Thanks to an invitation from Columbus Fit Life to speak at the Arnold Classic, we were able to bring Refuel your Body after Exercise to athletes of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Here are some notes from the presentation:
Nutrition is said to account for about 70% of our fitness results, and it heavily influences the way we look and feel. In undergrad, we noticed that there was a bit of a schism between the exercise physiology and the nutrition majors. The former would tend to justify eating poorly by saying “I can burn this off later” and the nutrition students would say “I eat pretty well so I don’t need to exercise much.” Of course, the dietetics majors won. Just kidding, but they were on to the fact that food – something we eat 3+ times a day – does carry a significant impact on overall health. Also, if nutrition is responsible for about 70% of how we look and feel, it becomes easier to see why the person diligently jogging and profusely sweating on the treadmill everyday, but not making dietary changes, may not be seeing results.
Secondly, although training programs for athletes can be similar or even identical, variations in performance exist. Why? It is due to what happens during the recovery phase.
So how do we get the body to regenerate and recover quickly? You guessed it: nutrition!
And what happens with better nutrition? The body is able to handle a shorter time between trainings and experiences quicker improvement. This is a huge advantage over your competitors.
Thirdly, never underestimate the power of knowing your own body. A former client on her way to living a healthier lifestyle enlisted the help of a personal trainer who told her to focus on getting lots of protein – including from a source that caused her an issue. She noticed her skin breaking out along the jawline more and had to schedule routine facials which she noted were relaxing but not fixing the cause of the acne. After a few sessions of gently recommending that she eliminate the offending food, she gave it a try. Here’s some of what she had to say:
“Had I not consulted Adrienne, I might have spent another $2250 on facials by now. I might still be fighting acne too.
For the record I’ve regained and lost the same 20 lbs. This time I’m fueling myself with great primary food, increasing my vegetables and fruit, seeds, and nuts, and scheduling exercise regularly with built in accountability. I’m hopeful that I’m finding my ideal body weight and that the weight will stay off this time.” Read full review here…
Finally, consider the importance of an overall reduction in inflammation. There are many causes of inflammation and food can be one of them. The foods that you think of as ‘healthy’ may not be healthy for your individual body. A quick way to figure out if bananas, eggs, gluten or gliadin, dairy, wheat, or raspberries are contributing to inflammation is to have a food sensitivity test performed. As with many clients, and in our own experience, you may be surprised.
A reduction in inflammation could result in more flexibility and range of motion, less joint pain and risk of injury, as well as an increase in efficiency.
Bottom line: at the end of the day, if you’re a high performance human being but your diet is not designed for your peak performance, then you may be experiencing lesser results on your rigid diet than you would experience with a more open, but personalized diet can provide. Consider finding a sports nutritionist to help you achieve a higher level of fitness and wellness.
Here are 8 tips to Refuel your Body after Exercise:
1. Drink water. Proper hydration is important before, during, and after exercise. Caution: sports drinks have quite a bit of sugar.
2. Consider having protein after a workout. This is easily accomplished with a smoothie, hard-boiled eggs, or hummus and vegetables.
3. Get more sleep, rest and relaxation. When you are tired or stressed, your body will not perform well during workouts and it will crave energy — usually in the form of sugar or carbs.
4. Plan your meals and snacks. We often tell clients, if you fail to plan, plan to fail. Having foods ready in your workout bag will help prevent breaking your healthy diet.
5. Evaluate the amount of animal food you eat. Eating too much as well as too little can influence your endurance and muscle-building. It could also contribute to acne breakouts. Your integrative nutritionist & health coach will help you sort this out. Experiment. Respect your body’s individuality.
6. Don’t skip meals. Too much time between meals can cause blood sugar levels to drop and not recover well from a workout.
7. Eat more vegetables and fruit. They are healthy and delicious while filling you up and providing important vitamins and minerals.
8. Remember the best food for you needs to be personalized. Factors such as age, being a man or woman, food sensitivities, genetics, or being on a special diet (i.e. vegan or vegetarian) all requires specialized nutrition.