The 4 Horsemen will usher in a new age of fitness. The traditional versions of Conquest, War, Famine and Death are represented in our focus on Goals, Competition, Nutrition and Metabolic-conditioning. We firmly believe that strength, power and fitness are best achieved by utilizing CrossFit methods and the 4 Horsemen of Lifts: Squats, Presses, Deadlifts and O-lifts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is Light Killing Your Diet?

After reading our post on nutrition (The Foundation), it is easy to see that we recommend following a low to moderate carbohydrate approach. Why? Because this approach closely resembles that of which we have evolved to feed ourselves. Carbohydrates are not a necessary nutrient for the body, that is why there are NO essential carbohydrates, but essential proteins and fats. They are also not the preferred fuel source ( There are many reasons people fail/cheat with a low-carb approach, sleep and most importantly light is a huge one, let me tell you why.

Light controls everything our body does, light tells you when to get up in the morning, and the disappearance of it tells you when to go to bed at night, or at least it use to. We were only intended to eat carbs and plenty of them (especially fruits) during the long days of summer. During these months fruit was plentiful and winter was coming. When winter hits so does famine. We would consume copious amounts of fruits and vegetables during these months to gain weight (fat) to live off during the winter months. Carbs release insulin, insulin stores fat.

With the invention of artificial light we never get out of summer mode. We have lights on in our homes well past sun-down, television and computer screens dominate most past times and street lamps are shining in our bedroom windows even when our lights are out. This prolonged exposure to light makes your body believe its constantly summer, wanting to eat carbs to store fat for the famine. This is why when you do cheat it is usually late at night, and usually its something sweet (cookie, ice cream, fruit, chocolate).
Getting back into your body's natural cycle is key for optimal health. This means getting to bed earlier during the winter months, and staying up later during the summer. You could potentially sleep up to 14 hours during the winter! I know, not going to happen, but getting to bed as close to sun set as possible will be most beneficial.

The smallest amount of light exposure during sleep has a significant effect of the level of melatonin your body produces during that time....but no worries, its only the most powerful anti-oxidant in your body.

Keys to Success:

  • Sleep a minimum of 9.5 hours a night in a completely dark room
  • Reduce exposure to light as much as possible after 6pm during the winter
  • Keep Fruit intake low during winter months

Caution: If you do have trouble sleeping NEVER take over the counter melatonin! Stop your exposure to light and your body will produce the melatonin needed by itself. If you begin to rely on supplementing melatonin your body's natural production will decrease significantly even when you are off it.

1 comment:

Monika said...

Wow, I never thought that sleep is so important. I always had the view that we get moody in the winter due to lack of light, but now this makes me think that this might be a result of lack of sleep.