The Essence of Success
Essence: the attribute(s) that make an entity or substance what it is.
Everyone has wants and needs—obtaining them and therefore reaching “success” requires time and patience. Let’s take a look at sports and delve into how success is accomplished.
For those ready for athletic success, here are two amazingly, fantastically simple lists to achieve that...
Two Essential Rules
There are two fundamental, essential rules to success in all sports: Rest and Recovery.
1. Rest (aka Sleep, Hang time, doing a whole lotta nothing. Yup, it’s as simple as that)
2. Therapy, massage, stretching
3. Cool Downs – To reduce heart rate (see #1)
4. Cross Training – To maintain overall “fitness” and support antagonistic muscles (muscles that opposes the action of others; the biceps and triceps are antagonistic muscles)
5. Water – A critical component to cardiovascular system recovery
6. Energy – FOOD! NUTRIENTS!
2. Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
4. Restoration of Energy Stores – Especially carbohydrates (aka: FOOD)
Riiiiiiiight… Of course the last items in both lists are highlighted by a Chef/Nutritionist…
Glucose and Glycogen
Let’s start with carbohydrates. When they are consumed, the body converts them into glucose, signaling the pancreas to release insulin to regulate the amount of glucose cruising around the bloodstream and being moved into our cells. Now, our bodies do not want, or need, a high amount of glucose in the bloodstream. That glucose should be used immediately by the cells, but is oftentimes stored for future use.
So….. where is the glucose stored?
Excess glucose is sent to the liver and muscles and converted into glycogen. Glycogen stored in the liver helps to maintain our body’s blood sugar levels when it is needed. Glycogen stored in muscles, however, is only used by our muscles—it waits to be called upon, stays there, and will be utilized there. But it is tapped into in the beginning of our workouts and is quickly depleted during exercises requiring power. It can only be replenished by way of food.
On average, our bodies are most receptive and focused on “recovering,” replenishing our glycogen stores, within 30-45 minutes after activity, when we are entering resting state. “Ideal” muscle glycogen recovery is obtained by eating a series of small meals (easier to digest and process).
Snapshot of what this looks like: An energy or granola bar, trail mix with fruits and nuts, a smoothie (preferably a blend of vegetables and fruits) or a PB&J sandwich on whole grain bread. Even something as simple as a shaker with a combo of orange juice and a high quality protein powder immediately after a workout has a greater chance of being utilized by our cells and stored into our muscles replenishing our depleted glycogen stores.
Once you have time to sit and eat a larger meal, eat more high quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats… along with hydrating fluids!
In a nutshell, this is the essence of our success:
Food (Energy) + Rest (Recovery) = RIGHT BACK INTO HIGH PERFORMANCE MODE
No one enjoys low energy or poor performances. Once you get back in “the game” you want your body to be in the shape that you have been training it to be in. You have been putting your muscles through the paces: repetitions, drills, shots, motions and movements. But your muscles work with a large network of neurons – collaborating like a team. And time (aka rest) is needed for relationships to be established. Your muscles need nutrients (food) to grow, keep the information highways open, highly functioning and communicating with the rest of the players efficiently.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Did I have you read allll of that microscopic science stuff to read a short paragraph on what to eat after working out and why?” You did.
We all know we should rest and eat the right foods, but did you ever know why? Have you ever noticed your reaction to something when you learn the facts about what happens or how it all happens? For me, it gives me a better sense of why I should do something. Hopefully now you do too!