If you are working hard in the gym but aren’t seeing the changes you are hoping for, it could be that sugar is undoing all your good work.
You may be motivated, do the hard work and hit the gym every time you are supposed to; but your form is not changing, body fat is not shifting and you wonder how long will you continue without seeing the results?
So many people are consuming high levels of hidden or masked sugars in products marketed as healthy that they are literally undoing their hard work and in some cases making things worse.
“Take my advice: look at how much sugars you are actually consuming. For most of you, it might be shocking. It is even more shocking when you find out about the long term impact of sugars on your body.”
Sugar in unnatural forms and amounts will create havoc in the body. It will create a cycle of addiction, erode and/or degenerate vital organs, and can strip nutrients from the body. The result is disease and there are over 144 diseases that can be directly linked to sugar consumption.
There is a current misconception in the health and fitness world that people who work out a lot are the ultimate picture of health. The full picture of health, however, has many different parts. Yes, one of those parts is exercise, but constantly working out does not mean you can eat whatever you want and however much you want with no negative impact. Eating highly processed foods that contain high amounts of sugars and toxic chemical will be detriment to your health regardless of how much you work out. The theory that most people fall back on in this argument is that since those people are working out so much they are burning all of that energy as fuel. This argument fails to recognize the other substances present in processed foods. Toxic ingredients and preservatives are in most sports drinks, sports bars, and recovery snacks marketed top athletes.
Fit “Unhealthy” People
No human is going to burn these toxins as fuel, these substances get stored in fat cells (a physiological protection mechanism to keep the toxins contained so that they cannot damage our vital organs). For thin who are working out in high amounts but are constantly treating themselves with highly processed foods post workout, these toxins do not have as many places to go considering they have a lower fat mass. This means their vital organs are at risk of damage directly from what they are ingesting.
“You can’t burn off the damage sugar does.”
The disconnect of thinking that if you are working out a lot that you can eat whatever you want is pervasive in mass media, as many famous athletes share their high calorie, low nutrient dense meal regimes. For example, Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps, was highlighted on numerous news outlets for sharing that he ate fried egg sandwiches, pounds of pasta, and entire pizzas while sipping on sports drinks on a daily basis while he was training. This does a disservice to athletes everywhere because they look up to professional athlete as the gold standard of performance. Working out a great deal puts a large amount of stress on your body and in order for your body to heal from this stress it needs highly nutrient dense and antioxidant for ultimate performance. No powder or supplement can trump nutrient rich foods.
Removing sugar from your diet is easy to talk about. It is highly addictive, in everything, found everywhere and hard to avoid. It is made in the same way we take natural things like coca leaves and opium sap, that are not highly addictive in their natural state, but when processed to the white form it becomes addictive and toxic to the body. Getting off of it for most people requires a strategy, not a diet.
We have come up with a couple of ways to avoid the added sugar and keep you nourished and balanced when it comes to your fitness:
- Instead of popping an energy gel or bar half-way through your long distance run, skip the processed chemical stuff for a date. Pit the date before you begin your workout and slowly take bites of it or just let it sit in your mouth for a bit and dissolve during your workout. You will benefit from the natural nourishment and energy in those dates.
- Thirsty and looking to replenish electrolytes after a big workout? Try this homemade sports drink: 4 cups spring water, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon Maple syrup and pinch of sea salt.
- Finally, if you are looking to reward yourself after a big workout with something sweet, pack your pantry and gym bag with delicious raw and organic options that provide great taste and loads of nourishment.
Remember: Packing in the calories will most definitely provide a fuel source, but choosing more nutrient dense foods to add to your training regime gets you a lot farther, no matter the sport or activity.
YWCA Fitness on 25th is a coed facility providing a range of fitness experiences in a welcoming environment to achieve your individual health and fitness goals. Watch for the next YWCA wellness article on our website blog and social media channels.
by Nima Nazemi
Source: Mike Bracko, 2017, canfitpro Magazine (November/December 2017), pg. 52 – 53.