Victor Martinez and the GI crew discuss the importance of gut health, how it can affect bodybuilding, and what to do about it.
In some ways, the core goal behind bodybuilding is control. Controlling your exercise to perfectly sculpt your body. Controlling your diet to help regulate your weight and conditioning. Controlling your poses to manipulate your physique into something that is displayed in the best possible way. For a bodybuilder, the human body is a machine that needs to be well oiled in every little detail. So it stands to reason that gut health, and the growing science around it, is something every bodybuilder should be paying attention to. In our latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, Victor Martinez discusses the do’s and don’ts for gut health and how it can affect your bodybuilding career and lifestyle.
In recent years, the medical community have been making strides in better understanding our gut microbiome. A collection of trillions of bacteria that live in our stomach and have a huge impact on our lives – from general health to psychological conditions. Medical professionals are finding that our gut health directly impacts our immune system, heart, weight and many other elements of our health.
In many ways, bodybuilders are often on the cutting edge of health breakthroughs. This is because bodybuilders spend every single second of their day tying to perfect their physique – which involves understanding how ever single little detail of our body works.
So it should come as no surprise that the recent medical trend in gut health is also something that many bodybuilders are also focusing on. And if you are not one of them – you may be left behind in the dust.
Victor shares his experiences with bodybuilding and gut health – ranging from probiotics to colonic irrigation procedures. Let’s jump into it.
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How does your gut health affect bodybuilding?
Victor Martinez starts off the podcast explaining how gut health, essentially, affects every aspect of your daily existence and health. Gut health can be tied to your mood, your mental health, your immune system and how often you get sick. It can effect your energy levels and, yes, how well you can build muscle.
Diet and eating is a major part of bodybuilding. In order to bulk up for muscle or trim down for conditioning – a bodybuilder adjusts their diet very specifically. It should come as no surprise that the food we eat also affects our gut microbiome. With bodybuilders often eating repetitive meals in larger amounts and more often – it’s important to take time to maximize your gut health and ensure it is in a good state.
How to maximize your gut health
Victor Martinez has tried a wide variety of methods to improve his gut health and microbiome. With so much time dedicated to perfecting his diet – it was important for Martinez to be able to maintain a health stomach.
Martinez suggests that intermittent fasting can help “detox” your gut and improve your microbiome. Studies seem to agree and suggest that fasting may help boost your gut health.
It’s also important to eat a diverse variety of foods – which can sometimes be challenging on a strict bodybuilding diet. Which is why it is more important to find ways to add variety while also keeping in line what you need for your physique. Luckily whole foods, pre-biotic foods (such as artichokes, bananas, asparagus, and oats), and probiotic supplements can all help improve gut health.
These sorts of foods are relatively common for a bodybuilder eating clean. And supplements are also a common part of the daily life of a bodybuilder. So adding in probiotics may be easy enough within a general bodybuilder schedule.
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What foods to avoid for maintaining optimized gut health
To maintain a healthy microbiome, doctors suggest avoiding refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, fried food, and saturated fats. Once again, luckily for bodybuilders – many of these items are often avoid in a bodybuilder who follows a clean diet. It also just so happens that avoiding these foods have far other health benefits beyond just gut health.
In general, Victor Martinez suggests avoiding processed foods in general. Avoid consuming too much sodium or sugar. Focus on whole foods and legumes as much as possible. Fibrous foods also help with digestion, keeping your colon healthy, and keeping your digestive tract flowing.
It also helps avoid constipation – which brings us to our next conversation topic…
Victor Martinez shares all on getting a colonic
For some, colon hydrotherapy, most commonly known as a colonic, can help improve your gut health. Victor Martinez has had his very own personal experiences with colon irrigation – and was open to sharing the juicy details about his experience.
In fact, Victor Martinez discusses how he would get colonics regularly (but not too often) when he used to compete as a pro bodybuilder. It was an ideal way for him to help with digestional issues when he was bulking and cutting. At a certain point, he found himself unable to lose weight, he was constipated, and often bloated. So he turned to colonics to help fix the issue.
Victor Martinez describes the experience as making you feel five pounds lighter. He also felt that he was able to digest his food better in the weeks after receiving a colonic. It helps with moments in his bodybuilding diet that he became “backed up.”
Victor Martinez also warns against getting a colonic too often – as it can “wash out” the healthy bacteria that you want to keep in your microbiome. Though it should be noted that the scientific community has not been able to prove such statements. However, we suggest you always speak with a doctor or medical professional before deciding on such procedures.
Can steroids damage your gut health?
Towards the end of the discussion, Vlad Yudin asks if steroids can negatively impact your gut microbiome. It’s common knowledge that most competitive bodybuilders experiment with anabolic steroids. Should this be something they are concerned about for their gut health?
Victor Martinez, while not a doctor, states that he thinks the only steroids that can negatively impact gut health would be oral. Injected anabolic steroids avoids your stomach entirely.
Winstrol, in particular, is an oral steroid that Victor Martinez warnings against. He states that someone he personally knows had a very damaging ulcer due to Winstrol. Martinez also reminds viewers that oral steroids also get processed more directly through your liver and kidneys – and can cause serious long term damage to those organs.
Victor Martinez and the GI crew go into far more detail about gut health than we can cover in this wrap up. And for those who find colon talk amusing – there are many jokes to be had about bodybuilding bowel movements. You can check it all out in our latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast above.
Don’t forget to visit every Tuesday for new episodes of the podcast only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever you listen and download podcasts.