The Importance of SEMM (Sleep, Eat, Move, and Manage)

The best athletes in the world don’t just worry about their exercise; instead, they focus and treat their sleep, nutrition, and stress management as equal parts.

Exercise is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle. Prioritizing and establishing a fitness routine is usually step number one for somebody starting a health transformation. For new members, you can expect to see solid results over the first few months, assuming you show up 3+ times/week, but if we are only focusing on exercise, these results might slow or become stagnant.  

Delivering consistent results is why we believe so strongly in the SEMM (Sleep, Eat, Move, Manage) model at Arsenal Strength and try to integrate it into our daily classes. Looking at the big picture and all factors necessary to live a healthy lifestyle is the number one way to make a lasting impact on your life.

Let’s take a look at an example of my life over the last two months. My wife is 39 weeks pregnant, and we are expecting our first child any day now. On top of being the General Manager and Head Coach at Arsenal, I also started a Two Brain Programming with Brooks that keeps life even more busy. Here’s what a general week might look like for me. I train clients and teach classes ~25-30 hours/week, work out for 60-90 minutes 6x/week, walk my dog for 30-45 minutes/day, and in the rest of my free time work on programming, take care of gym duties, and hang out with friends and family.  

Prioritizing my workouts is my “Manage” this is a must-do for me and my mental health. The same goes for the walks with the dog. It allows me time to listen to my favorite podcasts and unwind. I also try to do minimum work on Sundays to relax. Two of the four SEMM categories (move and manage) are essentially set in stone for me without too much thought put into them.  

However, as I mentioned above, my wife is 39 weeks pregnant and has kept sweets stockpiled in our house over the past two months. Ice cream, cake, cookies, chocolate, you name it, we’ve had it. Generally, we don’t keep these things around or, at a minimum, keep them in small quantities because my self-control is not great, to put it lightly. While we tend to follow the 80/20 principle prepping out most of our meals every week and eating whole foods, I have enjoyed much more dessert than usual. Instead of stressing about the extra desserts I’ve enjoyed, I decided to make it a personal case study, caring less about the sweets and focusing on making sure the other three SEMM components are dialed in.


Along with tracking my sleep with Whoop, I set multiple habits to improve sleep hygiene and maximize quality:

  • Go to bed and wake up within 30-minutes every day
  • No caffeine after 2 pm
  • No cell phone 20-minutes before bed
  • A full glass of water upon falling asleep and waking

So what did I find over my two-month experiment? Below is my most recent in-body scan. Did I put on some weight from the extra desserts? Yes. Did I miss a few workouts and sleep habits? Yes. Did I still see results? Absolutely!!!

The SEMM model is not designed to be a strict all-in or all-out approach. It is about developing a healthy balance of things within your control. I decided to indulge and enjoy more dessert than usual because it was around, but just because one thing was a little different than usual doesn’t mean I let everything go. In fact, I did the opposite. I tightened up my sleep habits and made sure my exercise and stress management was maintained. This led to me putting on 1lb of lean mass, gaining 3.5lbs, and only going up .7% BF. Looking at my whoop data, my recovery score was up 8% in May and 7% in June of my yearly average.

So what does all this mean? It means you don’t have to be perfect to see results. Enjoy life, workout 4+ days a week, do things that are relaxing and you enjoy, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, if you want a beer or dessert, enjoy it, sleep 6-8 hours a night, drink lots of water, etc.

Your health is a journey, and we are here to help in whatever fashion you need! Click here to book a no-sweat intro and find out how we can help you become your best self!