The Easiest Way to Enhance Performance, Energy and Health

By Kyle Arsenault CSCS

                Not a day goes by when a client, athlete, friend or family member asks me, “Are there any supplements  I can take or something I can do to help me gain more energy? Also, is there anything that will boost my training results and help me achieve a healthier and more desired body composition?”  Ok, ok so maybe it usually goes a little more like, “What new magic powder, muscle building matrix or power pill will get rid of my spare tire, get me totally jacked and transform me into a sexy beast?” But I prefer the first version. At least it gives me the inclination that this individual is willing to put forth some degree of work to achieve their goals. It gives me the hope that they have not yet succumb to the amazingly absurd suggestion that strapping some electrical impulse belt around their gut or downing the “newest and greatest” super potion will result in washboard abs “in as little as one week.” Don’t you think everyone would be walking around looking like King Leonitas and the rest of the 300 crew if that were the case?  But I digress.

 

Supplements, an electrode belt?…I think not. HARD and SMART training!

 

My response to these sorts of questions usually goes a little something like this; “There is nothing that will replace HARD, SMART training and PROPER rest and recovery when it comes to getting healthy, reaching expectations (a better word for goals) and enhancing performance.”  Although there are a few supplements I recommend investigating (vitamin D, fish oil and whey protein), supplements are merely that…SUPPLEMENTS. Many supplements are not necessary if proper training, nutrition, rest and recovery are performed (never mind that 99% of supplements in vitamin/nutrition shops are not FDA approved and are a total waste of money). With this in mind, and to answer the question of how or what can we do or take to enhance energy, health, performance and results?…

1)      Again, SMART, I emphasize SMART and HARD training

2)      CONSISTENTLY SMART and HARD training (you can not train once every few weeks and expect to look and feel like a Greek God/Goddess)

3)      Adequate rest and recovery; off day programming that is conducive to your training expectations; de-stressing activities, sleeping patterns/habits

4)       Proper/healthy nutrition; including solid food and liquids (some supplements, like the ones mentioned above are just fine when cleared by your physician, but that is for another post)

 

If this looks like your cabinet, you have been wasting A LOT of money

 

I understand that without professional guidance, designing a proper program to most efficiently achieve your expectations may be difficult. For this reason I advise seeking the advice/help from a qualified and reputable performance coach. Staying consistent and dedicated to your training is on you. This is not something that anyone else but yourself can control. Others can help, as any good friend, family member or coach should, but ultimately it is your call whether or not your training is consistent. Adequate rest and recovery may be hard to come by in today’s ridiculously fast paced world, but a good nights (and hopefully weeks/months) sleep can drastically improve health and performance. And the opposite occurs with inadequate sleep. We all know the importance of proper/healthy nutrition especially solid food, so I won’t harp on that any further (plus, this coming Monday 9/12 I will be providing a seminar on Fueling for Performance at 7pm at Momentum PT). So that leaves us with proper fluid intake.

Study after study has observed that when as little as a 2% of an individual’s body weight is lost via water weight, physiological and psychological performance is negatively affected. The results of dehydration include but are not limited to:

-memory loss

-hallucinations

-decreased reactive ability

-confusion

-muscle weakness, rigidity or tremors

-abnormal respiration

-a weakened immune system response that when experienced in a chronic fashion can eventually lead to an increased risk of developing disease and illness (studies suggest increased risk of cancers, obesity, urinary stone disease, etc)

 

Acute dehydration effects cognitive function as well as the muscular and nervous system. If all of these systems are not up to par, training will suffer, recovery will suffer, injuries will occur and your motivation to continue with a training program will decrease. If dehydration continues on a chronic scale, not only will daily performance be drastically affected, but long term health will be negatively impacted. So now that you have a basic understanding of how vital it is to be properly hydrated, what is one thing you can do / ”take” to enhance energy levels, performance, mood and training results?…Yep, you got it. Good old WATER.

 

WATER, your key to more energy, enhanced performance and better results…pretty simple huh?

 

A general recommendation is to drink about one half-gallon of water on non-training days and closer to a gallon during training/competition days.  As with any other component of health and performance, the amount of water an individual needs to consume throughout the day will vary. The size, gender and activity level all impact the amount of water needed. A larger athlete who trains more intensely will require more water than a normally sedentary individual who exercises twice a week. Also, food intake accounts for about 33% of daily water intake as well as being an important factor in keeping proper nutrient to water ratios (there is a such thing as over-hydration which occurs when large quantities of water are ingested without any nutrients/minerals…so make sure to also eat throughout the day!!)

Want to have more energy so you can sustain your HARD and SMART training? The answer should be a resounding YES, since you know that it is HARD, SMART and CONSISTENT training in conjunction with adequate rest and recovery that will keep you healthy, keep you performing at you optimal levels and keep you achieving your training expectations. So, go have a tall glass of water, make sure to carry a water bottle with you to work/school today and enjoy the results of a properly hydrated body.

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