Exercise recovery using The Zone is essential to good performance and long-term wellness.
By Jennifer Barrows:
Exercise is good for your body and can boost your mood, but did you know that if you don’t take care of yourself before, during and after your workouts, that you could actually accelerate your rate of aging? With Summer comes more activity, so it’s important you know how to care for your body after increased exercise.
Do you go to the gym every day and do an hour of cardio followed by weights? Maybe you prefer a triathlon or a mountain climb. How’s your performance? How do you feel two days later? If you find that your performance over time is stuck, or even declining, and you feel it takes longer to recover, you may be dealing with silent inflammation caused by improper nutritional support.
If Elite Athletes Can Improve Their Game, Why Can’t You?
Years ago, I knew a female body-builder. I admired her because of how careful I thought she was in terms of her nutrition and training. We would go to a restaurant and she would pull the waitperson aside to ask for specially made meals. She avoided bread, flour, grains, butter, most fats and sugars and would ask for a plain broiled or grilled chicken breast with a dry salad. She always ate just half of the meal.
She would eat this way for months and train for hours each day. By competition day, she was always a wreck. She looked great and everyone thought she was extremely healthy, but she was exhausted, moody, weak and couldn’t even think straight.
After each competition, she would eat with reckless abandon and within a couple of weeks would feel more like herself. After a few years, she was too exhausted by the constant yo-yo of dieting, training and bingeing. She gave up the competition circuit and became a flight attendant. There was a reason her training wrecked her, and although she is an extreme example, the same things may be happening in your body over the long term if you are not supplementing your exercise properly.
What Happens When You Exercise?
Exercising triggers a process in your muscles that causes oxidative stress. Your muscles require production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which happens at the mitochondrial level. ATP is the energy your muscles need for optimal performance. It’s a great internal combustion system that keeps your body going, but there is a price. As the mitochondria produce ATP, they use fatty acids and glucose which also produces free radicals.
Free radicals are a waste product and they are unstable because they are actually missing an electron. They act as wellness thieves because they float around and eventually steal electrons from healthy cells causing the “aging” of the cell. If enough cells are affected by free radicals, chronic damage occurs and can lead to silent inflammation. Eventually, chronic silent inflammation leads to disease.
How to Take Care of Your Body After (and Before) a Tough Workout
What you put in your mouth can reverse the silent inflammation cause by free radicals:
- Proper Diet. Athletes can boost their performance if they follow proper dietary guidelines. Eating several small meals works for some, and eating three main meals with a couple of snacks works for others. The idea here, is that these meals have to be constructed carefully and The Zone Diet is the most balanced diet for athletes. Olympians and professional athletes have followed The Zone and had great success, and if my friend had asked the wait staff at restaurants to bring her a chicken breast and a large variety of veggies drizzled with a little bit of olive oil, and ate it all, she might have felt a lot better on competition days.
- Anti-oxidants. Performance and recovery work best when the body creates certain enzymes. Taking anti-oxidant supplements can help this process. The most effective anti-oxidant is from a plant polyphenol called delphinidins. Delphinidins work by stimulating the body to create an enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD) and another one called glutathione peroxidase (GPX). These enzymes fight the free radicals floating around in your body after a hard workout or training session, and help your body heal from inflammation. Delphinidins can be found in blueberries and red wine. It would be pretty hard to get what you need from those sources unless you drink 12 glasses of red wine and eat a few pounds of blueberries every day. The highest concentrations of delphinidins are found in the Maqui berry which grows in Chile. Zone’s MaquiRx contains high concentrations of delphidins and makes it easy to get what you need to trigger resolution of exercise-induced inflammation.
- Chocolate. Cocoa polyphenols can also help reduce inflammation and help you recover. You would have to eat a lot of chocolate to have the same effect as taking a MaquiRx supplement, but you could make a great recovery drink with some milk, cocoa, some blueberries and a MaquiRx capsule. Throw everything into a blender, but open the MaquiRx capsule first and pour the powder in. For an extra protein boost you can use Zone Protein Powder. Add ice if you want and blend thoroughly. If you drink this within 30 minutes of your training session, it will deliver anti-oxidants, and protein to your muscles and help them recover.
Proper training and recovery with a good, balanced diet like The Zone and supplementation with Zone’s MaquiRx can help you reach your goals and keep reaping the benefits of exercise for the rest of your life.