Fit or Healthy Part 2
Now that we heard about how excessive exercise can be catabolic, what can we do? The most important thing is listen to your body. Your body knows what it needs, and will guide you if you listen. Cravings are a good example of this at the simplest level. We crave sweets, salty things, water etc. depending on what the body is lacking. By listening and being proactive, we can get ahead of the curve and keep things running optimally. In blatant terms, don’t let your body get to that point! This goes across the board. Have extensive blood work done in the offseason (testosterone, thyroid, iron, vitamin d etc.) to establish a strong baseline to monitor your health. This can pay dividends if you run into problems during racing season. Allow the body to recover fully after intense training periods. This may be the number 1 thing that will keep you healthy. You will always be stronger when your body is rested and restored to absorb the next round of training/racing. Eat a well-balanced diet, and avoid periods of low calories and starvation. When you do not consume the appropriate nutrients, the body will find them from within, causing a catabolic state of depletion. Eating during exercise is not a bad thing if you are training over an hour. Carbs will actually reduce cortisol levels and aid in recovery. Make sure you eat within a half hour of completing your exercise. Within this half hour, your body will be hyper active using the nutrients you consume for recovery at an accelerated pace. Sleep is also an important element of staying healthy. You get up early all week to go to work, why not sleep in on the weekends if you can. In the winter months, instead of riding first thing in the morning when the temperatures are at the coldest, wait a few hours to train. Your ride will actually be more enjoyable and productive than freezing to get it in. The body is an amazing machine when it’s functioning properly.