Food, Energy, and Exercise
The healthier we eat, the more energy our bodies have to exercise and keep up with daily tasks. Glycogen fuels our muscles and carbohydrates, in the form of fruit and veggies, provide the best fuel. Lack of fuel results in excess fat in the blood and reduced beta oxidation, which promotes strength loss over time.
I’m certain you’ve probably heard about the signs of dehydration. A few examples include, profuse sweating, muscle cramps, dry mouth, swollen tongue, dark urine, diarrhea, and lethargy. Proper hydration is an essential component for optimal physical performance and energy.
How much water do we need? Take your weight in pounds and divide it in half. That number serves as the baseline for the amount of water your body needs in ounces every day. When exercising, we must drink more water to stay hydrated.
In addition to drinking water, a single packet of the dietary supplement “Emergen-C” can be used to replenish essential vitamins and minerals and encourage rehydration. Be aware that sports drinks normally include high quantities of sugar or sugar substitutes that may quickly increase blood sugar for a short period of time and then quickly drop off, making you feel tired.
It’s important to note even when we’re physically or emotionally tired, consistently eating nutritious foods and staying hydrated gives us the energy to literally “go that extra mile!”
The cardiovascular system includes the heart muscle and blood vessels. One reason we want to include cardiovascular exercise in our weekly workouts is because it strengthens the heart and increases the volume of blood the heart can pump through the body. When used effectively, cardiovascular exercise speeds up the process of losing weight.
Did you know that extended periods of vigorous cardio exercise may actually impair muscle growth? When raising and maintaining a high heart rate, 90-100% of your maximum heart rate, for long periods of time (longer than 65 - 90 minutes), the body secretes more cortisol (stress hormone). Increased levels of cortisol in the body can encourage fat storage and inhibit weight loss. If you’re exercising hard and not losing weight, you may be training too hard. To lose weight, it's recommend that we exercise within 70 - 80% of your maximum heart rate.
When lifting heavy weights, it’s best to complete cardio exercise at the end of a workout to keep cortisol levels in check. Benefits of lifting heavy weights and training hard include, but are not limited to, increased: cross-sectional muscle growth, capillary density, mitochondrial density, aerobic energy and ATP storage. Lifting heavy weights means lifting the heaviest weight possible for your while maintaining and executing good form the entire time. If you've never lifted heavy weights, it's best to seek the advice of a personal trainer to ensure proper form and technique and reduce the risk of injury.
A simple explanation of why we should consider lifting heavy weights, according to Mike Bracko, Ed. D. an exercise physiologist in Calgary, Alberta, is “when you lift heavier weights, your muscles pull on your tendons, and your tendons pull on your bones, which has been shown to help increase bone mass, a major factor preventing osteoporosis.” Heavy weight lifting also increases the metabolism and promotes more calories burned over a longer period of time.
While we could go into very complicated explanations on each topic, my intention is to give a little insight into what’s going on inside the body when we eat healthy food and exercise.
Take your workout to the next level by eating lots of leafy green vegetables, good fats found in avocado and nuts, whole fruits, and clean protein such as legumes, poultry, and fish and incorporate lifting heavy weights into your weekly exercise routine.
After all, it may just save your life!