Fitness: Starting Over

Hi guys,

I’m back on the mend after a recent sports injury that has had me housebound for quite some time.  Basically, I made the mistake of attempting to get back into fitness without warming up – something I used to do when I was younger (and fitter). I foolishly realized that that’s absolutely not the case anymore and that I need to rethink things.  So today I’d like to talk to you about general exercise, nutrition and sports supplements.

For many years now I’ve a life void of any real exercise.  This is partly to do with a serious back injury I sustained whilst cycling off the beaten track in Laos, during the wet season back in 2008.  Since then, I’ve had a lot of recurring back problems that have seen to it that I should be careful of any strenuous exertion, especially if it involves being off balance or twisting in the wrong way.   I’ve also been living living a very unhealthy lifestyle this past few years, mainly due to business/work related circumstances that impose a certain way of life. 

So my current fitness level, which has to be a negative figure somewhere on the tortoise-to-hare scale is simply appalling.  Ten years ago I was running around playing rugby, trekking in the mountains of New Zealand, scuba diving and working out daily at the local gym.  These days I’m out of breath after dragging myself up a flight of stairs.  It really is pathetic.  So, it’s time to make a plan, and after my recent injury which occurred mainly as a result of not warming I’m going to start being sensible.  I moved house recently and now live up in the mountains with an abundance of open space and lots of trails tracks and generally traffic-free roads.  The plan is to resume mountain biking, something I’ve always enjoyed.  The logistics are perfect too as the first fifteen minutes or so will be spent flying downhill as the adrenaline courses through my veins, followed by a couple of laps around the coastal promenade before returning back up the mountain for a good thirty to forty minutes of agonizing pain, which should, SHOULD make for a good warm-up.

Mountain Biking

Anything after that: weights, crunches, resistance work, lifting etc. will be a bonus.  At least I’ll be adequately warmed up.  But it’s the next bit that I need to get right: the nutrition and the supplements.  I’ve always had a good basic understanding of nutrition but as I’m pretty much middle-aged now, I can only imagine the kinds of scientific and medical advancements that have paved the modern road of sports & fitness.

Why is Sports Nutrition Important

Fats, protein and carbohydrates all provide your body with fuel to maintain energy. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel used by working muscles. It’s essential to get the right amount of carb intake in order to prevent muscle fatigue.

As for fats, you shouldn’t avoid them altogether believe it or not. Fats provide fatty acids which are still useful as a source of energy, especially if your exercising for more than one hour.

Protein can be used as a source of energy and is critical for repairing and re-building new muscle tissue after exercise, particularly if you’re lifting weights or doing any extra resistance work.

Fitness

So for anyone who is going to make daily exercise a part of their every day life, here are a list of foods that are essential to your health as part of an active lifestyle: 

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats
  • Lean meats, or other protein sources (fish, tofu, pulses)

It’s also crucial to keep yourself hydrated.  If you don’t, your performance will be affected, and much worse, it can be dangerous to your health.  Generally, keeping yourself hydrated with water will suffice , but if you happen to live in hot or humid areas or especially if you’re going to exercise strenuously for more than an hour, it’s generally recommended that you incorporate sports drinks or mix electrolytes into your water to balance the body and replenish lost salts.

Sports Supplements

So that pretty much brings us to sports supplements, an area of rapid development over recent years.  My only experience of supplements was in my late teens when I was bodybuilding with creatine powder followed by a large eggy protein shake.  While it did the trick back then, these days it’s a whole different ball game.  It’s not only bodybuilding that drives the market for supplements, it’s all sports, athletics and Olympic sports that benefit from this hybrid support system.  There’s a great article here that lists the top 25 sports supplements.

I’ve also found a great resource for purchasing supplements online: http://www.used.forsale/sports-supplements

Thanks for reading guys, more to come soon..