Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Summer  can  arguably  be  the  best  season  of  them  all,  especially  here  in  the  high  country. Welcoming rays of sunshine entice you to walk through these hilly terrains to take your breath away. Although the great exchange for a crisp mountain breeze to fill your lungs with the best Carolina air is priceless. If only a portion of vacation’s rest could carry over into the fall and winter seasons, then it would be perfect. This month is the best chance to further train your summer body and improve in one’s sleep hygiene. According to the National Sleep Foundation, almost 30% of the adult population report sleeping in shorter durations (six or fewer hours of rest each night). This public health concern can  lead  to  increased  risk  for  obesity,  cardiovascular  disease,  and  all-cause morbidity (Insufficient sleep: Evaluation and management, Maski K., Jun 2019). Hence, the demand to enhance one’s sleep quality remains at chief priority in hopes to reverse these unfortunate results.
As  we  all  need  some  sort  of  time  reset  and  rejuvenate  the  purpose  of  sleep  is  largely misunderstood. Some believe sleep’s true intention may be for memory consolidation, restoration, or even energy conservation. Some much takes place during the four stages of sleep, yet our main goal remains  to  only  target  criteria  of  time  to  rest  to  quantify  it  as  sufficient.  Specifically,  the  target time frames  vary  with  lifetimes  as  infants  should  aim  for  16-18  hours  daily,  young  adults  –  adults seven to nine hours maximum, and those 65 years or older seven to eight hours daily. Other factors outside  of  duration  do  contribute  to  a  better  quality  of  sleep  as  well  and  may  reduce  wake  times throughout  the night or delay sleep onset (Stages and Architecture of Normal Sleep, Kirsch D., Jun 2019).
Do you struggle to fall asleep after going to bed? Try practicing a routine before placing your head to a pillow, and be sure to adhere to a schedule. Attempt to awaken within the same hour each morning and use a journal to log your durations if necessary. For those tempted by a daytime nap, be sure  to  limit  it  to  a  half-hour  at  most  before  sleep  inertia  settles.  Otherwise  known  as  a  period described  as  a  diminished  sense  of  alertness and decreased cognition after waking. One of the best and most beneficial routines to train your body to easily attain sleep is to exercise!
The importance to improve bodily health is impeccable, but failing to give attention to sleep hygiene  may  reverse  those  goals  recently  achieved  in  the  gym.  Always  strive  to  sleep  your appropriate  duration  and  set  your  surroundings  so  that  you  may have the best potential rest. Relax and exercise and repeat so you may embrace long term health for lifelong bliss.

Insufficient sleep: Evaluation and management, Maski K., Jun 2019, Retrieved Jul 12, 2019
Stages and Architecture of Normal Sleep, Kirsch D., Jun 2019, Retrieved Jul 10, 2019

By:  Javari Crowther


Goal Setting

I’ve been working as a personal trainer since 2013, and in that time I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of really great people. The great thing about being a trainer is that everyone is unique. Age, fitness level, and physical limitations all impact the type of training programs I develop, but the single biggest, and most diverse factor, is the objective of the client. Some want weight loss, some are after strength, and others want to get better at their favorite sport. Over the years I’ve tried to guide my clients down a steady path of progress toward their goals following three main principles, and today I want to take the time to explain these so that you too may walk to road of success.

What exactly do you want to do?

I’ve found that one thing that can really help with achieving a fitness goal is to be quite specific when setting it. This may seem obvious, but it is a very important first step, as we can only measure our success if we first define what success is. I often hear “I want to lose weight”, which is a fine goal, but how much? By when? Answering these questions really help frame our exercise and put each day into context. Rather than saying “I want to lose weight”, putting it this way would be better:

“I want to lose 5 pounds by the end of next month.”


Get Outside!

man with backpack hikingAccording to some recent studies, the increase in urbanization and lack of green spaces has a direct correlation to an increase in mental illness.  Research shows that recreating in nature improves mental health by relieving anxiety and the occurrence of negative thoughts, which can result in a lower risk of depression (“First in Science: Outdoor Recreation Improves Mental Health – National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL)”, 2018).  Natural light increases your serotonin, which is one of your body’s feel-good chemicals, contributing to an overall sense of well-being.  Sunlight also provides us with vitamin D, promoting calcium absorption, reducing inflammation, and increasing immune function.

Physical activity in the outdoors can be exhilarating and offer challenges that give one a real sense of accomplishment, improving self-esteem, as well as encouraging growth.  Being outdoors can even be therapeutic and has helped many who have suffered from severe trauma.

Fortunately, the High Country offers plenty of land dedicated to outdoor recreation.  With mild temperatures in the spring and summer, those from off the mountain have been flocking to this area to escape the heat for decades. The climate provides a comfortable environment for participating in all sorts of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, water sports, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, cycling, climbing, and bouldering.   If you are new to any of these activities, you will usually find the outdoor community is welcoming and more than happy to offer some assistance.  For more information about getting involved or finding the right gear for your new outdoor endeavor, visit http://www.exploreboone.com/outdoors/


First in Science: Outdoor Recreation Improves Mental Health – National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL). (2018, September 18). Retrieved May 10, 2019, from https://www.ncel.net/2018/07/09/first-in-science-outdoor-recreation-improves-mental-health/

By: Michael Darling

Maximizing Fat Loss

When most people think about fat loss, they usually think cardiovascular exercise is the only means of burning calories and losing weight. Resistance training is a great way to lose weight as well. Combining the two can be the most powerful way for fat loss success.

Advantages of Resistance Training for Fat Loss

Strength training helps your body build muscle. Having a higher muscle percentage in the body raises your resting metabolic rate. This requires your body to expend more energy throughout the day to keep your bodily systems flowing. This increases the number of calories burned per day. An important part of resistance training is helping maintain the muscle you already have. When you lose weight, you lose a combination of fat and muscle. Resistance training helps to maintain the muscle already there while burning off the excess fat.

Advantages of Cardio for Fat loss

Cardio has an advantage of allowing you to exercise at a moderate intensity for a much longer time period when compared to resistance training. This allows you to maintain exercise longer in order to burn more calories and in return, allows you to burn off fat more quickly. Cardio can also be done more frequent when compared to resistance training due to recovery time. Cardio allows you to vary the intensity more easily in order to boost your calorie burn.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is considered one of the best cardiovascular exercises. It involves burst of strenuous exercise followed by a rest/much lower intensity period. Resistance exercises can also be added into this type of training. This training increases your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Consuming extra oxygen in a longer recovery phase from training allows for a greater increase in energy expenditure. This will cause you to lose fat more quickly. The important thing is finding what works best for you and sticking with it. Don’t stick with cardio because you’re scared of the weight room. Sign up with one of our trainers to get a well balanced exercise program designed just for you. You’ll see fat loss in no time!

Hands, Feet, & Mind: The Tools of the Warrior

On Mondays & Thursdays at 8:15 the Wellness Center offers a kickboxing class that is unlike a traditional kickboxing class. If you attend with the intent of a Tae Bo style class, you are mistaken. This class focuses on fitness first, defense second and great community third.
Each class is different focusing on different skills, partner work, and more. However, it’s not for the faint of heart. You’ll be tested physically and mentally though the 45 minute class, but the experience you receive is like none other.
Modeled after traditional Muay Thai (Thai boxing) training, with each striking part of the body utilized. The arms, legs, knees, and elbows are all moving during class to receive a workout unrivaled by any other. Additionally, pairing with a partner allows for your mind to become a tool to be honed and improved upon.
No class is identical. Each experience is unique. The skills you gain are not only for fitness, but for having the ability to defend yourself also. You come in not knowing what you are capable of, and leave feeling empowered.
Join the community of fighters who see an improvement in their lives both physically and mentally. Join us on Mondays & Thursdays at 8:15.

By, Martin Hubner MS, Pn1

The Myth Behind Youth Weight Training

For years weight training has been a topic of discussion for today’s adolescent. This is due to the most common myth that early resistance training will stunt their growth due to damage of the growth plates that control the lengths and shapes of their bones. The issue with this is that weightlifting itself does not cause the damage, the damage to the growth plates come from improper form which causes undue stress to the growing areas. Take a barbell squat for example; the lift needs to be done correctly to assure the growth plates at the knees are protected. If the lift is done incorrectly there is a greater amount of stress directed towards the growth plates, which ultimately causes the damage.  As long as the weightlifting movements are done correctly direct injury can be avoided. (more…)