What They Don't Tell You In Health Class
YOU: “I’M HEATING UP”
Me: “Go blow off steam.”
You’ve heard this before, yes? It’s a term often used in psychology, though casually, that refers to doing something to shift psychological states, relax, and “cool down”.
Notice the reference to heat here; whereby you become so hot that you need to blow off steam in order to cool down.
But usually, when someone is ‘hot’ to the point where they need to blow off steam, we are usually referring to a psychological heat; so why does the act of doing something metabolically hot create a psychological cooling?
There are numerous reasons why this happens; what’s important to you is that it happens.
Because, if you’re still “thinking” about an exercise regimen but haven’t started one yet, then that “thinking about it” is the kindling to a psychological fire that will either be transferred into your body as metabolic heat or it will continue to burn through your mind as trepidation, fear, and doubt.
There is an initial leap of faith in the face of fear and doubt, which is necessary for anyone and everyone to get started on something new.
And in the case of exercise, the leap ahead could be a big one or a small one for you; but no matter, it’s one you know you’re going to take. So why not do it now?
“OKAY, I GOT STARTED, NOW WHAT?”
Now, that you’ve begun to move heat from your mind into your body, you’ll be able to see the two main heat properties and heat processes going on:
- Metabolic heat generation
- Physiologic heat distribution
Metabolic heat is created through movement, and as the heat in your metabolic “oven” increases, it converts foodstuff in your stomach (pot) into useable energy product or a form of waste product.
Remember, as food is converted from its eaten form into something useable in cells in your muscles, your small intestine must distinguish between useable energy and useless waste.
From this process of distinguishing, one of four subsequent processes begins:
- High Energy / Low Waste: In this case, a smooth conversion of food into energy takes place with little to no gastro-intestinal adversity experienced with high probability of high performance output.
- Low Energy / High Waste: In this case, little conversion of food into energy occurs and there’s a likely experience of gastro-intestinal adversity coupled with low performance output.
Low Energy / Low Waste: In this case, little conversion of food into every or waste occurs and there’s low probability of a high-performance output.
- This is likely to occur when one is fasting/fasted and their metabolism has not become adapted for lipid oxidation (fat metabolism).
- In the presence of a fat-adapted metabolism, even without food to convert into energy, the metabolic forces know how to mobilize fat cells and convert them into ketone molecules which break down into pure energy molecules, thus producing a high energy / low waste situation.
For more on Intermittent Fasting and Ketosis click here.
- High Energy / High Waste: In this case, there is food present which can be converted into useable energy, but there’s also large amounts of waste product present, which can lead to an initial adverse gastro-intestinal experience followed by a high-performance output. However, if the waste isn’t exported either through bowel movement or vomit then it’s likely a low to moderate amount of energy will be expressed.
HOW DO WE ACHIEVE HIGH ENERGY / LOW WASTE OUTCOMES?
In the case of high-energy / low waste outcomes, most of your food converts into usable energy, which is then transported via physiological pathways to muscle and other needy tissue.
But, before you think about which foods are high in energy and low in waste, you start with the heat in the oven of your metabolism.
This means it’ll serve you and your goals well to consider activating your metabolism, or turning on your often, before you put too much food in your stomach (pot).
This is why I talk about the utility of “performance nutrition” and consuming food products that help trigger metabolic activity when you need it most.
If you train in the morning time, anytime within 3-4 hours of waking up, then there’s good possibility you can not eat food stuff and, instead, integrate a highly-combustible fuel-source, like a Fuel 5 or similar glucose-rich source, and feel energized during your session. (This would be in cooperation with a pre-training stack like Focus + CreatineJB or something similar.)
If you do train in the morning and this is something you have not tried then it’s worth “working backward” from zero, meaning start with eating no food and just a highly-combustible fuel and if you feel low-energy at any time during your session then include a small food item with your pre-training protocol on the next go around.
**If this is your first time trying this no-food approach to your session then give it a full week of testing before you decide whether it’s for you or not. You may love it on day 1, but hate days 2, 3, and 4; or you may hate day 1 through 3, but love days 4 through 7. So, give it a shot if you haven’t and if it sounds like something your body may respond well to.**
But let’s say you train in the afternoon, like at 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00 p.m.; how do you fuel leading up to that session?
For starters, training in the afternoon, especially early afternoon, provides “some benefit” to you:
- Your body is likely well-heated from the day
- Your physiology is up & running
- You’ve likely clear your GI track
These are some benefits to training in the afternoon, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that training in the afternoon is “better” than the morning time, but different bodies to tend to favor one or the other in terms of when it can perform at its highest. Moving on…
Even though you train in the afternoon, that doesn’t mean you can’t intermittently fast through the morning. As always, no matter when you train, hydration is paramount and continuous.
And, to similar degree, your nutrition and eating can also be continuous throughout the day once you start eating.
However, be mindful and remember back to the “pot on the stove” analogy in which your metabolism is the stove, your stomach the pot. And then put food into your pot insofar as you can keep it HOT and not put out the heat.
So, when you choose what to eat, consider what will keep your metabolic stove heating the pot.
WHAT FOODS KEEP THE STOVE AND POT HEATED?
This will depend on two things:
Your body’s type and the genetic features that determine how your metabolism breaks down and assimilates food stuff into energy.
- Your daily activity in terms of your general step count, your exercise regimen, and your sleep patterns.
Some people will find quality energy maintenance eating some fruit, some nuts, hand some seeds of sort through the day in amounts requisite to their preference.
Generally, you want to eat enough to sustain metabolic energy conversion but not so much that you shut it down.
And example of “shutting it down” would be consuming too much simple carbohydrate, thus kickstarting an insulin dump into your blood which is resisted by inactive muscles.
The resistance of insulin by the muscles forces the conversion of the carbohydrate (glucose) into a stored unit of fat.
The resulting experience of this process is your need for a nap.
Another example of this is simply eating too much, like a Double Whopper with cheese meal and a large soda. This will shut down most metabolisms’ ability to convert food into energy while, instead, a large waste removal process must be tended to.
There is a difference between overeating on simple carbs and simply overeating on everything.
While you’ll be hard pressed to get through a training session post-Whopper without full vomit nor with any meaningful output, there is a chance your metabolism could heat up and mobilize those excess carbohydrate in a training session.
Another GREAT food that keeps the metabolism working, especially for people who do regular strength training, is protein. Either small amounts of animal protein intermittently or quick protein drinks every 3 to 6 hours can help keep your metabolism at a “simmer” while also continuing the process of protein synthesis (muscle repair and rebuild).
In terms of “amounts”, that’ll vary for each individual, but modest protein servings at 8 to 10% of body weight every 3 to 6 hours is a decent baseline.
BUT, WHAT ABOUT AFTER I TRAIN; WHAT SHOULD I EAT THEN?
If you haven’t checked out the Post-Training Recovery Magic protocol then START THERE.
All things being equal and if you’re not planning a post-training active recovery protocol and you just need to nourish your muscles then this will get you started.
Within 30 minutes post-exercise:
- 12 to 20 ounces water
- 10 to 15% of your body weight in grams of protein (whey or plant)
- 5% of your body weight in Collagen + Greens
And, if you’re aiming to gain weight, then also:
- Additional 5% of body weight in grams of protein
- 15 to 20% of your body weight in grams of SuperStarch or other carbohydrate blend
But, if you’re aiming to lose weight, then:
- DO NOT take whey or plant protein, yet; but
- DO take the 5% of your body weight in grams of Collagen + Greens
- However, let your “catabolic” processes of breaking down molecules continue so as to burn-off additional calories before triggering your “anabolic” processes of building up molecules to repair muscle tissue.
- And, for your next meal, include your 10 to 15% of body weight in grams of protein with a meal rich in crunchy, leafy greens.
The most important thing to remember about your post-training nutrition is to:
- Replenish nutrient stores, like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
- Repair muscle tissue with clean reparative material
- These help restore psychological balance
And, with a day full of regular movement, continuous hydration, well-timed fueling, high-performance training, and effective recovery with quality eating, there’s only one thing left to do—SLEEP.
OKAY, BUT HOW TO GET TO SLEEP AND STAY DEEP ASLEEP?
It all starts with your daily input-output relationship and ends with your sleep environment.
If all things are equal and you’ve done your best to fuel properly and move regularly through the day, here’s a start point for optimizing your sleep:
- Set home temp to 68 degrees
- Turn down or off all artificial light or
- Wear blue-light blocking lenses at night
- Aim for consistent time to be in bed
If you’re already doing these things and it’s still difficult to get to sleep then before trying sleep-assist nutrients, I encourage you to give the “guided breathing” feature on this app a try. It’s known to increase calm, enhance relaxation, and disintegrate any anxiety. WIM HOF
Should all else fail, you can try nutrients that assist in the sleep process. Here is a combination of pre-bedtime nutrients which could help with your sleep:
- 5HTP: Known for effecting mood through serotonin release; also helps with sleep
- GABA: Reduces certain brain activity for deeper sleep; also has slight euphoric effect
- Calcium-Magnesium Citrate: Relaxes muscle tissue and helps with deeper sleep
There are other nutrients that do help with the sleep process, but to keep it simple, that is a great place to start.
Other things that are known to improve the sleep process are tonal sounds, like 528hz or other variation. Scents and, dare I say, defused essential oils. And consider other stimuli that triggers relaxation and calm in the mind can also help you reach a deep sleep state.
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