From Kristen Spencer, Registered Holistic Nutrionist.
Sometimes when people first start an exercise program, they hear buzz words like “carb loading” and “protein shakes” and think that they automatically need to be adding all of this stuff into their diet. The thing is, these kinds of nutritional strategies are only needed when in very intensive training. In terms of bootcamps, you are likely not training for more than an hour, which means that you don’t really NEED anything extra (provided you are eating a balanced diet throughout the day) except for water! Once you hit the hour mark, we’ll start talking about carbohydrate supplements. Super long training (like 5+ hours) and our focus shifts to fats!
How much water, though? For all workouts, you’ll want to consume 4-6 ounces of water for every 10-20 minutes of activity. So, think about ADDING another full 750ml bottle of water to your day (picture a regular ‘Camelback’ bottle or equivalent).
Tips to keep in mind
- You’ll want to avoid eating immediately before a bootcamp. Food will just sit in your stomach, and when you exercise, digestion shuts down to focus our energy efforts on the activity at hand. This can lead to some not-so-good feelings.
- Avoid commercial drinks and gels (or at least – check to make sure they aren’t full of artificial sweeteners and colours
- The more you sweat, the more you need to replace electrolytes (which is what Gatorade is trying to sell you on). So for summer bootcamps in humid weather, we’re sweating a lot. You may want to think about a natural alternative like coconut water which contains electrolytes. You can also eat dulse (a seaweed), or check out some of the higher quality supplements like nuun tablets (you just dissolve those in water)…
- Eat properly throughout the day. If you aren’t doing that, you may get HANGRY when you start bootcamping regularly and end up binging on whatever you can find in the moment. Prevent this by putting a big focus on protein and fat in all of your meals.
- Listen to your body: Go to sleep when you are tired! Especially if you are doing an early morning bootcamp, your body will need extra rest so try to get to bed early! Human growth hormone is essential for muscle repair, and when sleep is interrupted, levels of this hormone decrease.
- Severe cramping? This could be due to an electrolyte imbalance. It could be potassium (in which case try 2 tsp apple cider vinegar in water… if this helps, add more potassium rich foods to the diet like apples, banana, avoado, mushrooms, yogurt, spinach). It could also be calcium/magnesium (you can get this from raw cacao which is my personal fave, but also dark leafy greens, broccoli, Natural Calm magnesium supplement). Green smoothies can help get all of these minerals in quickly and deliciously.
Fifteen minutes to an hour after a workout, your muscles are primed to receive fuel to begin the repair process. Your meals after a workout should be easy to digest! The perfect meal will hit all of your macronutrient groups. A great meal: avocado (healthy fats) with sea salt (electrolytes), eggs (healthy fats & protein), and a plantain cooked in coconut oil (simple, easily digestible carbs and more healthy fat!)
Consider how much discipline it takes to workout three days a week. Think about how hard it is to keep stretching beyond our comfort zones and how challenging it is to exercise at high intensities. Consider the self-resolve required to eat healthy foods and drink lots of water every day when temptations surround us everywhere we go. But if you have the courage to respect your body – the temple that houses your mind and spirit – personal mastery will not be far away. It says a lot about who you are as a person when you invest the time to take care of yourself. It says you respect and love yourself enough to do the things necessary for you to be at your personal best.
Each time you go for a workout on a day when you just don’t feel like exercising, you grow a little stronger as a human being.
Each time you get up to go to Bootcamp on a cold winter’s morning when you just feel like staying under the warm, cozy covers, you strengthen your character. When you endure a tough workout, it enables you to persevere through any other challenge in your life.
Working on improving your physical conditioning will not only enrich your life and make you a better person, you’ll also become a better parent, a better spouse, a better and more productive worker, and a better friend.
Exercising regularly, eating well and taking the time to relax and nourish your body will make you feel happier. It will provide you with more energy than you have ever known. It will give you greater stamina and mental toughness and make you a clearer, stronger thinker. It will make you more patient and loving. There are 168 hours in a week. Surely each and every one of us, regardless of our hectic schedules, can carve out three of them to care for our bodies and work on mastering our physical state.
You’ve got to remember that a missed workout is much more than just a missed workout:
When you miss a workout, you don’t just stay at the same level you were at – you actually take a few steps back.
Every time you miss a workout, you have done something to strengthen the habit of NOT working out. When you’ve made the promise to yourself to exercise three times per week and then you break that promise, you start to lose trust in yourself. With each missed workout, you start to lose self-confidence and begin to question whether you can actually stick with it at all. A missed workout fuels self-doubt and makes that negative habit stronger. Miss enough workouts, and eventually that negative habit of not working out will replace the positive habit of exercising that you have worked so hard to cultivate. Every time you fail to do the right thing, you fuel the habit of doing the wrong thing. So the next time you’re trying to justify pressing the snooze button and skipping your workout, or working through lunch instead of taking a walk break or heading right home after work instead of stopping at the gym, just don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even allow yourself the opportunity to talk yourself out of doing what you know you need to do to be at your best. Just remember that you’ll feel like a million bucks once you’re done.
The real challenge for most people is not the workout itself, but actually overcoming the negative thoughts that try to sabotage very good intentions.
The greatest irony of our physical life is that when we are young, we are willing to sacrifice every bit of our health for wealth, and when we grow old, we are willing to sacrifice so much of our wealth for just one day of health. Don’t let this happen to you. The little things in life are actually the big things and
the quality of success that you will experience in your life ultimately depends upon the tiny choices you make every minute of every hour of every day.
It’s the small daily acts and habits that define how big we end up living. So set your alarm clocks, lay out your workout clothes and let’s do this.