During exercise, we demand more energy and demand more from our muscles.
This blog dives into what is happening inside our bodies as we increase the intensity of our workouts and provides 10 tips on how to boost your energy, help your muscles recover and build muscle mass.
Most of the energy we use in our bodies comes from trillions of mitochondria, each using oxygen and glucose to make and store the energy we need to move.
Our body stores surplus energy in three places; blood, liver/muscles and belly fat. When we start exercising, glucose that is circulating in the blood is the first and fastest energy source. Our brains monitor blood glucose levels and when they start to fall, the brain signals to the liver and muscles to release energy that is stored in the form of glycogen. When glycogen reserves are depleted, we enter ketosis where we burn up our fat reserves for fuel. As we produce more energy, we produce more heat. Our sweat glands kick in as an engine coolant to try to regulate our bodies temperature.
Here are 3 tips for peak energy production:
#1 Fill your glucose reserve tank
When you start your workout, you want to ensure your blood glucose and more importantly your glycogen reserves are topped up. Eating a balanced meal 2-3 hours before you leave the starting line is ideal. For glycogen reserves that is a much longer cycle. Many athletes start “carb Loading” a week before the event, eating meals rich in carbohydrates and proteins while limiting strenuous exercise.
Note burning fat works but remember you have to carry that weight around which offsets your performance.
Drink plenty of water before during and after your workout. Water helps regulate our body temperature by sweating, helping to keep mitochondria your happy and performing at peak level. Note that the human body operates best at a pH of 7.35-7.45. Avoid drinking carbonated drinks prior to racetime. These drinks have a pH of 2-3 and force the body to spend energy to neutralize these acids just when you need the energy to move.
#3 Load up on antioxidants
When we demand more energy during a workout we are driving our engines harder and harder. Just like a gas engine, drive too fast and your gas milage drops and toxic emissions of reactive oxygen species (ROS) rise. To boost your milage include powerful antioxidants including natural astaxanthin which is 5000X more powerful than Vitamin C in mitigating surplus ROS generated during stressful exercise. Wild shellfish or salmon, barnyard chicken eggs and the offal meat of wild game are excellent sources of astaxanthin as are supplements like Eicosadose.
Whenever we undertake strenuous exercise we demand more of our muscles. Of course they need energy to function but what else is going on?
During strenuous exercise your lungs and red blood cells may not deliver enough oxygen to the mitochondria. In peak energy production, the mitochondria provides energy to the cell in the form of ATP which for us laymen is basically tiny charged battery. Without sufficient oxygen to combine with glucose, the mitochondria ATP production falls off and the mitochondria makes lactic acid.
Lactic acid composed of lactate plus a hydrogen ion. The hydrogen ion changes the cell’s pH and is responsible for “burning” sensation that often accompanies strenuous activity.
A post workout 10-15 minute walk can help flush lactic acid out of our muscles and into our bloodstreams. Once there, the lactic acid is separated into lactate which can be used for energy and hydrogen ions which are neutralized by the regulatory systems that maintain pH.
#5 Change Clothes
As the body cools down after exercise, sweat-soaked clothing becomes counterproductive and can cool the body down too much. Change to dry clothes to help you maintain optimal body temperature during the muscle recovery phase.
Stretching helps your muscles retain the elasticity needed for optimum performance. Also a good post workout stretch can facilitate moving lactic acid out of your muscles.
Whenever we exercise, we increase the risk of damage to our muscles. Nobody wants to sprain an ankle or tear a muscle. But if you want to build muscle mass it turns out a bit of damage is just what the doctor ordered. This seems counterintuitive but small micro-sized muscle tears are critical to building muscle mass. Whenever there is damage big or small, we activate our immune system to help us recover & repair the damage. The inflammation response floods the micro-tear with nutrients and compounds that help the muscle “build back better.” Once repaired the anti-inflammation reaction kicks in which restores everything back to steady state.
Rest gives the immune system time to do its job in repairing and rebuilding the micro-tears. A good night’s sleep goes a long way here. Can’t sleep? Check out my blog on how to get a good night’s sleep. How much rest you need depends on the health of your immune system and general fitness level.
#8 Active Recovery
A great routine alternates highly intensive workouts with less stressful activities such as bike riding or yoga.
Post strenuous activities, consider getting a massage! The increased blood circulation helps relax tense muscles and improves the flow of blood in and out of our muscles. Use a topical cream like Serene Relief Sport that contains CBD and menthol for relieving pain.
#10 Boost Your Immune System
Want to repair those micro-tears and build muscle mass? Then keep your immune system operating at its peak performance. Eicosadose Immune Booster contains 9 micronutrients essential for muscle and immune system health.