You need to be very specific about what to eat and when, if you are training for a marathon, as well as supplementing your diet, but there are more general things you can do to improve your stamina at the gym or if you want to jog a few miles.
- It’s true that caffeine does improve performance and increases the break down of fat, but you don’t need a lot of it, however coffee can give you stitch and energy drinks are often high in sugar.
- If you find you hit a wall after 15 minutes, or become “bonked” in cycling terms (!) it may be mental fatigue resulting from a lack of glucose to the brain rather than physical fatigue, in which case one glucose tablet or some diluted fruit juice may help.
- Are you sweating considerably during your workout? Drink coconut water which helps replace lost electrolytes and is low in calories. Check your urine too to make sure you aren’t dehydrated afterwards. It should be pale coloured, but remember that B vitamins can make it bright yellow for a couple hours after taking them.
- Most people don’t need to hydrate too much during a one hour workout, but ensure you don’t begin exercising dehydrated which may be the case if you go out first thing.
- According to our circadian rhythms, the best time for muscle building is between 4am – 10am, however try and avoid 4pm – 10pm – a typical time for training- as this is when the body is in a catabolic phase, concentrating on breaking down and eliminating toxins.
- Exercise is great for stress, especially if you are stressed and ‘wired’. However if you are stressed and exhausted, exercising is only going to strain and stress the body further and deplete your immune system. If this is the case try walking, swimming and yoga.
- Do you get cramp? There may be several reasons. The first is electrolyte imbalance – whether there is enough magnesium / calcium and sodium / potassium in the cells. Drinking coconut water and increasing your magnesium may help, as well as eating bananas and sesame seeds. Most people are deficient in magnesium, and supplementing 400mg per day can be useful although many people need more (check with a qualified nutritionist). Are you dehydrated? Have your warmed up and cooled down? Sufficient stretching can alleviate cramp. Another great relaxant for the body is a bath of Epsom salts – add 2 cupfuls to an average bath, it aids sleep and detoxes the body.
- As we age, there is more wear and tear on the body, and glucosamine (hydrochloride is the best form) can help prevent joint degeneration. Upping your essential fats, either through lots of oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout), flax oil or an omega 3 supplement, can reduce inflammation in the body, improve sleep and keep cells flexible allowing nutrients in and toxins out.
Exercise should be fun, so find something you enjoy as you’re more likely to stick at it!