You would be forgiven for assuming that former Men’s Health UK cover model and fitness polymath Joe Wicks would be in shoot-ready shape 24/7, 365. However, as the Body Coach shared in a recent post, it seems that, Wicks’ fitness levels have fluctuated over the course of the past few years – the majority of which we’ve been grappling with a pandemic, lest we forget – and, as a father of two young children, had slipped away from his previous sky-high levels.
Taking to Instagram yesterday, Wicks shared a progress picture with his 4.2m followers detailing how he’s undergone a three-month ‘transformation’ that saw him gain muscle and shred body fat with a few simple lifestyle tweaks.
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“I set myself two main goals when I landed in LA three months ago,” the post reads. “Number one was to get more sleep because back home my sleep isn’t consistent and I don’t get enough. I spend too long sitting up on my phone working, watching late night TV or playing Call of Duty with my mates online until midnight.”
“The second goal was to get stronger. To lift heavier weights and get progressively stronger each week just by adding a few extra kilograms or pushing out a few extra reps.”
Simply, Wicks focused on prioritizing sleep and progressive overload when training in the gym. The science backs him up, too: increasing sleep from six-and-a-half hours to 10 hours per night can enhance your athletic performance, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
On the flipside, placing more of an emphasis on progressive overload, Wicks has also utilized one of the most recognized methods in strength training and weightlifting, capitalizing on an increase in training frequency, volume and intensity over time. Combined with sleep, Wicks’ approach is a verified way of delivering a one-two punch to body fat.
“What I’ve realized more than ever is that sleep is the foundation that everything stands on. When I sleep better and consistently I wake up with more energy to train harder. When I’ve slept well I also make better food choices,” Wicks continued in the post.
“I’ve been asleep about 9.30pm most nights and trained consistently 6 days a week at 6am for 3 months. The challenge for me when I’m back home is to maintain this routine. I’m going to do my best to stick to it because I’m fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been and the sacrifices feel worth it.”
If you want to make like Wicks and spend more time between the sheets to make time for the weights, try this simple yogic breathwork trick to help you nod off:
Place your right thumb over your right nostril. With your eyes closed, inhale slowly and fully through your left nostril.
Release your right nostril and block your left nostril with your ring finger. Exhale through your right nostril, then inhale slowly. Block and exhale left.
Repeat the full process for five minutes, working up to a full 10 minutes, if you can.
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