Many of us are already aware of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) and how essential it is that the macronutrients you consume are packed with micronutrients in order to lead a healthy and happy life. However, there are some missing pieces to most peoples puzzle and that’s maxinutrients. Don’t worry, we’ll explain all!
What are maxinutrients?
Well, what we are referring to here are lifestyle factors such as sleep, sunlight exposure, stress and sex. Yes they all begin with S. These are areas that need just as much attention in your life as the macro and micronutrients. For many people the change is HUGE when they focus upon their maxinutrient status. Let’s cover each one in more detail by highlighting their importance and the impact they can have on your fat loss and health goals.
We may be starting to sound like a broken record here but sleep health is all too often ignored. Let us shout it from the roof tops – sleep is essential for health and fat loss! Just one night of poor sleep affects our insulin health, which means low energy and an insatiable appetite creep in which is hardly a great recipe for any fat loss goal. We could all do with longer in bed and better quality shut eye.
Why is sleep so important?
1) It enhances growth hormone (GH) secretion. When you’re asleep you’re in an anabolic state (muscle building) which enhances muscle repair, insulin health and improves your body’s utilisation of fat. Interestingly peak GH secretion is delayed if the onset of sleep is delayed, so the moral here is the earlier to bed the better to support any health and fat loss goals.
2) It will enhance energy and performance. This is a no brainer, if you get lots of better quality sleep you will recover faster, have more energy and perform better. If you have hit a training plateau start to make good sleep a priority and we guarantee within a week you will feel and see a huge difference.
3) You will hit your fat loss goal faster. When you get less sleep your body down regulates leptin, the hormone that helps tell you that you are full and it up regulates ghrelin, your hunger hormone. So essentially you will feel hungrier and less satiated all the time – not the best combo when you have a fat loss goal.
Maxinutrient Steps For Sleep:
1) Switch off evening stresses and communication such as email, mobile phones and social media by 8pm.
2) Have your lights low in the evening (use candles or salt lamps) as this encourages hormonal changes as your eyes detect the change in light and the body knows it’s time to prepare for sleep.
3) Have an Epsom salts bath. Magnesium is a great way to aid relaxation. Aim for 2-3 x 30 min soaks in an Epsom salts bath a week. We recommend purchasing a 25kg bag of the stuff from here: www.justasoap.co.uk.
4) Make your room as dark as possible and invest in an eye mask as light exposure at night can decrease melatonin (sleep hormone) by up to 50%.
5) Remove all electronic devises from the room as these can affect the depth and quality of sleep.
6) Take a magnesium supplement such as magnesium citrate, however, if it causes gastrointestinal issues opt for magnesium malate.
Chronic stress is no ones friend. It’s incredibly catabolic (breaks muscle down), increases fat storage and reduces sex drive by lowering testosterone – an incredibly important hormone for both men and women, especially when working towards fat loss goals. Acute stress is conversely a good thing, for example our morning increase in cortisol which gives us our get up and go for the day!
When cortisol is raised temporarily, it raises blood pressure and increases heart rate – a good thing for when we need to jump out of the way of an oncoming bus or run away from any kind of danger. This is cortisol doing its job but can you imagine being in this state for prolonged periods of time? It’s exhausting and can lead to adrenal fatigue.
Chronically elevated stress levels can affect sleep and you know how important that is. So it’s essential to chill out most of the time and just let cortisol do its job when we need it to.
Maxinutrient Steps For Beating Stress:
1) Get outdoors for a walk as often as possible.
2) Remove evening stresses by switching phone, laptop, emails and social media off.
3) Read for pleasure more.
4) Listen to music/podcasts.
5) Try some light exercise.
6) Start your day with a grateful though and focus on what’s really important in your life such as friends and family.
7) Make awesome plans so you always have things to look forward to.
8) Plan your days/weeks so you feel in control and don’t get overwhelmed.
Summer is not the only time we can benefit from sunlight exposure, or to be more precise exposure to UV rays, it’s important we get outside all year round and here’s why:
It increases vitamin D levels in the body. Vitamin D is fat-soluble vitamin (meaning it can only be absorbed when fat is present) that plays a key role in immune health, joint health, mood enhancement and hormonal balance. It’s found in a few foods such as eggs, seafood and smaller fish like sardine however we primarily obtain it from sunlight exposure. For this reason we often advise supplementation as most of us struggle to get enough daily rays. We cover this more here in our Sensible Supplements Guide.
You feel happier. Ever noticed how you feel happier in the summer? Of course the good weather and longer days help here as you naturally get outside more. When exposed to sunlight/daylight/UVB rays, studies have shown it to play a role in the release of endorphins. So the message here is whatever the weather get outside more.
It can aid melatonin regulation. This is your sleep hormone, have we mentioned how important sleep is?
Maxinutrient Steps For Sunlight Exposure:
1) Get outside as often as possible, aim for 1 hour daily.
2) Test levels and if necessary take a good quality D3 supplement such as Better You Vitamin D Spray.
3) Make saving for a holiday a priority.
Elevated stress for long periods of time leads your body to direct all cholesterol (the building blocks of our hormones) away from your sex hormones to stress hormone production – after all it’s more important that we survive than get fruity. This reduces your sex drive and can also start to effect our confidence. We don’t like this scenario because obviously sex is awesome and ‘gagging for it’ is a great sign of health. Sex gives you a great endorphin rush and is the perfect way to prepare for a good nights sleep. Truth is if you lack sex drive this could be a big sign that something is up (or down!)
Maxinutrient Steps To A Healthy Sex Life:
So many factors can affect our sex hormone balance, here’s what to do more of:
Avoid a low fat or low carbohydrate diet: Fats are essential for adequate hormone production and carbohydrates play an essential role in managing thyroid hormone health and balancing our master hormone insulin with cortisol output. If we knacker this lot up you can guarantee sex hormone production will be next.
Sleep More: This increases testosterone and growth hormone production.
Stress Less: Stress can inhibit testosterone production and promote fat storage.
Lift Weights: Weight lifting can increase testosterone, release endorphins and raise confidence whilst burning fat.
Please remember the above shouldn’t be in place of your regular training and awesome nutrition but simply added in to complement it. So please continue to train, move daily and eat awesome food but add the above maxinutrients to the equation to reach a whole new level of awesome!