Three tips to live by during the off season.
Classically, winter is known in the fitness community as ‘Bulking Season,’ which in reality becomes justification for gaining fat during the holidays. While taking a break from strict dieting can benefit the body, better than increasing fat and carb intake would be using the season to focus on different aspects of nutrition. In his guest contributor article, Dr. Jacob Wilson shares tips to make the most out of nutrition this winter.
The first one is a no-brainer: probiotics. Everyone knows that winter is the season of sickness, but cold isn’t the only danger. The digestive tract is both integral to the immune system and ground zero for unfriendly viruses. Constant eating, especially of high amounts of sugar and fat will imbalance gut bacteria and make one more susceptible to sickness. Excellent sources of probiotics are Greek yogurt, and Glutamine. But you could even try fashionable fermented products like kombucha, kimchi, or sauerkraut.
Second on the list of nutrients to emphasize during winter is Vitamin D. Obviously, supply of Vitamin D generally decreases during months that are cloudy or spent indoors. But unfortunately, “Vitamin -D Enriched’ products or vitamins simply do not carry the quality of bio-available Vitamin D that arrives in whole food sources. Sockeye salmon and other types of fish are fantastic sources of this nutrient, and their high Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratios can help reduce levels of inflammatory cortisol throughout the body.
Such fats are also absolutely critical for brain function. We all know that the dreary and reminiscent months can trigger a less than chipper attitude, and keeping the brain properly supplied will go a long way to alleviating mental fog. Saturate fats positively affect free testosterone, have been shown to help cells retain more Omega-3’s, and assist in conversion of fats into DHA which is optimal fuel for the brain. Of course, saturated fats have their con’s too. But if there was a time in the year to experiment with amounts and sources, it would be winter.
Ultimately winter is the season for experimentation. Everyone should try out different foods, eating schedules, and nutrient rations, to see if there’s anything to carry over into swimsuit season or competition prep.
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