Part 1 of a 2-part series on sports nutrition
Everyone Is An Athlete
A few weekends ago, I attended a lecture presented by Scott Bergman, a chiropractor practicing in the San Francisco Bay area.
In his practice, Dr. Bergman approaches patient care with the idea that all of his patients are athletes. I liked his definition of an athlete as someone who:
- Is driven to improve
- Is goal-oriented
- Wants performance based outcomes
- Wants to train right, eat right, sleep right and recover right
In short, being athletic is a lifestyle, and the ultimate goal doesn’t have to be a marathon… it can be to garden without pain, keep up with grandkids, or hike a challenging trail. Everyone is a potential athlete!
Is there something physical you’d like to be able to do that you can’t now? Working toward that goal involves eating, training, sleeping and recovering right. True health is the ability to experience life with optimal performance.
The Benefits of Exercise
Aside from attaining specific goals, regular exercise has many important benefits:
- Controls weight
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Improves mental health and mood
- Improves ability to do daily activities
- Prevents falls and injuries
Regular exercise (as defined by the American College of Sports Medicine) is a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, best divided into 30 minute sessions at least 5 days weekly, with a focus on training each major muscle group 2-3 times weekly.
Dr. Bergman feels the proper focus for beginning a new fitness regimen is in this order:
- Flexibility (yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi)
- Stability (strengthen core, enhance speed of muscle engagement, improve proprioception)
- Strength (weights/resistance)
- Endurance (biking, running, swimming, etc)
Important Considerations For Those Who Exercise Regularly
Our metabolism utilizes macro and micronutrients 24 hours a day, and energy expenditure with exercise increases utilization of nutrients, creating a higher nutrient need in those who exercise regularly. I see evidence of this all the time when we do nutrient testing in the office. Personal trainers and competitive athletes are very often among the most depleted in a variety of nutrients, particularly glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant.
Organs are the main storage site for the body’s nutrient stores, so when nutrient deficiencies occur, nutrients are pulled from these storage sites/organs, and organ function suffers. It’s also good to note that when we consume meat, we are choosing the least nutrient-dense portion of the animal to consume.
Specific nutrients are more highly associated with particular organs:
- Potassium: brain
- Iodine and selenium: thyroid
- Magnesium: muscles
- Calcium: bone
- Copper, iron and zinc: colon
- B Vitamins: adrenals, liver
- Vitamins A, D, E: liver
- Vitamin C: gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT)
- Electrolyte minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, phosphorous: buffer pH
In short, get out there and move, but make sure you’re taking in plenty of nutrient-dense foods… in other words, eat plenty of plants in a rainbow of colors. And consider nutrient testing to make sure you’re covering all the bases. If the body has insufficient supplies of any particular nutrient, the functions that nutrient participates in cannot take place, setting the body up for disease and rapid aging.
Have you heard of runner’s gut? In the next installment of this 2-part series on sports nutrition, I’ll share what I learned about it from Dr. Bergman. Interesting stuff!
Copyright Patty Shipley. All rights reserved.