Greens Powders – What You Need To Know

Are you curious if green powders are worth your time and money?

Green powders are supplements that have taken the media by storm. Everywhere you look, there seems to be a new brand popping up.

But is the hype around them warranted? While green powders are high in nutrients, they’re probably not the answer to all your health issues. 

In today’s article, I will give a dietitian’s perspective on what green powders are, the pros and cons, and what to look for if you decide to buy one. Keep reading to learn more! 

If you’re looking for more posts on supplements, I highly recommend checking out my blog article on collagen next!

What are Green Powders?

Green powders are powered supplements that contain various ingredients marketed to boost your health. 

The base of green powders is typically fruits and vegetables. They may include spinach, kale, collards, wheatgrass, berries, herbs, carrots, kelp, etc. 

Then, depending on the brand, they may add other ingredients; some contain anywhere from 25 to 40 different ingredients! 

Examples of other ingredients that get added to green powders:

  • Probiotics and prebiotics
  • Mushrooms
  • Fibers
  • Green tea/matcha
  • Other nutrients

Green powders dissolve when you mix them with water or juice. Some people also like to throw them inside a smoothie. 

These powders are intended to provide a high amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, potentially to fill in gaps in someone’s diet. 

However, if you’ve ever looked at the marketing for green powders, they’re likely making tons of other health claims. Boosting immunity, increasing longevity, improving skin health… the list goes on! 

What are the Pros and Cons of Green Powders?

If you’re curious about green powders, knowing the pros and cons is essential before deciding to purchase them. So, let’s get into a few of each. 

Be Weary Of…

  1. Limited research.

    There is currently very limited research out there that shows green powders are beneficial for your health. Until more research is done, it is hard to say that any health claims on packaging are valid. In fact, they can often be very misleading for consumers.

  2. Expensive.

    Green powders can come with a steep price. Depending on the brand, you’re looking at between $30-$60+ per container. This is likely more expensive than buying regular whole fruits and vegetables when broken down by serving size.

  • Shouldn’t replace whole fruits and vegetables.

    My motto is: you can never out-supplement a poor diet. If your diet severely lacks nutritional quality, a powered supplement won’t cure all your problems. It’s more important to focus on whole-food sources of nutrients and antioxidants first before turning to a supplement form. 

  • Extremely high amounts of nutrients.

    Too much of anything can turn into a bad thing. The same goes for vitamins and minerals! It is likely that many of you are already getting in your daily nutrition needs, and overdoing it on nutrients can actually be harmful to your health. 

Encouraging Points…

  • Can fill in gaps in your diet.

    One pro of green powders is that they can help to fill in any gaps in your diet. If you’re someone who refuses to eat fruits and vegetables or has a hard time getting them in, you may benefit from taking them in a powdered form. 

  • May be beneficial while traveling.

    If you know your diet will be lacking in nutritional value during certain parts of your life, a green powder may be helpful. Examples include while traveling or recovering from illness/surgery. 

  • Potentially more bioavailable.

    Powered foods move through your digestive tract and get absorbed faster than solid foods. That being said, green powders may potentially be more bioavailable than regular fruits and veg. If you’re someone with a poor working digestive tract, a green powder could be helpful for this reason. However, it is important to remember that the research in this area is limited. 

What to Look For When Purchasing

Let’s say you do decide to purchase a greens supplement, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. 

Third-party testing

First off, and this goes for any supplement you buy, you want to check that it has gone through third-party testing of some kind. 

Third-party testing means that the supplement underwent a certification process to ensure no unwanted ingredients or contaminants are inside the powder.

You’d be surprised what ends up sneaking into supplements! This is especially important if you’re an athlete who gets urine tested. 

A recent scientific paper highlighted that they found unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients in 776 dietary supplements between the years 2007-2016. Scary, right?! 

Ingredient lists

On that note, the second thing to keep in mind is the ingredient list. Depending on the brand, some companies may add extra ingredients to the powder. 

For example, many people are sensitive to artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. If this happens to be you, you’ll want to look out for these on ingredient lists.

Another example is with ingredients such as inulin that contain high amounts of fiber. 

While you do need dietary fiber, too much at one time can cause poor digestive symptoms such as bloating and irregular bowel movements. 

Green Powders: The Takeaway

All in all, it is up to you as the consumer to make an informed decision on whether green powders are right for you. 

Key takeaways to remember:

  • Green powders should never replace real fruits and vegetables in your diet
  • If you do decide to buy one, make sure it’s third-party tested and that you check the ingredient label for unwanted ingredients
  • Talk with your healthcare team before starting any supplement, as high amounts of certain nutrients can interact with medications

Are you looking for guidance and support in navigating your health journey? With all the noise out there, it can be hard to do it all alone!

I offer premium 1:1 nutrition coaching services with a science-based approach. If your goals are to feel more confident, get stronger, and lose body fat in the gym, then you’d be a great fit!

Head over to my services page to learn more about my current offers and secure your spot today. 

The Impacts of Alcohol on Your Health: Ask the Dietitian

Are you curious about a dietitian’s take on the impacts of alcohol on your health? Alcohol is a substance that is widely drunk across the world.

Whether you are celebrating a birthday, attending a wedding, or simply going out for dinner, alcohol is offered at countless restaurants and sold at almost every grocery store.

But what impact is this substance having on your overall health? One of my jobs as a dietitian is to educate my nutrition clients on alcohol intake and how it could be affecting their health goals. 

Keep reading to learn more about how alcohol influences your body, including its impact on weight loss, athletic performance, and sleep quality. I also provide you with alcohol dosages and guidelines to follow if you do decide to drink. 

Looking to binge more health content? Make sure to check out my post on Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport or RED-S!

Basics of Alcohol

Alcohol is an organic compound that is produced by the natural fermentation of sugars. Ethanol is the kind of alcohol that is safe for us humans to drink. 

The rate at which your body absorbs alcohol will depend on a variety of factors. It is important to note that alcohol is absorbed quickest when you drink it on an empty stomach. 

About 95% of alcohol is metabolized inside your body in your liver, and the rest comes out in your urine. 

Before alcohol gets metabolized, it is distributed throughout the water in your body to your tissues, including your heart, brain, lungs, and muscles. 

Here is a brief overview of ways alcohol can impact your body:

  • Alcohol is known as a sedative and mild anesthetic, meaning it helps your body relax and blocks pain.
  • It triggers a release of neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin aka your feel-good chemicals.
  • Alcohol may cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, flushing, sweating, visual impairments, unsteadiness, slurred speech, and more. 

Impacts of Alcohol on Your Health

Because alcohol releases two toxins called acetaldehyde and acetic acid, it is considered a toxin. When overconsumed, your liver can’t keep up, and alcohol can negatively impact many parts of your body. 

Diseases linked to alcohol consumption include:

  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastritis
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome

Chronic disease shouldn’t be your only consideration when talking about alcohol. It can also have lasting impressions on your weight loss goals, athletic performance, and sleep quality. 

Let’s dive deeper into these three next! 

Alcohol and Weight Loss

Many people are curious about how alcohol can impact their weight loss goals. After all, if you are on a weight loss journey, it is essential to be aware of how your drinking habits may influence your weight. 

There is no question that reducing the amount of alcohol you drink can be beneficial for weight loss

Alcohol contains seven calories per gram; many call these “empty calories” because they aren’t giving you much nutritional benefits. 

In addition to the calories in the alcohol itself, you have to keep in mind whatever mixers you are using as well. Drink mixers are often filled with refined sugars, which can start to add up in calories. 

If you are repeatedly throwing back margaritas at the bar, those calories and grams of sugar are going to compound on one another and potentially take you out of your calorie deficit.

A calorie deficit means you are eating fewer calories than you are exerting and is important for weight loss. When you drink extra calories from alcohol, it is easy to fall out of your calorie deficit and start gaining weight rather than losing. 

Another factor to consider is when you are drinking, your decision-making skills become impaired. This leads some people to binge on foods and overeat foods they normally wouldn’t, such as fast food and junk food. 

So, what if you do decide to drink? My best advice for weight loss is to choose mixer options that are lower in calories and sugar, such as lime juice or sparkling water. A glass of red wine can also be a good, weight-loss-friendly drink option. 

Alcohol and Athletic Performance

Now, especially if you are an athlete or an avid exerciser, you may be wondering about how alcohol impacts athletic performance. 

How alcohol affects your individual performance will depend on the quantity, your demographic, and the type of exercise you are completing. 

Overall, research has confirmed that short-term alcohol use impairs motor skills, hydration status, and aerobic performance.

It is definitely less common to drink alcohol before you perform or train, but it is used widely used as a “celebratory drink” afterward. 

However, drinking alcohol after events isn’t ideal. It has been shown to negatively influence recovery progress, making it more likely that you will feel sore and recover slower. The reason for this is that alcohol dehydrates your body even further, delaying your recovery time. 

If you do choose to drink after a workout or event, make sure you are rehydrating with extra electrolytes and fluids. Hydration mixes such as Liquid IV can help replenish your levels and help you with some of the effects (but not all!).

Can Alcohol Impact Your Sleep?

Another area of your health that alcohol may have an effect on is your sleep. I’m sure you are aware of how important a quality night’s rest is for your overall health and longevity. 

Getting adequate sleep protects you against chronic disease, supports weight loss, improves athletic performance, and much more! 

So, what impact does alcohol have on sleep? While alcohol does make you feel relaxed and potentially “sleepy,” it actually has a negative effect on your sleep cycle. 

When your blood alcohol levels are high before bed, your sleep cycle gets disrupted and leads to poorer quality of sleep. In turn, you end up feeling more sleepy and sluggish when you wake up.

If you have drunk alcohol in the past, you probably know this feeling! The day after drinking can hit you hard, and it is likely you’ll rely on caffeine to help power you through your day. 

However, this can be a vicious cycle that can have lasting impressions on your health. Chronic sleep deprivation and insomnia are serious issues, and consistently using alcohol will only make this worse. 

If you do drink, try to leave as much time as you can between when you drink and when you fall asleep. This allows your body to metabolize the alcohol, and it is less likely that it will disturb your REM or deep sleep. 

Alcohol Dosages and Recommendations

The point of this article is not to discourage you from stopping drinking entirely! Alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation if you choose to do so. 

That being said, there are certain dosages and guidelines that should be followed if you want to have minimal impacts on your health.

Alcohol intake guidelines:

  • For women: 1 drink or less/day
  • For men: 2 drinks or less/day

What is considered one drink of alcohol? One alcoholic beverage is equivalent to a 12 oz glass of beer, ~5 oz pour of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (vodka, tequila, etc). 

Heavy drinking is associated with a whole host of health problems. Heavy drinking in women would be classified as having seven or more drinks per week, and in men having 14 or more drinks per week.

As a health professional, I personally wouldn’t recommend drinking every day of the week. Limiting your intake to a few drinks a week or for special occasions will be more beneficial for your health!

The Bottomline

As an alcohol drinker, it is important to make an informed decision about the amount you decide to drink. If you have weight loss or athletic goals, you may want to consider drinking less alcohol and being more strategic about your intake. 

Here are a few key takeaways from this article:

  • Alcohol is considered a toxin and should be consumed in moderate amounts, which is 1 drink or less a day for women and 2 drinks or less a day for men. 
  • Going above these guidelines can have negative effects on your athletic performance and overall sleep quality. 
  • Alcohol can hinder your weight loss goals if you aren’t using it strategically and in moderation. 
  • It is up to you to make informed choices when it comes to drinking for your health! 

Are you looking for support in other areas of your health? Do you feel overwhelmed with all the nutrition information out there and don’t know where to start? My 1:1 nutrition coaching is a great option for you!

Head over to my services page to learn more about how to work with myself and my team. There is no better time to invest in your health! 

Collagen Supplements: How Do They Work and Do You Need It?

Are collagen supplements right for you? As a registered dietitian, clients often come to me asking what supplements they should take.

With all the supplements on the market, it can take time to determine what will benefit you and whether research supports them.

Collagen has been a trending supplement for years for its potential to improve joint, skin, and overall health. It is often used by athletes and people undergoing physical therapy for injury recovery.

So in today’s article, I will be breaking down what collagen is, the different forms of collagen, and some benefits it can have for your health.

Let’s dive in!

Looking for more evidence-based nutrition content? If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my blog on how much protein you really need next!

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most common protein found in your body and helps repair and build your body’s skin, muscles, bones, and organs. It contains essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, that are important for the repair and formation of connective tissues.

Collagen’s central role in the body is to replenish, strengthen, and support your body.

A few examples of this include replacing dead skin cells, helping to clot your blood, and maintaining the elasticity of your skin.

There have been 28 types of collagen identified in our bodies that differ in molecular structure.

However, there are five most common types:

  • Type I is the most common, making up 90% of your body’s collagen. It is involved in the structure of your skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Type II rebuilds joint cartilage and increases the range of motion of your joints.
  • Type III is the second most common type of collagen and supports your gut, muscles, blood vessels, and some organs.
  • Type IV is mainly in the layers of your skin.
  • Type V is found in your eyes and helps facilitate your vision. It also supports your liver and lungs.

Dietary Sources of Collagen

As you age, you produce less collagen in your skin naturally, so it is helpful to include collagen-rich foods in your diet alongside a potential supplement.

Collagen-rich foods include:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Bone broth

Bonus tip: Vitamin C

Did you know that vitamin C helps your body absorb and produce collagen? This can lead to greater improvements when taking a collagen supplement. Make sure to include foods full of vitamin C in your daily diet for maximum benefits!

Vitamin C-rich foods include:

  • Citrus fruits (oranges, orange juice, lemon, grapefruit)
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers

Different Forms of Collagen & Their Dosage

Collagen supplements and enriched food products are an increasingly popular way to get more collagen.

When looking at collagen found in food and supplements, it is typically in one of the three most common forms.

Hydrolyzed Collagen

Hydrolyzed collagen is most commonly used in supplements because your body can easily absorb it. Depending on the use of collagen, doses vary from 2.5 grams to 40 grams per day. I know this feels like a large range but a general recommendation is 5 to 15 grams per day.

Undenatured Collagen

Undenatured collagen is typically used to improve joint pain in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The recommended dose is much lower than hydrolyzed collagen at 40 mg daily.


Gelatin is not usually sold as a supplement but instead is an ingredient in gelatinous desserts. This type of collagen is cooked but is also used to make sauces, soups, and smoothies as a supplement. For dosing, it is best to refer to the serving size on the package.

You can take collagen supplements in both a powder or capsule form. They are typically derived from either animal or marine sources.

Powders even come in flavored varieties such as Vital Protein’s chocolate collagen powder. This is a great option to throw into a smoothie with frozen banana or mixed into hot oatmeal for a collagen boost.

If you aren’t sure of an exact amount to take, it is best to check the serving size on your supplement or consult with your healthcare team.

Who Can Benefit From Collagen Supplements?

Collagen has many benefits outside of its role in your body’s structure. Here is more information about the effects of collagen supplementation in different groups of people.

Physical Therapy for Injury

Collagen is an excellent complement to physical therapy for healing an injury. Studies show that collagen can improve joint function and mobility. It can also reduce the pain associated with the injury making physical therapy more comfortable.

Many patients going through physical therapy use collagen as a supplemental tool to help speed up injury recovery. One of the key benefits of collagen is its ability to improve how fast your skin tissue regenerates.

Even more, recent research says that collagen may be able to reduce inflammation in your body. Inflammation is a common concern in physical therapy patients.

General Health

Collagen has lots of overall general health benefits as well!

Your bones are made mostly of collagen, and your bone mass decreases as you age. Collagen in your body also declines with age.

Studies show that collagen supplements can lower the loss of bone density over time which can help prevent osteoporosis. It also can improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain.

Next, collagen plays a big role in hair, nail, and skin health. By giving your body the valuable amino acids inside collagen, you can strengthen your nails and promote hair growth.

Last thing to note is that collagen supplements may be able to heal and repair gut health. Science is up and coming about using collagen to help with uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as bloating.


Collagen supplements are popular among the athletic community for many reasons. Since collagen is made up of amino acids like glycine, it can potentially improve your muscle strength and endurance.

A study in older men found that when compared to men who didn’t take collagen, those who took 15 grams of collagen after exercise gained more muscle mass and strength.

Additionally, collagen is commonly associated with exercise recovery because it stimulates muscle growth and improves recovery time. This can further reduce your risk of injury which is very important for athletes!

The Bottomline

All in all, it is up to you and your healthcare team to make an informed decision if a collagen supplement is right for you. Here are few key takeaways from this article: 

  • Collagen is essential in your body and helps repair and build your body’s skin, muscles, bones, and organs.
  • It is helpful to include collagen-rich foods and sources of vitamin C in your diet to maintain healthy collagen production in your body.
  • Collagen supplements can be beneficial at a dose generally between 5-15 grams daily. Most collagen supplements provide a serving size that you can also use as a recommendation.
  • Collagen is highly beneficial for general health and healing injuries in conjunction with physical therapy and athletic recovery.

Are you looking for long-term, sustainable solutions for your health goals? Are you tired of feeling restricted with your food choices and like you must “miss out” on life to achieve these goals?

If you answered yes to these questions, my 1:1 nutrition coaching services would be the perfect fit for you! We work together to develop a personalized plan to help you look and feel the best you’ve ever been.

To learn more about my program and apply today, head over to this link!

RED-S: Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport and its Effect On Athletes

RED-S or Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport is a serious condition that can negatively impact both male and female athletes.

Staying adequately fueled is essential for athletes. You consistently burn energy daily from simply doing everyday tasks. With prolonged exercise, your body burns even more energy. To replace this lost energy, you have to consume energy from food in the form of calories.

Because athletes are burning more energy with their increased exercise, they need to eat more calories to compensate. If you aren’t getting enough calories, your body doesn’t have enough energy to keep up with your exercise demands.

This deficiency in calories can have serious short and long term effects on your body. Eventually it could lead to developing low energy availability, also known as Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, or RED-S.

Keep reading to learn more about what RED-S is, common symptoms to watch out for, and my best dietitian-approved tips to prevent and treat RED-S.

What is RED-S?

Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) refers to poor health and worsening athletic performance when athletes are not taking in enough fuel to support their training demands.

You may have heard of the former name of RED-S, known as the Female Athlete Triad, which was changed to include both women and men. This previously referred to female athletes who were underfueling and overexercising, causing three main symptoms: disordered eating, irregular menstruation, and bone loss.

Now, RED-S encompasses a larger list of symptoms that both men and women experience. An athlete’s risk for RED-S increases as they continue to exercise without refueling properly.

Certain sports see an increase in RED-S when athletic success is tied to a thin or small body that can cause disordered eating habits. Such sports include but aren’t limited to figure skating, gymnastics, and diving.

Other sports with frequent weigh-ins, like wrestling and lightweight rowing, can cause athletes to cut back on calories and seek extreme measures to make weight.

Symptoms of RED-S

The signs of symptoms of RED-S differ for every athlete. RED-S is frequently undiagnosed because the symptoms either go unnoticed or may be mistaken for another illness or disorder.

The most common symptoms of RED-S to look out for include:

  • Fatigue
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Irritability, anxiety, and depression
  • Hair loss
  • Trouble staying warm
  • Low libido (male athletes)
  • Missed periods or delayed puberty (female athletes)
  • Frequent illness
  • Increased injuries
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dehydration

Consequences of RED-S

RED-S is brought on by either not eating enough fuel and/or exercising too much. When you have a low availability of energy, your body’s functions start to not work properly. It will try to compensate for the lack of energy available, disrupting your hormonal and metabolic systems.

The development of RED-S can have serious consequences on not only athletic performance but also overall health.

Protein synthesis: By not consuming enough calories as an athlete, you reduce the protein synthesis in your body. This leads to muscle loss and slow recovery after training. Even though you exercise more, your body is too exhausted to turn your training into building muscle.

Bone health: RED-S puts immense stress on the body,, affecting hormones like cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone. Because of this, bone density is negatively affected and can lead to irreversible bone loss in athletes. Bone loss increases your risk of fractures and injuries, a major concern for athletes.

Nutrition deficiencies: Because those with RED-S are not consuming enough calories, it is likely they are not getting enough vitamins and minerals in their diet. Low energy availability over time can lead to nutritional deficiencies. In turn, you may experience side effects, including frequent infections, fatigue, and hair loss.

Tips on How to Prevent and Treat RED-S

The best thing you can do as an athlete is prevent low energy availability from occuring is staying nourished and fueling your body with enough calories.

If you struggle with how to add more food into your day, try following these tips below.

  1. Increase your current portion sizes: If you’re having trouble fitting extra meals into your day, increase your current portions. I would suggest to focus mainly on protein sources for muscle and carbs for energy. Try 6 oz of chicken instead of 4 oz or a double serving of rice at dinner. Check out my previous blog on protein intake to learn more!
  2. Meal prep in advance: Have a busy training schedule? Meal prep on a rest day or before practice when you have energy. This way, you have meals ready to go in between training sessions and won’t miss a meal.
  3. Choose nutrient-dense foods: Pick higher calorie options or add extra fats to your meals to boost your caloric intake. Some healthy fats you can add to meals include nuts, seeds, and avocado.
  4. Create a basic meal schedule: Meal planning can be a helpful strategy for athletes to make sure you are eating enough throughout the day. Especially if you have a very demanding schedule and find it hard to fit in meals! It doesn’t need to be complicated, either. Sit down at the beginning of your week and make a rough plan of what your meals will look like for the week.
  5. Ditch the fad diets. Disordered eating habits like following fad diets and restricting food intake can contribute to developing RED-S. As an athlete, it may be tempting to follow the latest trendy diet. But your body needs fuel and restricting your intake will only harm your training in the long run.

Bonus tip: a deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to the development of RED-S. Make sure you are getting enough sunlight and eating food sources of vitamin D such as eggs yolks. If your levels are still low, a quality supplement may be helpful.

The Bottomline

As an athlete or avid exerciser, it is your job to make sure you are eating enough energy to fuel your workouts. RED-S is a serious condition that can have long-term impacts on both athletic performance and overall health.

  • Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) relates to poor health and worsening athletic performance that occurs when an athlete is not taking in enough fuel to support their training demands.
  • RED-S symptoms vary between athletes and may be mistaken for another illness or disorder. Common signs and symptoms include dizziness, irritability, and rapid weight loss.
  • RED-S can cause loss of muscle mass, irreversible bone loss, and nutrient deficiencies.
  • Prevention and treatment of RED-S include increasing portion size, meal prepping, choosing nutrient-dense foods, and checking in your eating habits.

Don’t let RED-S keep you from hitting PR’s and training your best! Working with a dietitian (like myself!) can help you come up with a meal planning strategy that ensures you are getting the fuel you need.

Head over to my services page to learn more about my 1:1 nutrition coaching offers. There is no better time to invest in your health!



Pre-Op Nutrition Strategies



All ages & genders
All major or minor surgeries
Outpatient or inpatient surgeries

→ Supports the healing process
→ Reduces the risk of common complications
→ Reduces the rate of muscle atrophy/breakdown
→ Low-cost / high-reward strategy to implement
→ Realistic for individuals to apply


→ Can I consult with a dietitian to discuss nutrition strategies before surgery?
→ What can I (if anything) consume on the day of surgery?
→ Will my current weight impact the outcomes of surgery?


  • Keep eating – don’t cut calories
    If your activity levels have changed, it may be tempting to eat less. Healing, both before & after surgery, requires more calories. Keep eating!
  • Build a balanced meal
    A balanced meal consists of a protein + carbohydrates + fat and vegetable (bonus!). To help with building a balanced meal, you can use the plate method.
  • Eat protein
    Protein is crucial in preventing muscle loss, preserving your muscle mass, and aiding in the healing process. Aim to include in both meals & snacks.
  • Choose complex carbohydrates
    Complex carbs such as whole grains, beans, lentils, oats, and potatoes can help to reduce metabolic stress, decrease inflammation and prevent hypoglycemia.






The Impact of Sleep

Each day many of us juggle work, training, and the demands of day-to-day life.  It may feel like there are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done. So in an attempt to add more hours to the day, it is not uncommon to take time away from the hours spent sleeping. The popular phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” may initially be motivating but it really misses the mark when we are looking at our long-term goals and health.  Sleep might be one of the most powerful and underutilized tools we can use to train harder in the gym, change our physique and simply feel better each day.



Weight Loss

Research has shown that lack of sleep over a period of time can impact hunger levels while also potentially increasing circulating levels of ghrelin while reducing concentrations of leptin.  Ghrelin signals to your brain that you are hungry and leptin signals to your brain that you are full, so if ghrelin levels are up and leptin levels are down, it becomes far more difficult to stay within your caloric goals.  With the possible change in leptin and ghrelin levels and when we are operating in a state of poor or insufficient sleep, it becomes increasingly difficult to make choices surrounding food choices that are in support of our long-term health and goals and as a result, we may have a very difficult time adhering to our diet.

Energy expenditure outside of the gym also plays a role in weight loss however when you are operating in a chronic sleep deficit your energy expenditure can decrease.  Less movement outside of the gym can decrease your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) which is the energy you expend for everything that is out of the gym and not sleeping related.  Less NEAT which in turn can negatively impact weight loss.

Insufficient sleep may also make it more difficult to maintain lean body mass and promote retention of body fat so if you are training hard and you are spot on with your nutrition, yet you are consistently getting poor quality sleep or not enough sleep, you may see that your progress is slow or stagnant.



If you have one night of not-so-great sleep, it’s unlikely that it will have an impact on your training session, however, if you are training with prolonged sleep deprivation, it is possible that you will see a decline in your performance, especially with more skill-related movements.

When we are looking at performance, we cannot discount the impact that our mood has on the quality and enjoyment of our workouts. Research has shown that mood can be greatly impacted by lack of sleep which can result in lackluster training sessions and mustering the motivation to even step foot in the gym can be a challenge.




Create a routine

Work to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day.  This isn’t going to be a perfect practice and there may be times where life happens and you can’t stick to your “norm” but creating a routine that allows you to unwind and slow down around the same time each night can be really powerful.  Consider journaling, breathwork, stretching, or reading as practices to add to your routine. 

Change your environment

To help with the quality of your sleep and your ability to stay asleep, work on keeping your room cool and dark. So if you live in a city or an area with a lot of light, look to invest in blackout curtains and a fan to keep the light and external noise out.

Mind your tech usage

Watching TV or using tablets, smartphones, laptops, or other electronic devices can disrupt your ability to get to sleep or you may find yourself staying up later because you lose track of time. Trust me, I know that it’s NOT easy to put away your phone or turn off the TV because those devices can help you unwind. However, turning off screens about 30 minutes before bed can make such a big difference in your quality of sleep and your ability to get to sleep. 


Understanding how sleep impacts you and what works for you allows you to adjust your routine to fit your needs and your lifestyle.  It may seem a bit trivial, but making time to learn “why” sleep is important for you can open up the doors for you to work on making changes in your day to day life. 




Kawada, T. (2017, July 1). Sleep Duration and Impaired Glycemic Control. American Journal of Medicine, Vol. 130, p. e311.

Beccuti, G., & Pannain, S. (2011, July). Sleep and obesity. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, Vol. 14, pp. 402–412.