How to Eat Well for the Working Athlete and Exerciser

What you choose to eat and drink has a major effect upon performance; it can improve sports performance, recovery after exercise, resistance to colds and concentration. Or it can do exactly the opposite. If you are serious about your exercise and want more out of it, then learning how to eat well is as vital a part of your training regime as the physical manifestation of it.

The most nutritious food on your plate lies in the meat or fish, the vegetables and the high quality fat. Not in the huge heap of pasta or the low fat fruit yoghurt.

FOOD GROUP 1: CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates are the foods with a plant based origin. Sugar (sweeties), starch (pasta, rice), vegetables and fruit. Each has its place in the diet and used wisely will be a great aid to performance.

The place for the simple carbs – the sugars – is during and immediately after a hard workout. During endurance events over 90 minutes, in order to avoid drop off in performance, you do need to take in more than just water. The ideal sports fuel is a home-made mixture of water or coconut water, glucose and Branch Chain Amino Acids (more on these when Protein is discussed). Post workout, raising insulin levels by eating or drinking something sugary – and fruit juice counts here – along with a good intake of protein helps refuel the muscles and aids recovery so you can go again sooner!

Starchy carbs are a different story. Yes, they provide energy during a work out and before an event, carb-loading helps. This simply means stuffing down piles of rice the night before. It is described in many training manuals. However, studies do vary hugely as to what works best. And the reason why is that we are all different in our needs; our ability to handle insulin being the prime. The simplest way to find this out is to have your body fat taken Charles Poliquin style. Where you store your body fat tells all. Apart from that a very rough guide is how easy you find it to maintain a pleasing level of body fat. If this is easy and you tend to be slim or even a bit skinny, then each day you will need to add starchy carbs to your diet to maintain good energy levels. If there is a constant battle with the blab going on, then the chances are very high that you will do better if your overall diet is Paleo in style (high protein, high vegetable, low carb). Yes, all benefit from carb loading before an event. But not all benefit from day to day carb loading.

How Vegetables Help

You cannot eat enough over ground vegetables. They are an excellent source of fibre. If you don’t crap well you won’t perform well, whether you are training or competing. After all, heavy bowels turn off the abs and are an extra load to carry about. Vegetables are a vital source of anti-oxidants. Hard training raises your oxygen intake dramatically and this releases free radicals, which need to be neutralised by such things as Vitamins C and E, Zinc and Selenium. Also if you exercise in a town or city, the pollution from the traffic is an added burden. Free radicals damage cells, delay recovery, lower the immune system and reduce the strength of your muscles – plus raising the chances of developing cancer, of course. So with a good vegetable intake you will recover more quickly and reduce the chance of catching a cold.

Another less well-known reason for eating the veggies is to reduce the acidity in the body. The body needs to be slightly alkaline and will do what it needs to to maintain this. Foods such as grains, meats and especially cheese are net acid producing and vegetables and fruits counteract this. All this said, the most acid-producing thing we do is exercise vigorously. The acid produced by the body during an intense workout blows away what foods can produce! In an attempt to reduce this acidity, the body leaches calcium from the bones and nitrogen from the muscles. Also if the body is acidic, the uptake of vitamins and minerals is compromised. So to ensure a good recovery from exercise, to keep the bones strong to avoid stress fractures – and to avoid long-term bone- thinning problems such as osteoporosis, it is vital that the intake of vegetables and fruits is kept as high as possible.

Vegetables are potentially a good source of vitamins and minerals. There are arguments about whether they are best eaten raw or cooked. The raw food camp says that they are a good source of enzymes. The cooked food camp says that raw vegetables are harder to digest, so uptake of nutrients is not as high as lightly steamed/sautéed veggies. So it seems sensible to do both – regularly eat raw and cooked vegetables to get the best of all worlds. What is absolutely certain is that both vegetables and fruits are best organic if at all possible. Pesticide residues do nobody any good at all.

It is of great importance to make your vegetables tasty so you eat enough of them. It helps uptake of nutrients to roll them in a good oil: butter, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil (see my blog ‘Why Polyunsaturates cause heart attacks’ for why I don’t recommend sunflower oil).1 It is also worth adding herbs and or spices to make them interesting – or trying different combinations. Chopped up fennel can add an interesting depth of flavour to, say, kale; grated carrots with Indian spices and ghee make cabbage much more interesting.

How Soil Depletion Makes All This Hard To Achieve

Robert Rakowski2 pointed out 30 chemical elements are needed to make a healthy human. A plant needs 17. The typical fertiliser used in commercial crops contains just 3 – nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. The net result is that plants uptake what they can from the soil, which is slowly becoming more and more depleted in many essential minerals. It is wise to actually supplement with anti-oxidants because of the difficulty of getting enough of them from the diet. You do this by taking things like Zinc, CoQ10, Grape Seed, a high quality broad based antioxidant supplement and greens drinks such as Primal Greens or Reds from Poliquin. These are concentrated vegetables and fruits from a clean source, which you take in drink form. Because of the soil depletion, you really do have to eat an awful lot of vegetables for maintenance.3

What About Fruit?

Fruit too is a good source of vitamins and minerals and fibre and anti-oxidants. As far as anti-oxidants are concerned, the best fruit is blueberries. There is an interesting point to make about Vitamin C and fruit. An orange contains much more vitamin C than does a blueberry – but the Vit C in the blueberry is much more bio-available, which means you actually assimilate more C from blueberries than from oranges. As a rule of thumb, thin-skinned fruits have higher levels of anti-oxidants than thick skinned fruit.

However, it is not all good news with the fruit. Fruit is generally very sugary, so too much of it will lead to blood sugar problems. It is best eaten after a meal for these reasons. There are also issues with mould on fruit. Mould grows mould so if the diet has been very starchy/sugary for a while, there is a high chance that the natural yeasts within the gut will have got out of control. This leads to bloating and fatigue and eating a lot of fruit continues to feed the problem.

What Pesticides Do To You

All fruit and vegetables should be well washed and preferably organic – or, even better, home grown. One of the most sprayed crops is strawberries, so if eaten, these really should be organic. Pesticides are highly toxic. They have an oestrogenic – or feminising – effect. So they lower testosterone and lead to fat gain on the legs and buttocks in both men and women.

Optimising Nutritional Intake And Overcoming Cravings

We are all told to eat plenty of starchy carbs, and limit our intake of protein and fat. And athletes have this drummed into them. But, as I have said, for very many a high carb diet does not suit except around competition. If you are serious about getting the most out of your body, then spending a fortnight living on meat or fish plus unlimited over ground vegetables and a good level of healthy fat will help make things clearer. At first you will feel quite dreadful (so do this when in a quiet period if possible), then things will turn around and you will feel much, much better. It is very important to cut wheat/rye and barley from the diet completely. The main problem for you with these grains is that they weaken the abs and lead to brain fog. Please read ‘The Story with Wheat’ blog for more detail. The best diet to follow is individual depending upon a number of variables, and can’t be further described here. You are welcome to contact me for a consult.

The emphasis placed upon a high carb intake can also mask a problem with cravings. The chances are very high that there will be excessive consumption of very poor quality carbs in the form of crisps, biscuits, chocolate bars, sweets, alcohol or too much fruit being eaten. The reason for all this lies in the amino acid Glutamine. As previously mentioned, an acidic state needs to be neutralised by the body. As well as leaching the bones, the muscles are broken down to release nitrogen. In order to do this, they actually release glutamine. Low glutamine levels leave the athlete prone to overtraining, infections and colds plus an increase in clumsiness4. How you can tell? Cravings are a good indicator. Glutamine is a precursor to the happy neurotransmitter GABA.5 The brain needs a balance between neurotransmitters – and in order to try to increase the low levels of GABA it will drive you to consume those biscuits, to drink too much or eat the entire contents of the fruit bowl. And so when you come to eat a meal you have a smaller appetite for the meat and the cabbage because of what you have already eaten and you end up in a downward nutritional spiral. We can all only eat so much food in a day – in order to get enough nutrition out of the diet, there isn’t much room for rubbish. If this sounds familiar, it would be wise to take L-glutamine post workout and when you are struggling with a craving for a huge bag of crisps.

As a brief aside whilst on the subject of cravings: apparently a craving for pasta is a sign of Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is used in every cell in the body is vital for health and well-being. So if this is the case, try stuffing down the Vit D instead of the tortellini…

FOOD GROUP 2: PROTEINS

Why Protein Is A Vital Part Of Great And Consistent Performance

Protein is a critical part of our daily diet. Protein is used for very many functions in the body; the obvious muscle building, but also muscle repair, and the manufacture of hormones, enzymes, formation of antibodies. And it is vital in the brain and nervous system. It is used as fuel for energy and is an important player in liver detoxification. The protein should be of animal or fish source. No matter which way you look at it, man is designed to eat animals. Hence why we have a pair of canine teeth, only one stomach and a relatively short digestive tract. Animal protein is the only source of bio-available B12.

Digestion. Why It Matters

Because of the reliance on carbs as a fuel source, protein is usually under-eaten. Because of government and nutritionist advice, red meat in particular is vilified. And all this can mask a serious problem with eating, or not eating, protein – the ability to digest it6  As mentioned above, plants (and farmed animals) are lacking in vital nutrients. One of these is the major mineral, zinc. Zinc has many functions in the body and one is that it is a precursor to the stomach’s manufacture of Hydrochloric Acid = HCl. When food is eaten, it enters the stomach where it is bashed about and bathed in highly corrosive HCl. This action breaks down proteins into their constituent parts called amino acids. Unless this has happened, you cannot properly absorb protein. Good HCl levels are also critical to absorb important minerals and vitamins, eg iron, calcium, vitamins B6 and 12 and, as luck would have it, zinc itself. This is because these things come attached to an amino acid, and HCl breaks the bond enabling absorption.

Insufficient HCl levels thus lower nutritional status. It also leads to meat/fish itself not being broken down properly. It hangs about in the stomach – longer than it should, then enters the rest of the warm damp digestive system, passing through and rotting as it goes. So not surprisingly it is common for people to not like red meat. It is worrying that this is seen as acceptable and not the red flag it really is. I and my clients have found that good supplementation is just wonderful to restore vigour and health. If only one supplement is to be taken, it has to be HCl (or a precursor to heal the stomach lining first) so at least you maximise what goodness there is in your food.

The Amino Acids That Aid Performance And Recovery

These are the 3 amino acids: Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine with Leucine being of particular importance because of its muscle building properties (muscle building, thus muscle sparing in hard exercise). These 3 are collectively known as the Branch Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs. And the 4th amino acid is Glutamine which is the amino acid of stress, getting used up rapidly in strenuous exercise and when it is cold.

BCAAs can be taken in supplement form or they are found in abundance in meat or whey. How hard or how long you are going to exercise determines your need. Taken with simple carbs 1 hour before exercise they have been shown to significantly increase both the time to exhaustion, and the maximum power output7. If the workout is submaximal, the heart rate will be lower8. They also keep the blood sugar levels stable for longer by lowering the insulin impact of the carbs.

Taken in drink form (this is the home-made brew referred to previously) they increase endurance in events over 90 minutes long by sparing the rate muscles are used for an energy source.9. In events lasting longer than 3 hours tryptophan builds in the brain leading to a feeling of sleepiness in the end stages of the event. Since tryptophan competes with other amino acids – but loses, maintaining BCAA levels will prevent this happening.

Post event/ exercise if taken within half an hour they will be used by the body for repairs to muscle tissue incurred during the fracas. They will help prevent chronic fatigue setting in. So if post-exercise you just concentrate on the carbs, your blood levels of BCAAs and Glutamine will drop leaving you feeling totally exhausted for hours or even days after the event. And leave your immune system depressed, leaving you open to colds and infections.

The Paleo Diet for Athletes contains a table listing the levels of BCAAs found in various foodstuffs. Each sample is 100calories in size.

Whey protein 3,537
Meats 3,369
Seafood 2,832
Vegetables (over ground) 770
Grains 605
Nuts and Seeds 458
Starchy Vegetables 169
Fruits 80

Actually egg white powder comes out top – but there are real issues with sensitivity to eggs so I have not included it. If you eat a food that you are sensitive to, your body definitely knows about it and will slow you down by causing poor concentration and/or bloating. I refer you to The Story with Wheat blog, which covers some of the mechanisms.

To be in the best of health, it is not recommended to eat too many preserved meats, such as hams, salamis, smoked salmon because of the nitrates in them. It comes back to eating real food.

FOOD GROUP 3: FAT

The final macronutrient in the diet is the much maligned and much misunderstood fat. Eat natural fats. The best fats being butter, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and macadamia nut oil. Food companies love to push vegetable oils. However, there are real problems associated with the over consumption of oils such as sunflower oil. I refer you to my blog ‘Why polyunsaturates cause heart attacks’ and to the blog ‘A simple way of making yourself much healthier’. Put briefly, omega 6 oils such as sunflower disrupt the omega 3:6 ratio which causes a cascade of problems including poor immune system, increase in inflammation and poor healing.

As is well known, in endurance events (those over 90 mins) when the body is working sub-maximally, the body preferentially burns fat. Also the vitamins A,D,E and K are only found in fat, thus a low fat diet directly leads to malnutrition.

Fats To Avoid And Why

The bad boys in the fat family are the heat-treated oils and these include transfats, hydrogenated (or partially hydrogenated) fats, high-oleic oils and the new bad boy on the block, interesterified fats, which have been concocted to replace transfats. These fats cause blood platelet stickiness, increase bad cholesterol (due to increased inflammation), mess up the ratios of omega 3:6 and are implicated in the development of type 2 diabetes. Since their introduction rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity have soared. With the finger wrongly being pointed at saturated fat and red meat, both of which, after all, man has eaten for millennia.10

To briefly summarise: food companies need to make profits and they will do whatever it takes. Your health does NOT enter the equation. It is not in their interests that you cook your own food from scratch using real ingredients. A great deal of money is made by pedalling the low-fat high-carb diet. If you want to know more, I would recommend reading ‘The Liberation Diet’ by Kevin Brown and Annette Presley for the information on the history of food production.

Reasons To Eat Good Fats

To aid recovery and maintain healthy immune function a good balance of omega 3:6 is critical. Omega 3 is gained from the diet from oily fish (salmon or smaller – larger fish such as tuna is laden with mercury, the most deadly heavy metal), grass fed farm animals and game in the summer and autumn. The most frequently seen symptom of omega 3 deficiency is skin disorders. It is wise to supplement with fish oils – but you have to source these very very carefully (see my blog 2 ‘Why the government is right to recommend restricting the intake of oily fish’).

After fish oils for you the next most important group of fats is the Medium-Chain Triglycerides. And these are found in butter and coconut oil. Both greatly maligned saturated fats.

The structure of Medium-Chain Triglycerides means that they do not need bile acids to break them down, so directly enter the portal vein, go to the liver where they are used as carbs are for energy – but without raising insulin. Studies do show that this energy is excellent for endurance athletes – although there are mixed findings1112. The take home message seems to be that in endurance events over 3 hours, MCTs may well be glycogen sparing (because they can be used for energy as well as glycogen stores). They need to be added to a carb drink. There can be problems with gastric distress, so this is something to try during a long training session. And you should start with a small amount and build it up to tolerance levels. It could well be the magic bullet that improves that marathon time.

Why You Should Eat Coconut Oil

A fat is broken down to constituent parts, and the most valuable parts of Coconut oil are Caprylic Acid and Lauric Acid. Both are found in human breast milk. Both are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-parasitic.

The Wonders Of Butter

Apart from the advantages of being a good source of MCTs, coach Charles Poliquin gave the heads up to the very great importance of adding butyric acid, found in abundance in butter, to the diet. Butyric acid prevents the pH of the body dropping below 5 – preventing hyper-acidity and resulting disastrous performance. It feeds the good gut bacteria – so leads to a less bloated gut. And it inhibits colon cancer. It is anti-inflammatory and strengthens the immune system. It increases body heat, which is important in cold weather training. And is an excellent source of Vitamin A. This is important to help maintain good night vision and healthy mucus membranes – which are the first line of defence against infections. It is also important for healthy skin and teeth.

Both butter and coconut oil massively increase the function of the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the tiny powerhouses found throughout the body. They have a double membrane, which both butter and coconut oil cross rapidly. This produces an excess of Acetyl-CoA, which is oxidised in the mitochondria to form ATP. At rest, a human consumes about 40Kg of ATP per day. During strenuous exercise the rate of ATP cycling may reach half a kilo per minute. So the quicker you can produce ATP, the quicker you’ll go!

The other healthy oils – olive, macadamia and avocado oil should also be eaten. This will provide variety. In essence, oils make a meal satisfying and help the uptake of vitamins and minerals.

A note to those of you who exercise first thing in the morning. Exercising on an empty stomach puts a huge stress on the adrenals. This is not a good thing. The stronger your adrenals, the better you will age apart from anything else. And this is even truer for females than males. So to avoid this, it is wise to eat something easily digested like a couple of pieces of low GI fruit (eg a few berries/slice of melon) just before the off. You will then find you can work a bit harder during the session too.

FOOD GROUP 4: DAIRY

If you are not dairy intolerant, whey is excellent as is caseine in post workout shakes.

Other forms of dairy are not so good. Milk is particularly dreadful – unless you can get hold of raw milk fresh from the cow, which will still have the necessary enzymes in it. The pasteurised milk we buy is a dead substance devoid of nutrients and not well tolerated by us – after all, milk is for babies, and cows milk for baby cows. These days it is also homogenised. In this process the fat in the milk is squeezed through tiny holes at great pressure so it stays suspended in the milk, making the dairy fat more likely to oxidise or go rancid – so making it potentially carcinogenic. Also, in these fat phobic days, milk is often drunk semi or fully skimmed. Although the packet lists a higher calcium content in these products than in full-fat milk, in fact the calcium is dependant upon at least 5% fat to become bio-available. So it may have a higher calcium content, but you can’t actually absorb it. Since milk is for baby cows it is designed to make them grow quickly and as such it is insulingenic leading to a rise in blood sugar.

Cheese: I have already said is very acidic to the body. It is interesting to note that osteoporosis is rare in Japan where dairy is rarely eaten and most common in the US where dairy consumption is highest in the world. So to keep bones strong and prevent muscle breakdown, it would be wise to at least moderate cheese intake.

Yoghurt: This is only good if it is full fat Greek yoghurt. Any shop bought low fat fruit yoghurts are full of sugar. In his book, ‘Feed your kids well’, Fred Pescatore gives a list of how much sugar is in various foods and drinks. 1 cup (which is about 240 ml) of Dannon low-fat flavoured yoghurt has 4.2 teaspoons of sugar, a cup of Dannon low-fat fruit yoghurt has 7.4 teaspoons of sugar. This is not a good use of daily calories! So if you buy full fat Greek yoghurt and add berries plus maybe a little honey, it will a) taste much better and b) possibly do you good.

A problem with dairy to bear in mind is the vexed question of food sensitivities. To avoid food sensitivities, it is very important to rotate one’s diet as much as possible in every meal every day. I constantly run into problems with my clients arising from food sensitivities, the most predominant being abdominal bloating and tiredness. The client just thinks they are fat. Now, the two foodstuffs eaten most commonly by all are wheat and dairy. Both are hard to digest. The wheat blog goes into detail as to why wheat, or gluten, is such a problem. Dairy is pretty similar. And I have yet to meet a client who’s abs do not get very much stronger when they give up wheat. So my advice to you, if you are serious about your performance, is to look closely at your diet and eliminate for at least 8 weeks everything that you have eaten on a daily basis. A tough call. The rewards though are great.

WATER

A simple measure to make you quicker, stronger, less injury prone, concentrate better and crap well.

Drink enough water everyday. Charles Poliquin gives this simple test to see if you are well enough hydrated. Place you hands on your thighs and look at the veins. Now raise your hands to eye level and then lower them back to your thighs. If you are well hydrated, the veins will have disappeared. How much water to drink a day? Paul Chek recommends your body weight in Kgs x 0.033 ltrs a day. Charles Poliquin recommends your body weight in Kgs x 0.044 in ltrs a day. So for someone weighing 10 stone 4, this means they weigh 65.45 kilos (2.2 kilos to the pound), so they should drink either 2.15 litres of water a day (if not particularly active – but you do exercise or you wouldn’t be reading all this, so therefore:) or 2.87 litres of water a day. Build up your tolerance over a couple of weeks. It does take a few weeks at full amount to restore optimal levels of hydration.

The day should begin with 2 big glasses of water to replace the water lost overnight through breathing and sweating. This helps to achieve the water goal. Tap water is fine provided it has been filtered either through a Brita filter (remember to change the cartridge to avoid build of up bacteria in there) or, even better, an Akai water filter fitted to the tap. Bottled water can be drunk – but there is an issue with the plastics which can leach into the water if the bottle has stood about for a bit, or has been exposed to the sun. Under no circumstances should a plastic water bottle be refilled. Plastics are highly oestrogenic – highly toxic. We have to do everything we can to reduce our exposure to them. The hard plastic sports bottles are more stable, but a better bottle is a metal one. If I have to drink bottled water, these days, I buy the water in a glass bottle – jolly heavy and totally impractical to carry when exercising…

The title of this paragraph tells all. To find out more detail, check out these pages:

http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/30/Drink_To_Win_-_Part_I.aspx

http://www.charlespoliquin.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/31/Drink_To_Win_-_Part_II.aspx

BREAKFAST

It is said so often it is almost trite, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. I’m talking here about everyday breakfast, rather than pre-event breakfast. The most common breakfast eaten in the UK is carbohydrate. Cereal and milk, porridge or toast. No protein and precious little fat. Those eating this are now set up nicely to endure blood sugar swings all day, leading to cravings for high sugar snacks (and this includes crisps and pretzels as well as the obvious biscuits or cakes). Adding protein and good fat slows down the blood sugar response leaving the person able to make good food choices all day long (provided your glutamine levels are good). And, most critically, the brain and the liver will function better.

To keep it simple, breakfast should contain protein and a good fat (in the form of avocado pear, nuts, seeds or maybe egg). No breakfast is madness. If you eat no breakfast at all, then you cannot be serious. At anything at all. No breakfast means the body has to cannabalise its muscles in order to provide some sort of energy, so you weaken yourself. It also sets you up to crave the wrong sort of food because when you do eat you are starving and need a quick fix. And your brain is not functioning properly.

COFFEE AND TEA

Why They Are Good For You?

Coffee or tea are very good for you and not diuretic as commonly believed. Both are best drunk organic – and tea bags should be unbleached since chlorine is very toxic. They are bitter herbs and so help spur the liver into detoxifying. And so can be viewed as anti-carcinogenic.

How They Can Aid Performance

They do this best if you don’t drink them regularly. I remember going through a phase when it was recommended I didn’t drink caffeine. After 16 weeks of this, I had a cup of tea and shortly after went out for a run. Well, I still remember that run. Holy moly, I was jet propelled. You would have seen my eyes rolling in surprise… Sadly I have not had quite the same response since taking up regular caffeine consumption again. However the recommended amount of caffeine to improve endurance performance is 1.3 – 2mg/kg bodyweight. This equates to about 1 cup of coffee, so is not hard to achieve. It works by increasing fat burning for energy, and so spares valuable glycogen stores for the hard bits. For strength a greater amount is needed and research is somewhat mixed in its findings, but the amount is 7mg/kg – 10mg/kg. This quantity you would have to get from supplementation.

Caffeine should be drunk before 4pm to avoid sleep issues. If you can drink coffee then fall asleep you are either a paradoxical responder, in which case something calming like chamomile tea would wake you up or your adrenals are severely stressed. This is not a good thing. A few people can’t handle caffeine at all – and they will know this. If they have caffeine, they feel dreadful on only a small amount. So for them caffeine should be avoided.131415

BOOZE

Wine in moderation is very good for you. It has been shown time and again that the curve of health with alcohol consumption is J shaped. Teetotallers are less healthy than moderate drinkers, but when drinking more than moderately, the rise in health related problems is very sharp. I will write separately in more detail about booze. But for now, the best drink is wine, preferably red and from countries such as Spain or Portugal where the vinification methods are traditional and the vines grown on poor soil. This means the vines are stressed and that provokes them into making more anti-oxidants to aid survival. New World wine has many additives and is just not so good for you. I would drink organic/biodynamic as much as possible. The problem with beer or lager is the gluten, which is ab and brain weakening [see The Story With Wheat]. And with spirits, if drunk, vodka is best. I suspect the problem is with the congeners in the coloured spirits. But more on this another time.

All Of The Above Made Simple

So the first stage of putting a better grade of fuel into your tank is to cook it yourself. Avoid manufactured or processed food. This may mean arming yourself with a Quick Meals recipe book. It is amazing just how fast real food from raw ingredients can be made. If you are too tired to cook for yourself then recognise this as the red flag it is and do something about it – like contacting me, for example. I can help. The higher the quality of the raw ingredients, then the better they are for you. Putting poor quality food into yourself really is like putting low octane fuel into a performance car and wondering why it just isn’t pulling so well. After this you then start to examine carefully the amount and type of carbohydrate you are consuming – and are you getting enough protein, fat and water to properly meet your demands.

By adjusting your diet to a high quality one, the quality of your exercise will increase. It is a major component in to how to speed up or how to go for longer; recovery will improve because the body is getting the raw ingredients it needs. And for the same reason, you should be less susceptible to colds and illness. And on top of all that, you will be more productive at work. If you want to know more, contact me.

  1. Unlu Netal. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of Avocado or Avocado oil. Human Nutri. And Metabolism/35/5. 431-6 PM ID 15735074 []
  2. He looks completely mad in his picture.  However he is quite normal – but I think he is the most energetic person I have ever come across.  I was lucky enough to sit through a day’s lecture by him in Swededn.  He had flown in the night before and despite this, his focus, concentration and speed of delivery was staggering.  At the end of the day, he was talking too fast for note taking.  A supremely healthy man. []
  3. Li Li Ji. Antioxidants and Oxidative Stress in Exercise. Soc for experimental biology and medicine 1999;222;283-292 []
  4. Newsholme E. A. “Biochemical mechanisms to explain immunosuppression in well-trained and overtrained athletes” International Journal of Sports Medicine, 1994 Oct; 15 Suppl 3:S142-47 []
  5. Neurotransmitters are literally nerve transmissions – chemical substances emitted by nerve endings which are sent to adjacent nerves, muscles or glands. They are either excitatory or inhibitory. GABA is inhibitory and is balanced with Glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter excess of which leaves you over-anxious. Furthermore, very high levels of glutamate are actually toxic to the brain. So in order to avoid this, the brain needs to release more GABA, which calms you down and makes you much more focussed. GABA will enable good movement instead of panicky bursts. But with glutamine being drained by the body to keep it from excessive acidity during exercise, then you find yourself forced to eat carbs to literally calm yourself down. Alcohol directly raises GABA. []
  6. There are a series of blogs on digestion. You are linked to the first. []
  7. BCAA supplementation increases the lactate threshold during an incremental exercise test in trained individuals. Matsumoto K, Koban T Hamada K et al pub Journal Nutritional Sc. Vitaminol (Tokyo) 2009 Feb. 55(1)52-8 []
  8. an unpublished study by P Lemon quoted in The Paleo Diet for Athletes. “In this study, cyclists were given 6 grams of BCAA or 6 grams of gelatin 1 hour before an exhaustive session on a bicycle. Compared with the gelatin feeding, the BCAA significantly improved time to exhaustion and maximum power output, while lowering heart rate at submaximum efforts. Blood sugar and lactate levels did not differ between the two trials” []
  9. Protein and Amino Acid metabolism during and after exercise and the effects of nutrition Michael J Rennie. Kevin D Tipton []
  10. I think one of the best stories I have read about this concerns a young internist at Harvard University, Paul Dudley White. Before 1920 coronary heart disease was so rare in America, that when White introduced the German electrocardiograph machine to his colleagues [this would have been between 1908 and 1911], they advised him to concentrate on a more profitable branch of medicine. The new machine measured the presence of arterial blockages. Over the next 40 years the incidence of coronary heart disease rose dramatically and by the mid 1950s was the leading cause of death in America. (Taken from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon). Now it just so happens that the first transfat appeared on the market in 1911 and was called Crisco (crystallized cottonseed oil – made from a waste product of cotton production that animals wouldn’t eat. So they fed it to us instead….). Needless to say, Paul Dudley White went on to have a very great career as a cardiologist and is viewed as a founding father…(Wikipedia). []
  11. Kiyasu G.Y. et al 1992 The portal transport of absorbed fatty acids. Journal of Biological Chemistry 199:415. Fushiki, T and Matsumoto, K. 1995 swimming endurance capacity of mice in increased by chronic consumption of medium-chain triglycerides. Journal of Nutrition 125:531 []
  12. Angus DJ, Hargreaves M et al. Effect of Carbohydrate or Carbohydrate plus medium-chain triglycerides ingestion on cycling time trial performance. J. Appl. Physiol. 2000 Jan (1): 113-9 []
  13. caffeine as an ergogenic aid. Keisler BD, Armsey TD. Dept of Family and Sports Medicine, University of South Carolina. Curr Sports Med Rep 2006 Jun 5(4):215-9. []
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