Exercising? Why your diet matters more than ever!
This morning, when I reached for my mask before entering work, I instead pulled a thong out of my handbag. What makes this worse is that it happened in front of someone else.
I wasn't quite sure how to pull it off …. pretend that was my plan along? Wear my thong-mask with pride? Or just laugh about it … I went with the latter. To be fair, it IS easy to mix them up — especially when you're rummaging through a pile of clean laundry at 6.30am in the half-light. I've had my fair share of handbag mix-ups; I once handed someone a tampon when they asked for a pen. This kind of embarrassment isn't new to me.
Anyway, I really don't love masks. I miss seeing people's faces. I miss smiles and expressions of sympathy and joy. I miss the interaction you really only get when you can properly see someone! Fortunately, as my office is right in the middle of the gym, I get to see people without masks on a lot. It's just not safe to exercise with a mask on, especially when you're working out at full intensity. And we've made it such a safe space with distancing, sanitiser, sprays and extra-purified air that our members feel secure. It's good to get on with ordinary life!
We're now in Week 5 of Nutrifit and so, in that sense, things at work really do feel like they're gaining momentum again. I absolutely love teaching these classes and fortunately we've been able to get back up to full speed using a combination of in-person and online coaching.
Last week we discussed antioxidants and how important they are in general, but especially when you exercise. There's a misconception out there that suggests if you exercise, it doesn't matter so much what you eat (or drink) as you'll be burning any “bad” or excess calories off.
The trouble here is that people vastly overestimate how many calories they are burning, and underestimate how many they are eating. Also, it's not just all down to calories in versus calories out as it relates to weight and your health in general.
When I'm teaching people about antioxidants, I give them the example of an apple. When an apple is cut in half and exposed to air, the flesh “oxidises” and becomes brown (ageing and degeneration) because of the exposure to oxygen. However, if you cover the exposed flesh in lemon juice then you can reduce or delay this damage significantly.
Well guess what? The same is true for humans. Imagine that you are just like an apple. The more oxygen you are exposed to (think, intense exercise) then the more ageing and degeneration occurs. But this is neither a reason to dip yourself in lemon juice, nor an excuse not to exercise. There are dozens of reasons why exercise is good for you; it's just important for your diet to keep up. Your diet is the best source of antioxidants and eating them prevents your apple (as it were) from going brown. You'll find antioxidants in fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, chocolate, wine and tea. When it comes to the last three — easy does it!
The antioxidant message is an important part of Beat the Couch, too. Beat the Couch is a beginners running programme that gets people off the couch and 5K-fit in ten weeks. We've navigated the Covid-19 guidelines successfully and are ready to start Season 16 on October 2. Please see natural.bm for all the details!
Of all the dietary changes we recommend for our runners, antioxidant intake is a priority. This is because antioxidants are also anti-inflammatory, which means less likelihood of injury and better, quicker recovery post-training. Packing your diet full of antioxidants means that, quite simply, there's less room for junk — so it's a win-win.
I'll be posting some extra tips for how to maximise antioxidants intake on social media. See you there!
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram