Question: The fitness magazines always seem to focus on recovering nutritionally after a workout. This makes sense, so what should I be taking-in to optimally recover?
Answer: You’re right—there is a big focus on recovery these days, and for good reason. If you think about it logically, the preparation for your next workout begins right after you finish-up your current workout. Within 45 minutes of finishing a session, your cells are primed for nutrients, so replenishing fluids, carbohydrate, and protein (specifically amino acids) is ideal. The water will obviously help you to rehydrate, the carbohydrate will replenish your glycogen (or stored sugar), and the protein will reduce muscle breakdown and start the process of repair. This tight post-workout timeframe is often called the “window of opportunity.” Consuming a recovery beverage during this period seems like the most reasonable option, especially since hunger is often blunted after a workout. There are a number of different recovery products on the market, but things like chocolate milk or even a homemade smoothie with fruit and protein powder would work well too. The ideal post-workout ratio is 2-4:1 carbohydrate to protein, and since you won’t have trouble finding products that meet this recommendation, the product you choose really comes down to taste and price. Happy shopping!
Question: I’m a die-hard runner, but I spoke with a trainer recently, and she said I should try to incorporate more cross training. It sounds like a good idea, but are there any specific guidelines that I should follow?
Answer: Cross training is a great idea. You can benefit significantly by engaging in activities that are outside of your comfort zone. You’ll be able to condition the entire body, add more flexibility to your workouts, and suffer fewer (or completely avoid) overuse injuries. Plus, it just makes working out more fun, because you’re always doing something new and challenging. There really aren’t any specific guidelines to follow. Just find a couple different things you like to do, and then rotate them consistently at varying intensity levels. There is one important thing to keep in mind, however. When you start incorporating some of these alternative activities, you may find the workouts to be a bit more challenging than you were anticipating. Let’s face it—you’re conditioned to run, so it may take some time to adapt to these new training stimuli. These adaptations represent the changes your body is making to get bigger, faster, and stronger, and that is definitely a good thing!
Question: I keep hearing about detoxification diets, and how they can help with weight loss and other health-related issues. I’m looking to jumpstart my own weight loss, so is this something I should consider?
Answer: No—you do not need to resort to detox diets to lose weight. They might be popular right now, but in my humble opinion, they’re definitely not the answer you’re looking for. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that think detoxification is a reasonable path to take to better health. So-called experts claim that detox diets can flush toxins from your body, strengthen your immune system, improve your skin’s complexion, and help you get rid of excess fat fast. They even point to famous Hollywood starlets who, as we all know, are willing to try anything and everything to get “the look.” Thankfully, most real experts, including doctors, dietitians, and trainers, agree that these regimens do more harm than good, often resulting in unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous, side effects. These can include vitamin deficiencies, electrolyte abnormalities, blood sugar problems, excessive diarrhea, muscle breakdown, and a suppressed immune system. Not bad for an overly restrictive liquid diet, huh? Hopefully it’s not a surprise to you, but your body is perfectly capable of detoxifying itself, and it does an excellent job. Your kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, and several other organs all contribute to this process. If you really want to lose weight, and do it in a healthy way, speak to a registered dietitian and/or certified personal trainer, so they can help you develop a safe and effective plan.
About the author: Jon Spangler is the club owner at Anytime Fitness in Peachtree City. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.