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Bess

No one enjoys being challenged in the area of excess do they!? I’m sorry to say I might be adding to the cacophony, however, do take your time to read on as it may explain some missing energy + vitality in your life.

The following are some honest facts about our internal powerhouse, the liver. And just before you roll your eyes at the healthy kid who probably has never overindulged in her life (incorrect judgement!), I’ve had liver inflammation/damage that has caused me to become a little bit serious about the following.

So here we go…

The Liver. What does it do?lemon-detox-diet

Your liver is one of your most important organs as it has a support role in each system inside you (digestion, hormone production, etc). It filters everything that we eat, drink and inhale and can convert all this energy into a storage form (glycogen) for later use. It’s a great system. And it can cope with a lot of what we throw at it. You definitely don’t need to subscribe to any special well-marketed detox magic diets, your liver can do all the detoxing that your body needs!

Makes sense that we should put useful things through the liver system as opposed to detrimental things yes? So how…

How we hurt it

The liver works pretty darn hard and is quite easy to clog. The stresses that we put into it don’t help, these even include environmental stresses such as pollutants + toxins. Another article for another day (and not by me!), but it is suggested that the toxic cigarettes that we still see around us might not just be affecting the lungs.

Psychological stress is a biggie, more and more research regarding stress impacts show direct relations between psychological stress + “hepatic disease” or, liver problems. In the brain’s ‘liver’ control area, stress can impair blood flow to the liver (not ideal) + subsequently the workload placed on the liver. Stress also produces cortisol + adrenaline and this causes the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream, spiking blood glucose levels. Basically, you are not fighting ninjas or running from prehistoric wildlife, you are likely sitting at your work desk with body systems working at 200%.

Another huge impactor on liver health is indeed, our favourite fermented friend, alcohol. The annoying truth is that it’s toxic for our body, so it gets sent straight to the detox room, the liver. The liver can cope with a small amount of alcohol. However, only a small amount at any given time. So if you drink more than the liver can deal with, drink too regularly or too quickly your liver cells struggle to process it. AND they put other jobs, such as detoxing + filtering EVERYTHING ELSE that enters your body, on the backburner.

Hmmmm.. Are you struggling with never-ending lethargy? Sluggish feelings? Hormonal mood swings? Weight gain? Tenderness near your stomach/chest? Plus alcohol is a diuretic, dehydrating us. It forces the liver to get water from elsewhere – generally another body system. Having headaches? Regular issues with constipation? I’m suggesting that if alcohol (alongside stress + caffeine excess) might be causing great pressure on one of your most important organs.

I haven’t even mentioned processed + high trans fats foods yet… I’ll leave you to mull over this information before overloading you with that!

How we heal it

Like most living things, being well looked after is the best way to heal + strengthen the liver. Your lovely liver is vital for your well-being.

Stressed? Maybe it’s time to decrease the coffee (an adrenaline promotor!) and get some herbal teas and fresh water through your body. Perhaps a new hobby in 2016? Perhaps it’s time to add some yoga, stretching, swimming, deep breathing + REST to your life. Mental + physical rest please my friends!

Maybe drinking too much? Moderate alcohol is essential for your liver health. I recommend less than 4 nights per week that have alcohol in them and no more than 4 standard drinks in one session. Maybe 2016 is the time to break some habits.

Liver Loving foods

The best way to look after this guy is to feed it properly, with real foods. Here’s some to get you started:
– Beets + green tea both have antioxidants + increase efficient liver function.
– Avocados have properties that help the filtering process in the liver.
– Lemons + grapefruit are awesome for vitamin C, a powerful vitamin in liver health. Grapefruit can also help to flush carcinogens from the liver system.
– Leafy greens, walnuts, garlic + turmeric are all foods with detoxing, cleansing + support roles in the function of your liver.

Take a moment to consider the health of your liver, keep it happy + healthy and you’ll find it does the same for you.

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Stu
Rest and recovery are very important aspects of any successful training program. There is a difference between rest and recovery or how to implement them both into your training programme. Rest can be defined as a combination of sleep and time spent not training, it is the easiest to understand and implement. How you spend this time and sleep is very important. Recovery, refers to actions taken to maximize your body’s repair. These include nutrition, hydration, posture, heat, ice, stretching, self-myofascial release, stress management, compression, also time spent standing versus sitting versus lying down. Recovery encompasses more than just muscle repair. It involves chemical and hormonal balance, nervous system repair, mental state, and more. We have different systems that need to recover. These include structural, neurological and hormonal. Our structural system includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. Muscles recover the quickest because they receive direct blood flow. Tendons, ligaments, and bones receive indirect blood flow and therefore can take longer to recover and be more susceptible to overtraining stress. For most, the goal should not be set for perfection or include exactly correct levels of each factor – leave that for professional athletes to strive after. Our goal is to prioritize life and maximize performance without personal sacrifice. Kick back, relax, and enjoy an evening out with friends. Order your favorite beer and get the ribs as this may mentally benefit you more, allow you to unwind, and put you in a better place to perform as opposed to another solitary night of broccoli and chicken. A balanced combination of rest and recovery along with proper diet and exercise should be a part of any fitness regimen. Unless you are competing at an elite level, you should follow the follow the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your time can be spent focusing on diet and exercise, while twenty percent should be left for enjoying life. In other words, don’t let yourself get too wrapped up in perfection. Below is a break down of the subcomponents of rest and recovery to provide you with better insight on how to improve performance and overall quality of life. A healthy and happy athlete not only performs better, but has the ability to give time and energy to friends and family.


Elements of Rest and Recovery

 1. Sleep

Sleep is the most important action for recovery. Healthy levels of sleep help to provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. You need to get enough sleep, which is 7-10 hours for most people. Everyone has individual needs based on their lifestyle, workouts, and genetic makeup.
  • Hours slept before twelve at night are proven to be more effective than those slept after.
  • Sleep in the most natural setting possible, with minimal to no artificial lights.
  • Wakeup with the sun if possible.
  • Fresh air and cooler temperatures help to improve the quality of sleep.
  • 2.Hydration

Drinking enough water is vital to health, energy, recovery, and performance. Athletes tend to be very attentive to hydration levels close to and during competitions, but keeping that awareness during training and recovery times can make just as large an impact. Water helps in all of our daily bodily functions. A few examples are more efficient nutrient uptake, lower levels of stress on the heart, improved skin quality, and better hair health. The simplest way to check hydration is to look at your urine. If it is clear to pale yellow you are hydrated. The darker and more color in your pee the less hydrated you are and more water you need to drink. That is unless you have been taking vitamin supplements which may change the colour of your urine temporarily. Water is the best way to hydrate. Sports drinks are only needed for before, during, and after strenuous training or completion, don’t drink them simply because they taste good.
  • Flavorings and other additives only give your system more to process and cause it further strain. Stick to adding a lemon or lime.
  • 3. Nutrition

Everything you eat has the ability to help heal your body, or to poison/injure it. Alcohol and processed foods contain toxins and are harmful to the body. Eating clean, eating close to the source, and eating balanced meals in moderation is proven to be effective to remain healthy and increase performance.
  • Create a meal plan and shop ahead for the week.
  • Have healthy snacks readily available that you enjoy.
  • Plan ahead for dinner out by helping to pick the place you’re eating and looking at the menu ahead of time.
  • 4. Posture
We spend more time sitting in the present day compared to the last decade and the decade before that. This is not a restful position; sitting or standing with poor posture is harmful. It can lead to back or neck pain, specifically for those with desk jobs.
  • Find a chair that is ergonomically correct.
  • If you struggle to sit upright use a lumbar roll in the small of your back, sit on a stool without a back, sit on a swiss ball (all in moderation).
  • Don’t lean to one side or on an object for support while standing. Instead you should try step standing, ie. Putting one foot up on a ledge or step for a period of time and engage the straight leg glute muscle and activate your core.
  • 5. Stretching
You need enough flexibility to move well and remain pain-free. Include dynamic stretching in your warm-ups while saving static stretching for after your workouts. Yoga is a fantastic way of gaining flexibility and also strength.

6. Self-Myofascial Release

Tight muscles and trigger points sometimes need assistance to return to healthy normal tissue. Use a foam roller to keep your myofascia in good health.

7. Heat, Ice, and Compression

Use these techniques for recovering from injuries or a very stressful training or racing experience such as a marathon, triathlon or any intense sporting experience.

8. Conclusion

Spending some time focusing on rest and recovery can pay great dividends. We could describe it as ‘legal performance enhancement’. The most frustrating thing for me as a clinician is that people don’t spend enough time focusing on rest or recovery. Dedicating additional time to the three categories of sleep, hydration, and nutrition will increase your output ability, decrease recovery time, and reduce your risk of injury. Don’t ignore your body until it becomes too late and you’re forced to take unnecessary time off due to injury, burnout, or worse. Your body is a bank account, look after it!.
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