Sleep Fitness in Elite Athleticism

Lousia Nicola, clinical neuroscientist and founder of Neuro Athletics, and Justin Medeiros, 2021 CrossFit Games Champion and Eight Sleep Athlete, discuss sleep fitness in elite athleticism. 

When did you start CrossFit?

In high school, I played football and wrestling and used CrossFit as a way to stay in shape in between seasons. My mom was the first one to introduce me to CrossFit when I was 12 years old and I loved the challenge and rigor of the sport. It wasn’t until college that I began to competitively train for CrossFit at a local gym. 

How often do you train?

In a given week, I spend 5 days a week hard training, 1 day low-impact, active recovery training, and 1 day of fully resting with no workouts.

What are some of the techniques you use to recover?

The biggest recovery technique for me is sleeping at the right temperature. Personally, in the winter, when the house gets very cool I sleep amazing. However, in the summertime, I have a difficult time sleeping because of the heat. When I was training for the CrossFit Games, I moved in with my coach, Adam, and he liked to keep the house warm, and I could not sleep at all. I was researching ways to cool down my room efficiently and came across Eight Sleep and it completely changed my sleep. 

I have tried so many different recovery techniques such as massages, physical therapy (PT) work, and more. However, none of those techniques are effective if I get a terrible night of sleep. I can miss a season of PT or massages and still be able to manage, but if I miss a night of sleep, my whole routine is thrown off. Quality sleep is the most important aspect of my recovery and training.

What is your sleep routine like?

I try to get everything done for the day by 6-7pm at night so I have time to wind down before bed. If I train past 7pm at night, it is hard for me to wind down before bed, so I try to get in my training sessions earlier in the day. Before bed, I practice my stretching routine, use my GOWOD app for mobility work, use my HyperVolt on my muscles, all while I am relaxing and watching TV. 

Have you noticed any changes in your body when you are sleep deprived?

When I wake up groggy, if I had a bad night of sleep, it’s hard for me to get in my first meal of the day. As someone who tries to eat as much as I can, especially when I train for 6 hours a day during competition season, I notice a huge difference if I do not sleep well because it throws off my whole routine. 

What differences have you noticed when using the Eight Sleep Pod?

I have noticed that if I’m having a heavy cardio or weight training day, my sleep metrics change based on my type of training. I try to focus on maximizing my quality of sleep versus quantity, and temperature is one of the key aspects to that, which the Eight Sleep Pod helps me achieve. 

Before I started using the EIght Sleep Pod, I was not tracking most of my health metrics, such as HRV. Now that I am, the Eight Sleep app helps me understand why some days my HRV is lower because I am not fully recovered based on my different habits during the day. 

What are your future plans?

I am currently training for the Rogue Invitational in Austin on October 29th, which I am looking forward to. After Rogue Invitational, I have somewhat of an off-season before I start training again for the CrossFit Open. I am still young, being 22 years old, I hope to be in CrossFit for as long as I can, which is why I am so focused on building good recovery habits so I can prevent injuries and train for as long as possible. 

Watch the full version of this interview here. 

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