Unleash your full potential!
(This is part two of a two part series on nutrition and exercise. for part one read FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!)
The human body is a complex biological machine. Your brain is the most incredible computer in existence, but many of our biological functions operate automatically with an innate intelligence. We do not need to tell our heart to beat, our lungs to breath air, etc. Like any machine, there is a natural rhythm and flow of operation, and an energy source must be maintained to provide power. When we disrupt our normal rhythm of operation, or our source of energy by altering our diet, we throw our body into chaos. The innate intelligence of the body will take counter measures to assure survival.
Whenever we do not drink or eat at regular intervals the body will automatically enter starvation mode. A person can be starving and dehydrated while being overweight because the body has slowed down, or even shut down key metabolic functions because the flow of nutrition was disrupted.
In order to reach your full health potential, a conscious effort must be made to maintain a regular schedule of nutrition and exercise. When you enact a strictly regimented diet and exercise plan you unlock your bodies full potential. It can recover quicker for illness or injury, fight infection better, and last longer. You have the potential of adding years to your life, and that worth more than any amount of money. Your HEALTH is your WEALTH!
Let’s call it a day!
A day is 24hrs, and most active people break these up into three equal sections more or less. Although the can vary slightly from person to person, for argument’s sake let’s assume we sleep 8hrs, work 8hrs, and play 8hrs. (Play meaning anything that is not work) The body’s innate intelligence uses these established sections as a basis for setting our biological timing. Our body is most ‘happy’ when everything is ‘normal’ and regularly occurring. We maintain an normal sleep cycle, eat proper nutritional meals and snacks at regular intervals, and exercise at about the same point. When these conditions are met, we USUALLY have a healthy, functional metabolism. (Sometime years of neglect, prescribed medications, or advancing age will mess with our metabolism, in which case it might be wise to seek the advice of a qualified medical professional.)
The English word we use for the first meal of the day is a combination of two words BREAK and FAST. During our 8 hour sleep cycle, our intake of nutrition was cut off. We expended energy maintaining our life functions, and we expelled water vapor in a breath. Some of us may have awakened during the night for a bathroom break. As such, our body has been experiencing a period of fasting, and we BREAK that FAST with our first meal. All of your meals should be a balanced combination of the seven major nutrient classes : Carbohydrates (carbs ,or glucose), Lipids (fats), Proteins, Dietary Fiber, Vitamins, Minerals, and Water. ESPECIALLY water! You should have water with EVERY meal, and at regular intervals throughout the day, such as right after waking, after exercising, while being exposed to extremes of heat, and before bed.
Avoid fad diets that restrict or totally eliminate any of the vital nutrients for life, and instead focus on BALANCED meals. Totally eliminating fats is not good for you, nor is cutting out carbs. Not getting enough protein is also very bad. If you aren’t getting enough vitamins or minerals in your diet, you may have to take some supplements, but healthy nutritious foods SHOULD supply many if not all of your recommended daily allotments. Vitamins and their connection to our health were discovered over a hundred years ago. Originally ‘vitamine’, the term was coined in 1912 by Casimir Funk. Multivitamins have been around for decades, but every vitamin company out in existence will claim their ‘wonder pill’ will meet all your needs and is better than their competitor’s product. Some vitamins can even build up in our bodies if you take them too often, reaching toxic levels. Some our body can’t store at all, so we need a regular supply. There are OVER forty major vitamins and minerals, and the amounts needed vary by individual.
KEEP IN MIND: The nutritional needs of the professional athlete in training for competition are VERY different than the average ‘couch potato’. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is about 2000 to 2500 calories per day, 30% each from fats and protein, with the remaining 40% from carbs. Athletes require a higher amount of protein in their diet, and a higher caloric intake. For example, a runner racing in a half-marathon will burn approximately 2000 calories during the race. This is why food is provided after sports.
Also after a period of prolonged exercise, or a sporting event your muscles require vital nutrients immediately! You have a 45 minute window to replenish expended energy stores to feed and repair damaged muscle fibers. Proteins and amino acids are vital to restore and build muscles after strenuous workouts. This is part of the natural timing of a healthy metabolism.
Your muscles operate in three phases
The Energy Phase– This is when your muscles are burning stores of glycogen to produce the levels of energy needed for the activity. Taking in carbs during the activity can extend endurance and delay fatigue by maintaining blood glucose levels.
The Anabolic Phase– This is that vital 45 minute period after your workout when your muscles need protein, amino acids, carbs, minerals and vitamins, as well as water to repair damaged muscle fibers.
The Growth Phase– After the Anabolic Phase, your muscles use the provided nutrients to repair and grow muscles. During this recovery and ‘rest’ period, your muscles become insulin resistant, so eating at this point isn’t helping your muscles recover at all, and any unneeded nutrition you ingest is stored as fat.
This is why eating late at night, or right before bed is a major health mistake. Your body naturally and automatically stores unneeded calories as FAT. Carbs (SUGAR) are stored as FAT, Fat is stored as FAT, EVEN excess protein is stored as FAT!
If you want to be healthy for the rest of your life, maintain a notorious balanced diet with the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals, exercise regularly, and follow the natural rhythms of your body by maintaining a regular eating, sleeping, working, and playing schedule. Remember, timing is everything! As always, I wish you success and happiness!