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Anxiety-Induced Fatigue, 7 Principles, Daydreaming, Stress & Sleeplessness, Sedentary, and Much, Much More

Issue 176

Good afternoon Nikkola Newsletterers!

It's almost Christmas Time! Don't let the New Year sneak up on you without a plan for what you're going to do. Get your workout program lined up now, supplements ordered, and your nutrition plan laid out. If you don't, January will arrive and you won't have a plan at all.

If you're interested, we're starting a challenge on January 1. It's a challenge that'll not only make you healthier, but happier, too (see below).

Enjoy today’s carefully crafted newsletter!

Thanks again for being part of the Nikkola Newsletter family. I hope the newsletter continues to be a small but significant influence on your health and fitness.

Enjoy today’s carefully curated content.

📖 Deep Dives

From Overwhelmed to Energized: Strategies for Combating Anxiety-Induced Fatigue. Feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by anxiety is a common struggle for many people. When anxiety takes hold, it can leave you feeling drained and fatigued, making it difficult to find the energy to tackle even the simplest of tasks. But there is hope. This article will explore strategies for combating anxiety-induced fatigue and reclaiming your energy levels. First, it’s important to recognize the link between anxiety and fatigue. Anxiety triggers a stress response in the body, which releases hormones that can deplete your energy levels. Understanding this connection is crucial in finding effective strategies to combat fatigue. Second, you need to start making changes. But that can seem daunting when you have no energy. Keep reading...

7 Principles to Live Stronger and Healthier. Clients and readers often ask if I’ll ever write a book about health and fitness. After more than 20 years, I have a lot I could write about. But then, I think about those who might read it. Maybe it’ll be someone looking to get back in shape after years of eating poorly and avoiding exercise. Or, perhaps it’ll be someone who’s never really been fit. Then again, it could be a personal trainer or nutrition coach looking for additional ideas to share with clients. After so much time teaching, training, researching, and writing, I’ve realized an important point about the idea of writing a health and fitness book: The older I get, the more I try to simplify everything because in reality, getting fit and healthy is simple. Maybe not easy, but simple. Keep reading...

🩺 Health

Got your head in the clouds. A Harvard study suggests that daydreaming, or "quiet wakefulness," might enhance learning and memory by influencing brain neuroplasticity. Researchers observed that when mice daydreamed about images they had seen, their brain activity mirrored the patterns experienced when first viewing the images. This "representational drift" in neuron patterns during daydreaming helped distinguish between similar images, suggesting an efficient learning process akin to AI learning. The study highlights the potential benefits of daydreaming, proposing it as a crucial period for brain plasticity and learning, similar to the consolidation that occurs during sleep​.

This is how stress disrupts your sleep. Neurons in the preoptic hypothalamus, which regulate sleep and body temperature, are rhythmically active during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Stress triggers these neurons, causing "microarousals" that interrupt sleep cycles and shorten sleep duration. The study, published in Current Biology, also found that stimulating specific neurons (VGLUT2) in the hypothalamus increases wakefulness, linking stress to disturbed sleep, offering a potential target for treating stress-related sleep disorders.

How much exercise do you need to offset a day of sitting? A study suggests that to counteract the health risks of sitting all day, about 30-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily is recommended. This finding is based on a meta-analysis of nine studies involving 44,370 people from four countries, all of whom used fitness trackers. The research indicated that those with more sedentary lifestyles had increased risks of death, but this risk decreased significantly with increased physical activity. Activities like cycling, brisk walking, and gardening can effectively reduce the risk of early death caused by prolonged sitting.

Lifting weights is a necessity for healthy aging. A recent study sheds light on the underestimated health benefits of resistance training (RT), suggesting that it offers similar advantages to aerobic training (AT). While current physical activity guidelines emphasize AT, this study argues that RT is equally beneficial, if not more so, for maintaining good health. The research highlights that RT contributes to healthy aging, improved mobility, cognitive function, and metabolic health in individuals with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, it's found that lifting lighter weights to the point of fatigue can provide many of the health benefits associated with RT, without necessarily requiring heavy lifting. The study also indicates that regular participation in RT is linked to a lower risk of mortality, suggesting that RT should be given equal importance to AT in physical activity guidelines. This research supports the idea that RT, especially when combined with AT, can lead to optimal health outcomes.

Good news for those who don't like to workout on an empty stomach. Whey protein consumption does not affect fat utilization during exercise. In a study examining the impact of pre-exercise protein ingestion on fat oxidation during exercise, it was found that consuming 20 g or 40 g of whey protein hydrolyzate before exercising did not significantly affect fat oxidation rates compared to exercising in a fasted state. Despite higher insulin levels and lower blood serum NEFA (non-esterified fatty acids) concentrations after protein ingestion, fat oxidation rates remained unchanged. The study also observed that resting energy expenditure (REE) increased post-exercise, regardless of protein dose. Interestingly, while there were no significant differences in post-trial food intake among the groups, total 24-hour energy intake was higher in the 40 g protein group compared to the fasted group. These findings suggest that consuming protein prior to exercise, up to 40 g, might not negatively influence metabolic adaptations associated with fasted exercise.

Kids should eat eggs. A study investigating the effects of long-term egg supplementation on growth hormone levels in primary school students has revealed intriguing insights into the role of diet and gut health. The research found that consistent consumption of whole eggs led to increased levels of circulating IGF-1, a growth hormone that contributes to bone formation and skeletal growth. This aligns with previous studies showing that including whole eggs in diets can improve growth, especially in height. They also had healthier microbiomes.

🌎 Other News & Stories Worth Reading

The science of decision-making: why smart people do dumb things. Chocolate or vanilla? Trello or Jira? Atom or VS Code? Stay in or go out? Should I click on this link or not? We make thousands of choices everyday, often automatically, using mental models we have created over years of experience. Decision-making is the process we use to identify and choose alternatives, producing a final choice, which may or may not result in an action. It can be more or less rational based on the decision maker’s values, beliefs, and (perceived) knowledge. Because we have to make decisions everyday — at work and in our personal lives — it’s surprising that smart decision-making is not taught in school. It’s the kind of skill everyone should have in their mental toolkit. Keep reading...

Probiotics During Pregnancy to Become Standard Protocol? Pregnancy causes the body to undergo a series of profound changes. As the endocrine system starts churning out gestation-sustaining hormones, the body’s immune system and metabolic processes are altered. One system, whose importance on maternal and fetal health is only just gaining recognition, is the resident microbiome. In fact, there are several, including those found in the digestive tract, the vagina and in breast milk. We are barely on the cusp of uncovering the myriad of complex microbe-host interactions that are destined to rise to innovative therapeutic approaches which will revolutionize pre- and post-natal care. Keep reading...

Why Does Washington Want to Destroy America's 'Magnificent 7'? Nothing exemplifies America’s tech industry dominance in the global economy more than the meteoric rise of what is now being called the “Magnificent Seven” stocks — Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia and Tesla. These companies single-handedly account for nearly all the gains in the stock market this year. They — which is to say we as American shareholders who own them — have a net worth of nearly $10 trillion. Think about it. None of these gazelles are Japanese, German or Chinese. All seven are American companies. They are globally dominant. They are innovators nearly unrivaled in human history. Amazingly, you would think their best years are behind them, like an aging baseball player. No. They are getting stronger, not weaker. Keep reading...

In faith, fitness, and fortitude,
Tom Nikkola, CSCS

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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