awake more we will start to find things to do to occupy our mind.  Due to sleep deprivation, we tend to head to the kitchen or store.

Highly palatable foods – Sleep deprivation increased our malnutritional choices.  Meaning that we will automatically reach for high fat and/or carbohydrate foods.

Leptin decreases – The hunger suppressant hormone decreases.  Making it more difficult to be satisfied when finished.

Ghrelin increases – The hunger-signaling hormone increases.  Meaning that you will begin to feel hungry more of the time despite not actually being hungry.

P.S. If you are still awake after all that and fancy some super special private brain nuggets then feel free to enter your info below and you’ll get it straight to your inbox.  If not, that’s cool too.

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