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Sick Of It

athlete-fatigueDo you work out, eat well and take care of yourself yet often find you are sick or tired all the time?

Despite taking such good care of your body, if you are an avid exerciser and fitness enthusiast you can actually break down your immune system with overtraining. Many factors associated with overtraining compromise an athlete’s immune system. In fact, upper respiratory infections are actually very common in athletes.

This was a big topic during the training for my Nutrition Certification I just completed this past week. Let’s break it down.

What Happens?
When you exercise, there is an increase in stress hormones which leads to high inflammatory markers (bi-products of chronic stress). There is also a decrease in innate and acquired immunity.

Interesting Fact: 90 minutes after strenuous activity, your immunity is the lowest and you are more apt to get sick! It’s important to refrain from putting your hands near your mouth or eyes (the most susceptible areas of the body) post exercise & wash your hands immediately.

How Do I Keep The Sickness and Fatigue Away?

Protein
Protein is a key component to building immunity. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts. Your daily protein intake should be between 0.8-1.8 grams per 2.2 lbs. The high or low range depends on your activity level. An average adult needs about 0.8 – 1.2 g/2.2 lbs. where a strength athlete needs between 1.4-1.8 g/2.2 lbs.

Example: For a 150 pound active woman: divide 150 by 2.2lbs and multiply that number by about 1.2 grams of protein. Total = 82 grams of protein per day.

Vitamins and Minerals
There are several vitamins and minerals that work as anti-oxidants and help keep your immunity strong including Vitamin A, E, B6, B12, C and Folic Acid. Zinc and Iron are also important, but they should be ingested in moderation as too much can actually have the opposite effect and lower immunity. Most of these vitamins/minerals can be ingested in the food you eat: green leafy veggies, beans, eggs, dairy, lean meats, fruits and whole grains.

Ingest Carbs
Eating carbs post-exercise is said to help build your immune system and reduce stress hormones. We are not talking about eating a box of crackers or bag of pretzels – try to keep to “real” foods such as fruits, veggies and healthy grains.

Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is critical to helping your body function. Dehydration can be the main reason for fatigue. When you exercise, especially in hotter weather, it’s important to rehydrate 125-150% of fluid loss during exercise. Thirst is regulated in the brain. You are already very dehydrated when you even begin to feel thirsty.  You have to stay ahead of it.

Probiotics
I have professed my belief in probiotics for years – studies suggest probiotic and prebiotic ingestion in athletes reduces sick days.

Polyphenols
Polyphenols are abundant micronutrients in our diet, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging. They are said to be great stress inhibitors and promote immunity. These can be found in foods like kale, hot peppers, onion, apples, etc. Here is a list of 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols.

Sleep
As I preach to my clients all the time, adequate rest is crucial for an athlete’s recovery and keeps stress hormones low and repairs mental and physical function. Consistent sleep patterns and getting enough sleep to repair your body is crucial in keeping your immunity & performance levels high and stress hormones low.

Stress
And of course, keeping regular stress at bay is a big component. The more stressed you are, the lower your immunity levels and higher your fatigue. Your body may even start to hold onto some fat. The unfortunate result is when we are chronically stressed by life crises and work-life demands, we are prone to getting an extra layer of “visceral fat” deep in our bellies.

Nutrition is a big component of your day to day. It dictates everything – how your body responds to stress, your energy level and a strong immune system. Getting enough anti-oxidants, keeping stress levels in control and being able to replenish & repair your body are key to optimizing your health and energy levels.

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How To Eat Healthier & Lose Weight In One Hour

Let’s have some fun!
Poster FINAL 2

Nutrition Busters Seminar:
April 22nd, 7:30 – 8:30 pm
@ Momentum, 33 Union Place, 3rd Floor, Summit

Registration required, space is limited!   
Click here: www.Nutritionbusters.eventbrite.com

Topics include:

  • Understanding confusing food packaging labels
  • Making healthy choices
  • Carbs vs. fats vs. proteins
  • What does it all mean?
  • A bit on fitness
  • Losing those extra “X” pounds

Light, healthy refreshments served by Paolo’s Kitchen

 

  • Mariana

    It was very helpful the seminar thank u so much!!!

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Burn Baby, Burn

You might be diligent about going to the gym and spending hours doing cardo on a treadmill or eliptical machine – which is great for your cardiovascular health- but are you left without burn-fat-970x727noticeable results?

In a cardio session, you burn calories, but the calorie burn ends when you finish your cardio session. If you want to maximize your calorie burn, you have to take it up a notch and achieve something called EPOC, or “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption”. It is a “measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to erase the body’s ‘oxygen deficit.'”

What does that mean?

It means, “afterburn” – the continual burn of calories after a very high-intensity workout. It also means your metabolism, highest post exercise, is fired up much longer after you finish a workout session. Your body is working hard to re-coup a normal heart rhythm and resting state. You burn calories by consuming more oxygen. Therefore, the longer it takes you to regulate your oxygen intake, the more calories you are burning. This post-consumption state can burn as much as an additional 150+ calories throughout your day. More calorie burn & a higher metabolism = more results, faster.

So how do you achieve it?

Higher intensity workouts. This means bringing your heart rate to 75% or more of your resting heart rate. The longer you perform high intensity exercise, the larger the EPOC effect. It also means performing a high intensity workout for 30 minutes is much more effective than a steady state on a cardio machine for one hour.

Resistance training (with weights or body weight), especially with high intensity interval training, is one of the best ways to increase EPOC.

Guidelines to reach EPOC:

  • Perform at a high intensity (out of your comfort zone) – at least 75%+ of your resting heart rate
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes
  • Include resistance training in your workout
  • Incorporate interval training

Although high intensity workouts are effective, it is recommended that you limit this type of workout to only a couple of times/week as you need time to rest and recover your body.

Try to push yourself and work past your current limits and there’s a good chance you will start to see results much faster.

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