What do running cramps, hamburgers and insurance have in common?
Many runners who burn lots of calories don’t seem to have too much of a problem eating anything they like. Well, I guess you have earned it – so long as the ‘calories in’ are less than the ‘calories out’ then you have nothing to worry about, right?
The great thing about running is that it’s one of the best ways to burn calories and even if you have a bad diet, enjoy the odd hamburger or fast food you’re not in much danger of putting on weight.
That may be true for a time, but if you’re getting regular muscle cramps or notice some small changes in your health like headaches, sore joints, muscle and eyelid twitches, blood sugar changes, higher blood pressure, fatigue, high cholesterol, weak immune system, cracked cuticles and even grey hair – then it’s time you should take a look at exactly what you’re eating.
Remember, even greats like Lance Armstrong got cancer and look at how hard he trained. Regular and hard exercise does not necessarily equal great health.
When you eat ‘fast’ or ‘junk’ food you’re actually depriving your body of the right fuel and increasing overall toxicity with flavour enhancers and preservatives. These are stimulatory to the brain and therefore tend to produce increased muscle tone (i.e. switching on the muscle contraction), making it more likely that you will cramp.
In hamburgers for example, much of our processed meat contains antibiotics, which is bad for the gut as it results in a loss of the good bacteria and absorption into the blood stream of more toxic proteins that the liver then has to get rid of.
All of these toxins have to pass out through the liver for detoxification and therefore reduce your energy output because the liver burns up your energy reserves trying to detoxify you. This results in you feeling tired and with less energy for your muscles to work.
Sugar and refined carbohydrates are also very bad because they produce energy spikes resulting in periods where you have lower energy making it more likely you will cramp – especially at the wrong time.
Hard training also results in an increase in the production of free radicals – dangerous compounds which form in the body when they combine with oxygen and these have to be neutralised by antioxidants. And for antioxidants you need minerals, vitamins and other specific nutrients. The harder you work out, the more you should have.
Consider also that when you sweat, you’re sweating out more than just the sweet-tasting, pretty coloured sports drinks. Your sweat is a soup of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and a range of essential nutrients. Losing these on a regular basis means that you have to work even harder to put them ‘back in’.
The best place to start to turn this situation around is by increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables – to six servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit (to reduce the sugar intake).
However there’s a small problem with that. Current research consistently shows us that fruits and vegetables just 10 years ago had 30% more vitamins and 30% more minerals than they do today.
And because we don’t pay our farmers to put those minerals and nutrients back in the soil there aren’t nutrients in the soil during the growth process and we see this and it becomes more and more important that we find a supplement that’s able to support our eating efforts.
I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty hard to get those 6 servings of vegetables and that’s why I personally like to supplement the diet and advise others to do the same.
If you suffer from regular leg cramps and running cramps but are otherwise fine and healthy, consider it as health insurance and a way to extend your sporting life well into old age.
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