NO PAIN! NO GAIN! You most likely have heard this phrase while trying to improve your athletic performance. This mantra is not essential if you want to be healthy. Moderate exercise is not only easier on maintaining good health but is much more sensible time-wise.
You’ll find every side to any belief and whether or not too much exercise is harmful there are many that believe that being a super-athlete is dangerous. What’s right? I frequently get comments of confusion when an athlete dies. The general consensus is that if the person is very athletic, they won’t die until they die of old age. In the past (decades ago) that may have been true, but today there are other issues that frequently are ignored.
Athletes tend to put their body under stress above and beyond their normal nutritional thresholds. My experience with athletes is that they consume a diet that is generally nutritionally devoid. Usually to get quick fuel into the cells – carbohydrates. Carbohydrates do provide “quick fuel”, but not “long-lasting fuel”. Unfortunately, they’re void of other nutrients to run the body’s many systems.
The body requires mass amounts of nutrients to function. Every day billions of cells in the body are being torn down and discarded. These cells need to be rebuilt daily. An athlete breaks down cells at a rate faster than the average person due to the increased physical demands placed on the body. The body requires a certain amount of nutrients as raw materials to rebuild these billions of cells lost every day.
The body as a whole requires proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, water, enzymes, essential fatty acids and other cofactors in order to make these cells. Any diet missing these vital nutrients will result in fewer cells being made or in making weaker cells. The body can’t make something out of nothing, it has to take from somewhere else to replenish what it’s missing.
Therefore any athlete (not just super-athletes) must have super nutrition! Unfortunately, many athletes run to the health food store or gym to buy vitamins or power drinks in an attempt to make up the deficiencies in their diet. What most don’t realize is that a majority of the time the vitamins and power drinks they are getting are devitalized, chemical supplements and they’ve gained nothing! Canned protein powders for instance are heated at extreme temperatures during processing, destroying much of the very proteins they are trying to replenish. They contain synthetic vitamins that the body generally is unable to convert to a usable form; or if it does, it takes more nutrients that are in the body (like calcium from bones) to convert it. In other words, they end up worse taking the powder than if they took nothing at all. Protein is critical, but it needs to be in a bio-available form.
(A side not on energy drinks: These can be dangerous when substituted for good nutrition. I usually see the generally consumed while athletes are exercising. The effect they have on the body is most unhealthy, by weakening vital systems and pushing them to their brink. Used regularly they can undermine anyone’s health in a myriad of ways.)
Aerobic exercise, especially sustained aerobic exercise is essential for good cardiac tone. By keeping our circulation moving the entire system benefits, and yes this includes the liver and kidneys. However, as the heart is dependent upon the electrical mechanism within it to function properly, it is also dependent upon minerals to carry out all vital functions. Unless our super-athlete is consuming large amounts of organic, green-leafy vegetables, root vegetables and sea vegetables, it is unlikely the body will keep up with the mineral needs. Everything in the body is dependent upon minerals to function properly. If not, all functions suffer. When performing, an athlete’s heart requires a substantial amount of nutrients to keep up with the demand placed upon it. Generally, our heart will take priority over other organs. If the body’s nutritional resources get depleted, where will the body get enough nutrients to survive?
Food is not the same as it once was. Food sources continue to be depleted nutritionally by poor farming practices, over processing, and chemical engineering. Nutritionally deficient foods create more demands on the body. No wonder athletes can drop dead if they’re not nourishing their bodies! Our body is capable of keeping up with the profound demands of heavy exercise, if we provide it with the raw materials, in the proper amounts to support function.
Eating extraordinarily well, taking whole food supplements (such as Standard Process), providing a solid structural foundation with chiropractic care can the athlete do so without compromising their health at the same time. Whole food supplements are designed to replace the nutrients not found our typical diets (which is becoming more and more common for everyone). They are processed on low temperatures to maintain biological activity, concentrated to therapeutic dosages and do not contain synthetic vitamins to spike up their RDA’s. They will build and help to restore function – even under extreme demands.