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Digestion is something that many people in the gym, and outside the gym environment neglect or have zero information about.

Digestion is a huge deal! It really can be the difference of crazy results, transformation and increased performance and getting pretty much know where fast, and here’s why.

As many of you reading this now already know, a VERY important element of achieving a fitness goal is energy balance. This is how much fuel we consume in relation to how much energy we expend. The ENERGY IN VS ENERGY OUT equation. Now, although sometimes preached as the be all end all, which I very much disagree with, it is incredibly relevant to achieving a desired fitness goal. In particularly one of improving body composition.

Think about this,

Lets say the amount of food I must consume to maintain body weight is 2000 calories and I eat 2300 calories per day in an effort to gain muscle mass and pair this with a consistent resistance training program. This is a pretty sound structure to make ground on my goal.
But … I have underlying gut health issues and digestive problems. That same equation is no longer valid for several reasons.

1, The ability to absorb the nutrients I have consumed is not the same
2, The increased inflammation from this problem then adds additional stress to organs and other systems. Remember, the body works as one unit. NOT separately.

– If there’s a fire in my kitchen that is not dealt with it WILL spread to the rest of the house.

3, The body is built for survival, it will prioritise defending the body against a threat, it will prioritise protecting organs and systems over getting you bigger biceps.

Optimising digestion, even when you do not have a medical issue or symptoms of problems will build a solid routine that will increase the body and its ability to perform, absorb nutrients, down regulate and aid recovery from training.

REMEMBER – The gym is the stimulus, the recovery is where the results happen. Recovering is also one of the most difficult parts of training to be consistent with because we are always exposed to constantly changing variables in life. Building routine, habit and rituals around your eating is a GAME CHANGING PROTOCOL.

Heres how to do it.

  • Don’t eat when stressed or heightened –

When you are stressed or heightened you are in what is called sympathetic dominance. This means you are, to some degree, active, alert and/or in fight or flight. The body is ready for action in this state which means blood flow to brain and muscles is the priority. For this reason it should be fairly obvious why its not a great idea to dump a load of food in to a stomach that is not prepared for it. Digestion will be hindered.

  • Dont eat or drink calories immediately after training –

WTF…. What about the anabolic window post training!!! Training is again, sympathetic dominant. Its not a good idea contrary to what “bro science” tell us. Many athletes (me being one of them) Switched the immediate post workout drink with an easier to absorb and much more efficient INTRA WORKOUT DRINK which we consume as we train with higher quality protein blends such as Pepto Pro that are super easy to absorb and seep in to the open capillary network AS we train. This not only fuels the workout but nurtures the recovery process and will tide us over until we have down regulated enough to eat our post workout meal or post workout shake.

  • Breathe after training

Spending some time nasal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing post workout for 5-15 minutes will increase the rate at which you down regulate your nervous system leaving you in a state to consume fuel post workout quicker and more optimally.

  • Gargle

Always! lol. Gargle with water before drinking calories. This stimulates the vagus nerve. This is the connection between the brain and the gut. Think of it like giving a heads up to the gut that its going to need to work. This will assist the body to perform some procedures such as enzyme release, to help the body start the digestion process. Surprising the body with liquid calories is not a great idea without being prepped for it.

  • Massage your stomach

Lie face down over the top of a medicine ball and roll your stomach out. This will bring blood flow to that area. Blood flow to the stomach will help aid with digestion and optimise the organ to perform its function.

There are many more tricks and hacks for multiple different things but hopefully you can use these little tricks to aid with digestion.

Staying away from poor food choices, inflammatory foods and anything which causes a negative reaction in YOUR body (we are all different) are paramount. The methods mentioned are not to be put in place of good nutrition and structured eating programs/protocols, they are great little assists and extras to ensure health as a foundation. This will provide an internal environment for success.

Coach Chris over and out!!!

Keep up the Grind,

Coach Chris McClarence

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