The unspoken secret to S P O R T I N G Performance

Have you ever seen a metabolic roadmap of the human body plastered on a huge piece of paper?

Haha i highly doubt it as only crazy biochemistry geeks like me have it hanging like a Da Vinci poster on their bedroom walls.

But when you google it after you’ve read this blog, you will see your bodies metabolic abilities splayed out like a multi complex architectural scaffold starring you right in the face.

And when you see inside yourself like this, when the complexity of your bodies ability is mapped out on paper like this, you cant help but feel anything other than truly grateful for the miracle that you are. Without even understanding what the heck you are looking at, maybe, just maybe you will get a small grasp of how the failure of one of these pathways could make a huge difference to how we recover, how we transport oxygen around to our working muscles, how we digest food or how we create ATP for energy use.

In science the meaning of metabolism is;

‘The product of all energy interactions required to sustain life’

Wait. That description said sustain life, not push yourself to its physical limits to run, swim, jump, throw, dodge better than other human bodies. It said ‘sustain life’. So if your body is lacking a nutrient, enzyme or hormone, if it’s under stress from repetitive intense exercise, bad nutrition of lack of rest your metabolism isn’t going to focus on maximising the amount of energy that is diverted to your muscles to contract! NO it needs to sustain your life first, and if this means down regulating less essential pathways like repairing muscle tissue, maximising muscular performance or neural function to control muscle activation and perfect technique, then it is sure to do so. So if you’re not truly healthy than your body is focusing on healing you first before it focuses on athletic performance.

Let me explain this more. With oxygen (aerobic) 1 glucose molecule can produce up to 34.2 ATP. Without oxygen (anaerobic) 1 glucose molecule can only produce 2 ATP.

So let think about that for a second. With oxygen and a healthy body that is creating and providing all the nutrients and substrates needed to go through The Citric Acid Cycke (TCA cycle) we can produce 34.2 ATP. But if something isn’t working properly i.e. it has been stopped due to a deficiency in a nutrient, enzyme or hormone, we are restricted from going through the TCA cycle and can only produce 2ATP. Therefore a person working anaerobically will have to work 17 times harder to create the same amount of energy.

So working aerobically doesn’t just require the presence of oxygen, but also the availability of nutrients, enzymes, hormones and healthy tissues/organs.

With this knowledge now picture two triathletes running next to each other in the final leg of the triple decker race. They’ve been exercising to their limits for almost 2 hours. However one athlete has low iron levels and therefore their oxygen transportation is inefficient. Iron is also an intermediate for the TCA cycle. So this athlete has been working anaerobically working 17 times harder to produce the same amount of ATP as his competitor running along side him working efficiently turning over copious amounts of energy. When it comes to the crunch, who do you think will come out on top?

Will power can get you almost anywhere, but it would help if your body was on the same adventure.

So in the end its not about the calories or the training, its not about a magic pill or a ‘superfood’, it is and always will be about health. Find your own perfect health and you will thrive!

Sugar & Fat Free Easter Chocolate!

Do you always end up feeling guilty, having sugar crashes and food babies over this Easter long weekend? I have the perfect chocolate snacks for you! 3 ingredients, no sugar or fat!

Easter is TWO days away and this year i am sharing my 24th birthday with the Easter bunny and all of you this sunday! So lets cook up a storm, feel the love and nourish our bodies with beautiful nutrients!

Ingredients

250g 100% raw Cacao chocolate

1 tablespoon of liquid Stevia

Mixed nuts/ goji berries/ sunflower seeds/ pumpkin seeds/ coconut flakes. Your Choice!!

 

Method

Melt the 100% raw chocolate on the stove until it makes a smooth texture. Make sure its on a low heat so you don’t burn the chocolate. Add in the stevia and your choice of topping. Spread it out on a tray lined with non-stick paper and place in the ridge to set for approximately 1 hour. Take out and cut into delicious healthy chocolate bites.

 

Don’t forget today is the last chance you have to win a box of FREE ORGANIC COFFEE!!! Just follow @sixatetea on Instagram or Facebook to go in the draw!

Hydration

Did you ever wonder why drinking sea water would makes us more thirsty and ultimately make you more dehydrated? Sure we all know its because its salty but how does salt relate to water concentration in the body? This theory always rattled me too, until I was finally presented with the scientifically reasoning for it when I studied for a subject at university called human physiology. Alright so lets learn about salt and its role in water concentration in the blood.

First lesson, H20 (a.k.a. water), will always follow sodium (a.k.a.salt), because sodium is positively charged and water is negatively charged, but personally i think its because sodium is cool. Sodium is the coolest little crystallised mineral floating around the body controlling cell membrane excitability, mechanically gated ion channels to open, telling potassium to get out of a cell if it wants to come in and controls whether aldosterone gets to join the party in the body or not.

Okay I just got a bit science nerd exited on you, but you get the point, sodium, is really cool and powerful in the body. It’s so cool that H20 follows it around everywhere trying to be its best friend. So when sodium decides to leave the body through our urine, H20 follows.

Aldosterone is a hormone produced in the cortex of the adrenal glands and acts on the distal convoluted tubule of the kidneys. Aldosterone is also trying to be best friends with sodium because when our sodium levels are low and our potassium levels are high, aldosterone is stimulated to act on the kidneys and draw sodium back into the blood to maintain our electrolyte balance, hence water is retained. Of course Aldosterone is the hero because it saves sodium from being excreted in our urine but H20 is also still proving his loyalty to sodium by following sodium one again.

However you can see that aldosterone is only stimulated to be secreted and save sodium and water from exiting the body when sodium levels are low. if sodium levels are high i.e. if we were to drink lots of sea water, then aldosterone is not stimulated and so sodium leaves the body in our urine and H20 follows suit, therefore we become dehydrated.

Aldosterone is also blocked from being produced and help the body reabsorb salt and water by caffeine and alcohol. This is why alcohol and things that contain caffeine like coffee are diuretics. When consuming these substances our urine becomes clear i.e. dilute because the water and sodium are not being reabsorbed into the blood.

So you can see that if sodium levels are too high or too low we can get hydration issues.

Marijke Walshe Athlete Profile

Marijke Walshe

Age: 29

Sport: Triathlon

What is your greatest achievement? 

Finishing my first Ironman.

You are known for your passion in nutrition and health. How did you first become interested in this field? 

I’ve always had an interest in nutrition and health, but it really became a passion after one of my good friends told me to read vegan Triathlete Brendan Brazier’s book “Thrive”. For me, this book solidified the importance of nutrition; not only to improve athletic performance, but also for everyday wellbeing. Since then, I’ve continued to read as much as I can on the topic.

What “one change” have you made to your diet that has had the biggest and most positive impact on wellbeing? 

Adding more plants to my diet.

But also (I know, it said “one”) not to feel guilty if I have a “bad” meal. Being too obsessive isn’t healthy either.

What’s your secret food addiction/habit? 

Nut (and coconut) butters!! I LOVE them! I’ve been known to just eat them out of the jar with a spoon.

If you were stranded on an island and you could only take one food with you what would you take? 

Coconut butter.

What does your usual daily routine look like? 

An early rise, usually before the sun, to get out and train before work. I love the mornings. It’s the best part of the day.

On my lunch break, regardless of whether it’s raining, freezing or stinking hot, I get out for 30mins. I think it’s really important to move. Also just to escape the office environment and the constant sitting in front of computers. I like to free my mind for a short while.

After work, it’s either training again, socialising or just relaxing before bed.

How important do you believe nutrition is in achieving your goals and why? 

I believe it is exceptionally important and unfortunately often underrated. Good nutrition not only fuels you for your training sessions, but it plays a major role in how you then recover from those sessions and assists in remaining injury free.

It’s not just about performance and recovery good nutrition makes you feel better. It can reduce many different types of stress and despite the incredible amounts of stress I place on my body with the training that I do, I almost never get sick and I attribute that 100 percent to my diet.

What do you do everyday without fail that contributes to your optimum wellbeing?

Something I want to do.Not something I should do.

Whether it’s taking my pup for a walk, reading a book, catching up with friends or family or even just stretching; I like to find time to just unwind and relax.

What do you always have with you in carry on luggage when you travel by air? 

For domestic flights, I take a bottle of water and I always have a good book and my iphone ear plugs so I can have my favourite tunes on. For longer flights, as well as my water, book and ear plugs, I take coconut water and my own food so I don’t have to eat what’s provided on the plane.

If you could relate yourself to a specific food what would you be? 

Something that grows by the beach because I love the sun and the water.

What advice would you provide someone who wants to start on the path to wellness? 

Surround yourself with positive people, make time for yourself to do what you love to do.

Do you have a favourite healthy recipe? 

Ice cream! It used to be banana and chocolate (cacao), but I’ve recently discovered mango and coconut. All you have to do is chop up some mangoes and freeze them. Once frozen, process it with a can of coconut cream. So good!!

Where can we contact you? 

marijkewalshe@gmail.com

The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

2Summers

An American in Quirky Johannesburg

AeroGeeks

TriTech for the Masses

theflexifoodie.wordpress.com/

Delicious plant-based, whole food recipes & my healthy living tips!

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