Is Shift Work Stopping You From Losing Weight?

shift workAs you crawl under the covers of your bed each night, there are millions who are just beginning their work “day”. These shift workers on the “graveyard” or night shift experience several health challenges directly related to their reverse cycle lifestyle.

Nurses, law enforcement officers and firefighters represent the three largest groups who work while the world sleeps and many studies have been conducted to identify the unique demands placed on them. These include:

 

  1. The most obvious is the unhealthy disruption to the sleep-wake cycle. Shift work forces you to sleep at strange or varying times of day often resulting in reduced amounts of sleep but also lower quality of restful sleep. You may find that maintaining the same sleep schedule every day of the week, even on days off, will help align your body clock with your work schedule.
  2. Your body distinguishes day from night and also “knows” that you should be asleep when it’s dark outside, this internal body clock is known as circadian rhythm. Your body craves sleep, it revitalizes the body and allows it to rest and repair, and during the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. your body attempts to shut down whether you are home or working. If you work “nights” you’ve probably experienced this and had to struggle through this sluggish period.
  3. Your cognitive function slows as your brain is forced to stay awake when it wants to sleep. You will notice difficulty concentrating and focusing on the task at hand. You’ll reach for coffee and/or sodas and sugar as stimulants to help clear the brain fog, but it will only get worse.

Shift Work And Healthy Choices

Shift Workers often make poor decisions related to food and exercise. Donuts, pizza deliveries, vending machine snacks, sodas and candy bars are often go-to snacks in an attempt to stay awake and alert. Unfortunately, all of these “quick energy” choices also quickly raise your blood sugar followed by an immediate release of insulin. The hormone flood that follows will cause any excess calories to be stored as body fat.

 

to find a solution to this….

 

Gym or bed? You’ve just struggled through your 8, 10 or 12 hour graveyard shift, you’ve powered through that overwhelming internal need to just close your eyes and drift off to sleep. The sun is just coming up as you open the car door, where to now? Hit the gym or head home to that nice hot shower and bed…which would you choose? Or maybe you need to get home and ensure that your family gets off to work and school. Either way, most of us would opt for home and bed, further adding to your weight gain or limiting your weight loss.

Shift workers make bad food choices and often avoid exercise. This combination, if not corrected, will lead to weight gain and chronic health conditions that could be prevented by healthier meals and an unwavering commitment to regular exercise.

 

Looking for a way to get out of this cycle? to set up a consultation, we’re happy to help!

 

Is Body Fat Percentage Important?

body fat percentage

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does Body Fat Percentage Matter?

There is mounting evidence that your body fat percentage is a far more important biometric (health factor) than your weight. Measuring body fat percentages and body part inches are considered more accurate forms of tracking fitness and health progress as opposed to using scales alone.

Second only to your own perceived appearance in the mirror, body fat percentage is important when deciding to start any fitness, diet or weight loss program. Understanding the importance of  your body fat percentage and learning how to lower are equally important.

 

Why is your body fat percentage important?

 

  1. Scales measure only weight, a 150 pound woman weighs 150 pounds regardless of whether here body fat percentage is 15% or 50%, but those two extremes would appear very differently in a mirror.
  2. Better method to track progress. If your fitness goal includes reducing fat and increasing lean muscle mass, your scale will not help track your progress, or lack of progress. To accurately measure fat loss and muscle gain, use your body fat percentage as a base.
  3. Too little or too much? Your body fat insulates, cushions, regulates body temperature and stores fuel for emergencies, but too much fat causes problems and increases your risk of chronic diseases and conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, etc. How do you know where you stand in regards to lean-to-fat ratio if you do not measure it?
  4. Determine your ideal body fat percentage and make that your new goal. If your current goal is to lose XX pounds, consider switching to “I will decrease my body fat from 35% to 25% in 3 months.” Losing pounds is similar to “I will stop smoking”, they both have negative connotations and are successful through eliminating or depriving your body. While decreasing body fat can be achieved by positive actions, clean eating, exercise and increasing lean muscle. No calorie counting required.


How is Body fat measured?

There are several different methods for measuring body fat, some are more accurate than others. Hydrostatic weighing, being submerged in a huge tank, and other high-tech approaches are expensive and difficult to find. There are also hand-held electronic devices and scales which measure body fat, these are often inaccurate. As your fitness professional what they have access to to get a baseline. I’m had been using the Bod Pod and I’m now using a Styku for measurements.

How much fat? Women have much higher levels of essential fat relative to men due to physiological differences including hormones, breasts, and sexual characteristics. An example of recommended body fat percentages:

 

Fit Female: 21-245%

Average Female: 25-31%

Obese Female: Over 32%

 

Fit Male: 14-17%

Average Male: 18-24%

Obese Male: Over 25%