Breaking our bodies down in the gym is hard work, and it is the stimulus we need to get fitter, but all of this could be going to waste if you don’t have fundamental recovery pillars. I see many clients fall into the trap of thinking that if they train hard, they can do whatever they want outside of the gym. They will then question why results aren’t coming!
Before a single weight is lifted, the first thing that I address with a new client is what they are eating- which ties into the health of their gut. The body will only begin adapting to the stressors that it is being placed under in the gym, once it has a healthy foundation first. So, if an individual has been drinking too much alcohol, consuming large amounts of inflammatory foods, and not enough vegetables, it is likely that their gut will be clogged up and not functioning properly. This blog will discuss an action plan on how to improve your gut health and maintain its optimum functioning.
If you have noticed any of the symptoms below lately, it may be that your gut health is not at its best:
- Join paint
- Intolerance to certain foods
- Skin/pimple outbreaks
- Foggy brain
The good news is that gut health can be improved quickly and these symptoms can dissipate within a few days. An 18 hour fast can often be beneficial as the first step to clear out any remaining stubborn food sources that the body may be struggling to digest. After this, a great idea would be to cleanse the gut with vegetables; aim for variety but try to include the leafier green options as much as possible, as they pack more of a punch with regards to their micronutrient density. I recommend two cups of vegetables with every meal. Drinking plenty of water is vital too – the Australian Dietary Guidelines (2020) recommend drinking 40 ml of water per kilogram of body weight per day.
Staying away from gluten, dairy and soy sources may also help to unclog the gut. Try eliminating these sources from your food for one week, re-introduce them, and see how your body responds. If there’s no difference, you may have a tolerance for these foods and can therefore continue to consume them. If this isn’t the case, then don’t stress – the vegetable intake which you have now increased contains plenty of the common nutrients (if not more) that are found in dairy/soy products. Your carbohydrate intake can match your pre-gluten elimination intake, by adding sweet potato and potato to your diet. This will help to achieve greater satiety (the feeling of fullness in the stomach). Supplementation of fibre and probiotics can also be beneficial in the short term, particularly if you are willing to invest in pharmaceutical grade supplements.
Changing habits is often the hardest challenge throughout a fitness journey, and we at Absolute Balance are here to help. There is evidence suggesting that a healthy gut can support brain functioning and better mental health too, so this change is well worth the investment. If you’re keen on learning more about this topic, and want to be held accountable with your eating, get in touch with us at Absolute Balance from our experienced team of Exercise Consultants. Good luck!
Australian Dietary Guidelines Summary. (2020). Retrieved 31 August 2020, from https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55a_australian_dietary_guidelines_summary_book.pdf
- Choct (2009) Managing gut health through nutrition, British Poultry Science, 50:1, 9-15, DOI: 10.1080/00071660802538632