All over Twitter I’m hearing my running friends say they’ve got flu again or they have the same injury as last year. Not one person focused on their fitness wants to stop but sometimes we need to accept where our bodies are at. I don’t judge anyone by what they eat or drink. But I am a nutritionist and I help advise which nutrients best support your active goals.
For over a year I have been a non drinker and for the last six months sugar has been cut from my diet. The man made sugars are also not in my foods. My diet looks like a rainbow and the choices I make may seem restrictive and tough for some people but I do it all because it give me so much.
When I train PT clients we look at what fuel is going in. We aim to ensure the nutrients can keep up with the hard work ahead. If it can’t it’s like trying to put petrol in a electric car. It’s doing nothing for you but ruining the insides. It’s got nowhere to go but it will destroy the insides trying to pour its self in. Take a look at a typical day/week and look at the training you did and what you ate to support that. If you are training hard what vitamins and minerals are you using up and how do you replace it? Anyone who works hard on their fitness alters their metabolism using up more macronutrients. The nervous system is also working harder using up micronutrients quicker. Think of the electric car, you tried petrol but it’s still not charged so it started to fail. This is your body, your immunity, it’s quickly starts to fail. Soon enough if you don’t charge the car, what happens? Yep, you’re in bed with the flu/illness/injury unable to move.
Eat and drink whatever makes you happy but be aware of what you’re eating and recognise that to train then sustain, whilst benefiting fully from your hard work, means you need to fuel effectively. Listen to your body and make changes gradually as you go. I didn’t change my diet in a flash, small subtle changes over time made me realise I just couldn’t eat badly anymore. It wasn’t worth it, it stole my happiness and turned me into Someone I just wasn’t anymore. It’s like paying for Netflix and only seeing half of what they have available because your app isn’t up to date. You’re still paying the same as everyone else but you don’t get same programs and the app keeps failing so you can’t even use it when you want. Sound familiar? This is your energy being wasted. You’re still working hard and putting in the effort but your body fails because you didn’t back up that hard work with the nutrients your body is craving. Once you learn to accept this you learn how to get the best from your results without compromise.
To ensure you always get the best out of your training learn your Prehab and Rehab. Make a habit to warm up and cool down for a week and see how your body rewards you. Having intense DOMS is not a sign of hard work. It’s a sign that you’ve worked muscles way past what they’re used to, almost to the point of injury. Building muscles requires micro trauma and tiny muscle tears to allow them to build back together stronger… but not to the point of injury, this is what will weaken you. To prevent this understand your body’s limitations and build up gradually.
For those who want to build bigger muscle tone, there are two forms of this in weight lifting training, known as hypertrophy. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy builds the size of the muscle and increases the muscles glycogen storage. Which is fantastic for those long distance runners who need to dip into their reserves more often. However the muscle strength does not change. So for those gym goers who train 10 to 12 rep range (70 to 75% of one-rep max) and try really hard but can’t easily up their weights without injury or exhaustion..this is why, it’s down to your training methods. For those who want the strength in their muscles and the defined look of a weight lifter, 4 to 6 rep range (80 to 85% of 1RM) aka myofibrillar hypertrophy is the way to go. With either training method, food macros and adiquate rest are essential. With focus and determination brings results but with careful methods also brings uninterrupted results.
18 months ago I was very prone to injury and flu/illness/exhaustion. I now fully understand my diet pre/rehab and I haven’t been injured or ill for over a year. I now train both forms of hypertrophy which means I can lift heavier that I ever imagined and it’s starting to show on the frame I’ve chose to build. Where as a while ago I had no muscle strength to support my clients. The way I train and fuel gives me a balance that works. My training has been uninterrupted, I can see the effects physically of the changes I’m making and I understand my limitations much better. I still get DOMS, I still feel like I’ve done a work out but I don’t get that feeling that I’m not in control of the outcome, like I’ve been hit by a bus or flu has beaten me or taken me down like I used to. If I feel a bit low on energy I fuel up and rest. I adapt my weekly plan to give myself time to recuperate as and when required.
One of the best training methods I’ve ever used and will continue to use is Push/Pull. I was first introduced to this listening to a Jillian Michaels podcast where she spoke about how this method helps her train more often without overtraining. Surely that’s counterintuitive? Nope, it’s so simple and so easy and it works. For nearly 6 months I’ve been on the same progressive program and the results speak for themselves. The muscles are separated and used without much cross over giving time to fully recover innbetween sessions. As a woman, to be able to actively reshape my curves has given me more confidence than any compliment on my weight loss. The power to make physical changes is my motivation. There’s no, I can’t make it to the gym days. There’s “I’m going to the gym to build what I choose”.