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High Performance Vegan Letters

How Much Sleep Do You Need To Burn Fat and Top 5 Foods To Have In Your Kitchen

Published 2 months ago • 6 min read

How Much Sleep Do You Need To Burn Fat and Top 5 Foods To Have In Your Kitchen

Date: February 23rd, 2024

Read time: 5 minutes

Read on: veganfitnessredefined.com


Today’s issue is brought to you by Vegan Fitness Redefined. We help vegans, veg-curious, and plant-based humans get lean, strong, and build healthy bodies.

Are you a high performer who wants to drop body fat, build lean muscle, and tone up while feeling confident in your health?

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Pain is a signal.

And it's one that I've ignored for the past few weeks.

I started having heel pain a month ago when running and playing soccer outside.

However, I made light of it and kept increasing my weekly training and running.

Every Monday, the cycle would repeat.

After an intense few days of running and sprinting (with me increasing my workload each week), I would start the first day limping around like Quasimodo.

My thought process behind this?

I thought my foot was sore and it would get stronger over time.

I was wrong.

What was happening was that I was overtraining paired with having the incorrect running cleats.

Back in October, I invested in a solid pair of cleats that were great for lightness and speed but very poor for heel cushioning and heel support.

I sacrificed speed for health and was paying the price months later.

Fast forward to this month.

After last week, I realized this couldn't go on anymore.

And I started to research what tools could support my healing while getting to the root of the problem:

  • Overtraining
  • Using the wrong cleats

Once I solved the two problems above, I realized one other thing:

I could have solved this a few months ago if I created time to reflect on how I felt post-training/games each week.

Self-reflection is helpful in every facet of our lives.

Lesson: Discomfort or feeling uncomfortable during training is expected. Pain isn't. If you're feeling pain, there's a cause and reason behind this. Listen to it.


Here's Your 5 Minute Friday:


How Much Sleep Do You Need To Burn Fat

Sleep is the topic of many health circles these days.

But is it overrated?

Does sleeping more help with weight loss and dropping body fat?

It does.

According to WedMd:

"Researchers found that when dieters cut back on sleep over 14 days, the amount of weight they lost from fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories stayed equal.

They felt hungrier and less satisfied after meals, and their energy was zapped."

The other thing that researchers noticed was that willpower and impulse control went DOWN when people slept less.

This leads to over-snacking and eating more junk food due to sleep deprivation.

It also seems like the body's ability to produce insulin dropped, and insulting sensitivity went down by 30%.

Why that's bad?

If your body doesn't respond to insulin properly, then breaking down fats can be hard and easy to store as body fat.

"In another study at the University of Chicago, sleep-deprived participants chose snacks with twice as much fat as those who slept at least 8 hours."

The less sleep we get, the more likely we retain body fat and gain more.

Sleep is important.

So, what's a good amount of sleep to aim for each night?

It depends.

If you're an average desk worker with minimal activity and not training or in a caloric deficit, 7 hours a night may work well.

If you add in training and being in a deficit/surplus/sports performance phase, 8-9 hours has been shown in multiple studies to reap better results regarding body composition and overall health.

However, as a side note - sleeping more doesn't always equal sleeping better.

Quality and quantity are both factors when it comes to sleep.

Priming yourself for a good night's sleep is equally important.

(let me know if you'd like me to write about sleep routines and sleep quality in a future letter).

Sleep more.

And get better results.

Top 5 Foods To Have In Your Kitchen

If you could only buy 5 foods for the next month, here's what I'd suggest:

(full credit to Anthony William for the specifics below).

  1. Wild blueberries: Wild blueberries are fantastic at helping to remove toxic heavy metals, radiation, DDT, pesticides, and other toxins. They are also anti-pathogenic. Wild blueberries are a helpful cancer-preventative food and help protect you from disease.
  2. Lemons: Specifically lemon water - Lemon water is a good source of vitamins C and B and minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Lemon water is excellent for weight loss, the immune system, alkalizing the body, controlling high blood pressure, anti-aging, detoxification, purifying the blood, and regulating body temperature. Lemon water is particularly beneficial for the digestive tract and can help relieve constipation, nausea, and parasites.
  3. Onions: The sulfur in onions is part of what makes them nature’s antibiotic. It also helps rid the body of radiation exposure, casting out pathogens and drawing out DDT and other pesticides, herbicides, and toxic heavy metals. High in the trace minerals zinc, manganese, iodine, and selenium, onions help rejuvenate the skin and protect the lungs. They’re also helpful for the immune system and circulation.
  4. Apples: The phytochemicals in apples make them a true brain food, feeding neurons and increasing electrical activity. Apples with red skin contain anthocyanins and even traces of malvidin (a type of anthocyanidin), which are partially responsible for the red color. These pigments have anti-obesity properties and compounds that increase digestive strength, encouraging weight loss.
  5. Leafy greens: Leafy greens create true alkalinity in the body systems, especially the lymphatic, which can become the most acidic system due to toxins and pathogens. Leafy greens help to expel, purge, and drain the lymphatic system of these toxins so that it can remain alkaline.

Dozens of other foods are equally as nutritious and healthy.

However, these would be in my top 10 foods every time I shop due to the immense healing and nutrition properties available in these foods.

Also, I buy organic apples and organic leafy greens due to the high amounts of pesticides that sink into their skins, so rather than washing them thoroughly, I prefer to get pesticide-free.

Every week I shop, these foods are in my basket.


Client of the Month

Heather is a busy physio. She's always on her feet, working 40+ hours per week, with frequent travels.

Yet, due to poor nutrition and not putting herself first, she gained 15 lbs. She also wanted to rebuild her strength and confidence, having been a soccer athlete in the past.

Our strategy: Dial in her eating habits, focusing on eating slowly and eating MORE (since she was undereating) while adding 3-4 strength workouts weekly.

Since she was a former athlete, we added sprints 2x a week for enjoyability and an 'extra' fat-burning effect.

Currently - she's down 16 lbs and 4 inches from her waist. She's doubled her leg strength while building a strong upper body, which she feels proud of.


One Quote To Finish Your Week Strong

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
— Irish Proverb

I'm looking forward to this weekend.

Hosting friends.
I love hosting and sharing good food.

Also - I can't believe it's almost March.

Spring is almost here.

Time flies when you're having fun.

- Gabriel


Whenever you're ready, there are three ways I can help you:

#1 Join our free high-performance fitness FB group to get access to dozens of live trainings recorded along with a tight-knit group of leaders who want to get healthy, lean, and strong.

#2 Are you a high achiever who wants to be lean, strong, and lead by example? Apply for private 1:1 coaching and get in the best shape of your life (2-week waiting list).

#3 Want to fuel your fitness curiosity and follow along with the latest findings, insights, and evidence-based practices? Tap below to stay connected.

Let's be friends:

(feel free to DM me anytime - I love connecting with new friends worldwide).

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High Performance Vegan Letters

by Gabriel Zhanay

Join the top 1% of plant-based founders, leaders, and creators. Every week, you'll receive practical advice on how to build muscle, get lean, and build a high-performance body that fuels your busy plant-based lifestyle.

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