For many of the clients I work with, sleeping in the dark is one of the most effective and easiest ways to greatly speed their fat loss efforts and improve their health. This is one of those proverbial, “low-hanging fruits”; habits that are very powerful for health change but require very little effort.

I’ve seen simply sleeping in a completely dark room completely change the way someone responded to a specific diet. When I started sleeping in complete darkness, I noticed my length and depth of sleep objectively improve. Most of you probably know that sleep is important, but I think very few people actually have any idea how important it is; not only for fat loss and muscle recovery, but for you nervous system, hormones, brain, and immune system. With the improvement in sleep, I noticed some rather remarkable improvements in muscle recovery. At the the same time I had the ability to be much more lenient with my diet, without gaining fat. 

A 2010 study in the Precedings for the Natural Academy of Science found that exposing mice to light at night caused them to eat more food and increase their body mass. 

“Mice housed in either bright or dim light at night have significantly increased body mass and reduced glucose tolerance compared with mice in a standard (LD) light/dark cycle, despite equivalent levels of caloric intake and total daily activity output”

As you can see from this quote from the authors, this effect was constant with dim light or bright light, although bright light was still worse. Scientists have been aware of these effects for some time, as decreased sleep duration is consistently linked with increased fat mass in longitudinal studies.

This is why I say this is nearly non-negotiable for my clients. Some people have suggested that covering the eyes is good enough, however this is not true. The skin also has photoreceptors that sense the presence of light, and another recent study showed that just exposing the back of the knee to a small light disrupted normal hormone rhythm.

 So how do you do it?

  1. Make sure all sources of direct light are turned off – no night lights.
  2. Cover any windows or doorways with fabric or black-out blinds that completely block incoming light.
  3. Turn of or cover  all electronics. Yes, this even means your phone (especially you iphone junkies). Get an alarm that doesn’t emit light, not even LED numbers.
  4. Do whatever it takes to make your room so dark you can’t see your fingers in front of your face. 
If you do this, look forward to seeing some really nice benefits. It’s how humans are designed to sleep so just do it… As one of my friends always says, it’s one of those things that so easy to do… but at the same time so easy not to do.
Anybody have experience with switching to complete darkness? Let’s hear about it in the comments.

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I’ve noticed a lot of co-workers and friends getting sick lately, and now that we’re really getting in to cold and flu season, many people have been asking for tips on how to keep from catching a cold or the flu. Here are some tips on how to boost your immune system and decrease the likelihood of an infection, as well as decrease the severity and length of the symptoms if you do get sick. 

  1. Get Enough Sleep
    Sleep is incredibly important for repair and maintenance of nearly all your body systems. Hormones, neurotransmitters, immune cells, and digestive processes all depend on sleep for normal functioning. After sundown and while you sleep, melatonin production increases as part of humans’ natural circadian rhythms. This in turn increases immune cytokine function which decreases the risk of infection. This is why the likelihood of you getting sick is so much higher after a few nights of poor sleep. A study from the University of California demonstrated that even minor sleep loss weakens the immune system response to disease.Get at least 8-9 hours a night.

  2. Avoid Toxic Foods
    Food toxins generate an immune response that compromises our ability to fight back against viruses and bacteria. Also, infections feed off of sugar, so decreasing the intake of high-sugar foods will help prevent them from taking over. The top things to avoid:
    – Sugar 

    – Wheat
    – Soy
    – Industrial Seed Oils

  3.  Eat Fermented Foods
    Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, beneficial bacteria that form the first line of defense against infections in our gut and respiratory system. Things like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and kefir are rich in probiotics and are highly beneficial for the gut. Keeping your gut healthy is of the utmost importance, over 70% of your immune system is in the gut.

  4. Targeted supplementation

    – Vitamin D:
    Since beginning supplementing Vitamin D over 2 years ago, I haven’t got any serious infections, and many clients report the same. A 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a 64% decrease in influenza A infections in children that began supplementing with Vitamin D.

    Vitamin C: Can also be useful in fighting off colds, take 1 gram every 4 hours when you feel the onset of symptoms.

    – Iodine:  
    Another immune boosting nutrient, start at a low dose (400 mcg) and work up to a mg dosage.

  5. Wash Your Hands Frequently
    This is a pretty obvious but studies show that this is one of the most important factors in preventing sickness. Wash your hands whenever you arrive somewhere around or when you get home. Don’t use antibacterial soap though- these lead to resistant bacteria in the environment. 
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Sleep Infographic

Posted: 30th November 2011 by tyler in sleep

Another nice infographic, this one on sleep:

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Posture Infographic

Posted: 30th November 2011 by tyler in posture

Another good infographic, on posture:

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New Snatch World Record: 214 kg

Posted: 16th November 2011 by tyler in performance, sport, strength

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