Food Freedom Friday Edition 56

The Effective Work Out

How much you lift or how fast you can go have little to do with how effective your work out can be!

Stress exists in many forms – mental, emotional and physical. Stresses can manifest from the buildup of to-do list items, business meetings, worries about family/loved ones, relationships, money, travel, as well as exercise.

Exercise is a way to reduce and release stress in your life. What many people forget is that exercise is a form of stress on the body. Normally, when you work out, you will cause many micro-traumas to the muscles. Essentially, we are damaging tissue in the body in a form of eustress. Eustress is a good stress, and when done appropriately, this is what normal exercise will do for you.

When you are fatigued, gaining weight, losing endurance or noticing decline in strength and muscle mass while on your current workout regimen, what is the problem? Are you noticing the above-mentioned symptoms worsening versus improving?

Many times, as you are working out harder, for more time and higher frequency, you not only begin to see a decline in performance, energy and attitude, but also an increase in injuries to your body. If you find yourself hitting the gym and not reaping the benefits, here are a few tips to reset your adrenals to ensure your workouts work for you:

1.       Protein

The average person needs about 60% of their body weight in protein to be functional throughout the day. When you add exercise into the picture, it changes everything. For mild exercise, you will need to get 80% of your body weight in protein, and for moderate exercise, this will jump up to 100%. Yes, that is right. You will need one gram of protein for every pound you weigh. If you do more intense activity or much longer periods of activity, then the range of protein requirements will increase to 1.2 grams and can get as high as 1.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. I know this sounds like a lot and it is, but to sustain a heavy level of activity, you will need to provide your body with more nutrition. I’m not sure when this new philosophy started, but it seems to be popular to work out more and eat less to accomplish your goals. This sounds like someone telling you to drive your car more, and put less gas in it! This does not sound like a formula for success.

2.       Water

This is another area that will require increase over your normal amounts. The average amount of water per day will differ from person to person. If you are a man, then the average is about three liters (101.4 ounces) per day. If you are a woman, that number is a little lower, around two liters (67.6 ounces). Again, this depends on several factors, and these requirements might be too low for you. As with protein, when you add exercise into the picture, it changes everything. The minimum intake of water for you is simply to get through the day and does not cover what is needed for exercise. So, if you are doing mild, moderate or intense activity, you need to add more water replacement for all of the sweating you are doing. Whether you are male or female, the mild exercise will require 24 ounces per hour, and the intense exercise requires 34 ounces per hour. If you work out for an hour of intense exercise, you have to add one more liter of water on top of the daily requirements. You will be surprised to find out the majority of people are dehydrated, and this affects your workout performance and recovery.

3.       Rest and Recovery

With more exercise, comes more rest. If you find yourself having trouble bouncing back from exercise, you will need to look at this area, as well. We will discuss short-term and long-term rest and recovery.

On average, athletes sleep 7 - 10 hours per night. If you are going to partake in exercise, then you already know from earlier in this article that you are damaging your muscle tissue. During sleep, you are able to rebuild that muscle breakdown. Getting enough sleep, allows you to do this. Now, this focuses on short-term recovery, yet I find that many people struggle with long-term recovery.

Long-term recovery is having ‘rest weeks’ worked into your schedule and having off-times at some point in the year. All major athletes will have an off-season, or take a period of time off from heavy working out to recover. You are no different and need to have a period in the year that allows your body to rest and recover from everything you put it through. The second part to long-term recovery is a break or download week. This means  every 4-6 weeks when you only do one-third of your normal workout routine for the week. If you work out six times per week, then on the break week, only workout two times that week. The added rest will allow your body to recover, and you should return the following week with better performance, energy and endurance.

If you work out and want to reap the benefits of your exercise, then make sure you are eating enough real, whole food, drinking plenty of water and implementing enough rest to bounce back! 

Michal Ofer