Fitness Guide: Being Smart about Exercise
and Recovering after Intense Workouts
Fitness Requires Work—and Recovery
Fitness and physical activity is one of the most important pillars of good health. With that in mind, it’s essential to think about how to prevent injury and promote healthy muscle recovery so you can reach your goals. Achieving optimal results takes time, planning, and an understanding of how best to support your body.
Here, we’ll cover common myths and mistakes, how to stay motivated with smart goal setting, and post-workout strategies like using a muscle recovery and growth optimizer supplement to support you from the inside out.
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Myths and Mistakes
There is a vast world of information (and misinformation!) all around us when it comes to fitness and exercise. Everybody has an opinion. And over the years you may have heard things about getting fit that are no longer true.
Here are a few fitness myths and mistakes to help clear through the clutter.
Lifting weights will convert
your fat into muscle
Let’s begin with a quick anatomy lesson. Muscle is made up of muscle cells, and fat is made up of fat cells. One type of cell cannot turn into another type of cell. However, building lean muscle will increase metabolism and cause more calories to be burned. The greater the metabolism, the greater the chance these calories will come from fat cells. So, in fact, weight lifting can help shrink fat cells and reduce fat-based pounds.
Working out for one or two days a week is enough to stay in shape
Unfortunately, it is not that easy to maintain optimal fitness. When you work out only one or two days a week, your body doesn’t get the message to make a lot of change. It takes a consistent frequency of exercise to let your body know that you mean business.
If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not working hard enough
Many people associate sore muscles with a good workout, but that pain is typically coming from micro-tears in our muscles, and is not something you should experience on a regular basis. When you hurt after a workout, it can be a sign that your body is not recovering well, your muscles are dehydrated and starved, and that inflammation is occurring.
Stretching before your
workout will prevent injuries
Stretching is a very important part of any physical activity as it elongates your muscles, improving blood flow, flexibility, and range of motion. So why is this one a myth? Well, the take home message is that you should lightly warm up your muscles before you exercise and focus on stretching after you exercise. Stretching too much before a workout can actually cause excess elongation of your muscles, increasing your risk of injury, while stretching afterwards helps prevent muscle fatigue and improves muscle recovery!
Sit-ups and crunches will burn belly fat
We’ve already covered how increasing lean muscle mass will help burn fat, but it is not the only factor in encouraging weight loss. Healthy nutrition is an essential part of weight management, and supporting your muscles with the correct fuel will help you achieve your fitness goals.
The best way to refuel after a
workout is with a sports drink
This is probably one of the biggest myths out there. Refueling your body involves hydrating with fluid – such as water – and taking on board carbohydrates (such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) and electrolytes. Sugar, from an inflammatory perspective, can be quite damaging and stressful to the body. So, after a workout it’s best to consume small amounts of lean protein to help repair and grow your muscles and to buffer spikes in blood sugar. Avoiding drinks with unnecessarily high levels of sugar, artificial flavours, and dyes is part of a healthy fitness regimen.
Section 2: Being Smart About Goals
Even a marathon starts with a first step. But without proper planning you could find yourself back where you started. Goals should be S.M.A.R.T.—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Be wise when setting your goals, and read through these tips to help stay on track.
Pick One, Reasonably Achievable Goal
The secret for success is to pick realistic, achievable goals. You can’t change everything overnight, so instead of writing an epic list of resolutions and goals, pick one or at most two that you have a good chance of achieving. Often one seemingly small change can snowball into bigger changes down the road.
In contrast, a long list can be daunting and make it hard to focus and build to your ultimate goal. Make it easier with one key resolution that is manageable and memorable. And let your friends and family know, so you stay accountable (more on that below!).
Vague resolutions to ‘eat more healthily’, ‘lose weight’, or ‘get into shape’ make it hard to know when you’ve achieved your goals. This can quickly sap your motivation. Outlining specific goals and behaviours helps you stay on track. This might mean that you commit to eating salad instead of fries when you’re at a restaurant, aim to eat the recommended eight serving of fruits and vegetables every day, or sign up for a couch-to-5 k running clinic. Once you’ve conquered the first set of challenges, run your mini-marathon, or dropped those 10 lbs, set another resolution or goal, hot on the heels of your success.
Think about what you really want to have achieved in a year’s time, then identify a concrete goal to work towards or, better still, a series of smaller goals that build to your grand success. It may be being able to run 10k in under an hour, or increasing your squat weight by 25%. When setting a goal, chunk it down into smaller, achievable tasks (with mini goals along the way). This way, you can track your progress, celebrate victories more often, and ultimately accomplish what you set out to do.
After picking one or two specific goals or habits, be sure to tell everyone about them. This helps put in place a continuous monitoring system to keep you on target. When your work colleagues, friends, and family know that you’re aiming to scale a mountain in the next year, they’re more likely to ask if you’ve any weekend plans to go snowshoeing, or even invite you along on hikes and weekend expeditions.
Similarly, there’s nobody better at inducing guilt than your kids, so let them know you’re eating salad instead of fries and they’ll be sure to tell your server for you.
It’s also a great idea to pin your goal to your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or closet door so that every day you have a reminder of your goal to spur you on.
Go Slow and Steady
A final tip to help you stick to your goals is to go slow and steady. Overdoing the gym activity in the first week of January, especially after an indulgent holiday of wine and truffles, is likely to leave you exhausted and cranky, if not sick. Pick one class a week and stick to it, or stagger your calorie reduction each week and month rather than slashing your intake in half and then ‘cheating’ on your diet. Get the unhealthy junk food out of your diet, but don’t chastise yourself for the odd treat. Better yet, find non-food rewards to stay motivated!
And remember, radical changes can be hard to sustain and more often lead to failure and feelings of dejection. Set yourself up for success by identifying small, incremental steps that will help you achieve your ultimate goal. You’ll feel like a winner every day!
What to eat and drink before, during, and after a workout
Optimal nutrition is a key part of any successful fitness regimen, but it can be hard to know what to eat and when to eat to get the most from your workout. To help you optimize results, we offer multiple suggestions for what to eat and drink before, during, and after different types of exercise and with different goals in mind – and why it matters.
What to Eat Before Your Workout:
A high-intensity cardio workout
To fuel muscle activity during intense exercise, top up your carbs and protein, as well as your essential fatty acids and antioxidants with a handful of nuts, chocolate chia pudding, or granola and apple sauce or yogurt.
An after-work workout
To support motivation after a long day at work, give yourself a boost with a cup of herbal tea paired with a granola bar, a banana, and a square of dark chocolate. Or, for a longer workout after dinner, add in some lean protein and a fibre-full carb. Good choices include a three-bean salad, veggie chili, or grilled tofu or salmon with rice and veggies.
A workout for weight-loss
To encourage the body to use your fat stores as fuel, eat foods that are relatively low in carbs but high in healthy fats, such as a coconut milk smoothie with avocado, apple slices or celery sticks with peanut butter,
A workout to build muscle
To promote muscle growth, you need some simple carbohydrates and protein before a workout. Choose things like granola and yogurt, a banana and peanut butter smoothie, or dried fruit and nuts.
A longer workout
To sustain your energy during a longer run or workout, eat a meal that provides carbs, fats, and protein two hours before you exercise. A good option is a whole wheat wrap with hummus, avocado, quinoa, lean meat or fish, beans, and veggies. Or, have a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter and fresh fruit.
What to Eat During Your Workout:
A low-intensity workout
Staying hydrated is the most important thing during low-intensity exercise such as a yoga or hiking. This is as simple as drinking water, although you might want to add an electrolyte formula if you’re doing hot yoga or an activity where you sweat a lot.
A high-intensity cardio workout
To provide the building blocks for muscle growth and repair, consider an amino acid and electrolyte drink containing L-glutamine during an intense workout. This will help keep fatigue in check, can enhance fat-burning, and supports immune system and maintain muscle and help with muscle recovery after your workout.
What to Eat After Your Workout:
A weight-loss workout
To promote fat-burning, wait until hunger hits after your workout and keep your carb intake to 100 grams or so for the day. Choose a leafy green salad with quinoa, almonds, and pumpkin seeds for a protein and magnesium boost to support metabolism and help muscles relax. Or, keep carbs low and healthy fats and protein intake high with a three bean and olive oil dip or hummus paired with celery sticks or green pepper (a source of chromium, which supports blood glucose regulation and appetite control).
A workout to build muscle
To build muscle you need protein, so have a shake on hand that provides 20-25 grams of protein immediately after an intense workout. An hour or two after your workout, eat a small meal of potatoes and beans, a veggie burger with salad, or a bowl of granola with almond milk and fresh fruit provides extra lean protein and simple carbs to promote insulin release that helps refuel muscle glycogen stores.
A workout at night
To avoid blood sugar spikes that can disrupt sleep, choose a post-workout meal with a low glycemic load, such as a quinoa salad or baked sweet potato with black beans and veggies. Avoid refined flour products, potatoes, or sweetened foods. No matter how late you exercise, though, don’t skip meals!
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a gym beginner, it can be challenging to stay motivated to work out. Let’s overcome this challenge together! Here are some tips based on our own experience that are helpful for keeping you on a path to wellness.
Try something new!
Ever taken a yoga class? Pilates? Cycle? Barre? Zumba? Kickboxing? High intensity interval training? There’s an abundance of classes available if you’d like to try something new.
Find hobbies that keep you moving
Enjoying your workouts is key to staying motivated! Finding a hobby that doesn’t ‘feel’ like exercise can help. Consider hiking, paddle boarding, surfing, running, swimming, cycling, skiing, or snowshoeing.
Keep an exercise calendar
Set up a calendar and keep track of your workouts. This will help you plan ahead, stay accountable, and avoid scheduling issues so you can stay consistent.
Keep a workout journal
Be proud of your workout accomplishments! If you’re a weight lifter, track your sets/reps and muscle groups trained. If you go for a 30 minute run, write it down!
Find a workout buddy
Whether it’s for spotting you on a bench press or having someone to jog with, finding people who are as motivated as you are is a great way to keep on track while socializing and having fun!
Plan your meals
Focusing on exercise is only part of the battle! Making sure your food choices are as thoughtful as your exercises will keep you fast-tracked for success.
Be kind to yourself
Be your own #1 supporter. No one is perfect; there will be days when you have planned a workout and didn’t get to it. When those days happen, tell yourself it’s OK, then try again!
Get enough sleep
If you’re moving more, your body needs rest. This downtime is vital for your body to recover and repair itself. Without sleep, overexertion will set in and you’re more likely to feel unmotivated to take care of yourself.
Watching other people perform sports, games, or dances can inspire you to aim higher during your own workouts, or to try something new altogether.
Help Your Body Recover
Whether you are starting from scratch, or increasing your race length from a 10K to a 20K, supporting recovery is essential to prevent injuries and improve your overall fitness.
L-glutamine is one of the most important amino acids for fueling muscle cells. When we are more active, we need more L-glutamine than the body can produce itself. This makes L-glutamine a conditionally essential amino acid, which we must get from our food and supplements.
After intense exercise, the body’s inflammatory response kicks in to help us heal from the minor tears to muscle fibres. Some inflammation is natural and necessary, but if this inflammation goes unchecked it can contribute to health concerns and impair our ability to heal well. Curcumin is the active constituent in turmeric root and helps support a normal inflammatory response. It acts on multiple inflammatory pathways and when taken in a highly absorbable form before a workout, curcumin can quickly enter the bloodstream to help modulate inflammation and promote healthy muscle recovery.
Supports muscle optimization after exercise
Helps the body recover from the effects of intense exercise
Be Smart about Recovery
Natural Factors CurcuminRich Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer combines high-absorption Theracurmin with a micronized form of the amino acid L-glutamine. This unflavoured formula can be mixed to make a convenient drink that helps restore blood glutamine levels and supports antioxidant defences to promote muscle and immune system recovery after periods of intense physical stress.
- Aids muscle cell repair and growth after exercise
- Helps restore plasma glutamine levels after physical stress
- Supports immune system health after physical stress
- Encourages healthy digestive function after physical stress
- Provides antioxidants for the maintenance of good health
|Each serving (5.2 g) contains:|
|L-glutamine (micronized)||5 g|
|Theracurmin® curcumin† from turmeric (Curcuma longa) (rhizome)||30 mg|
|†A highly bioavailable form of curcumin – the most active curcuminoid in turmeric|
|Maltose, gum ghatti, maltodextrin, citric acid|
Assists in muscle cell repair after exercise. Helps restore plasma glutamine levels depleted after periods of physical stress, and supports healthy immune and digestive function after periods of physical stress. Provides antioxidants for the maintenance of good health.
Curcumin is the yellow pigment in turmeric with many valued health benefits, but it is difficult for the body to absorb. Theracurmin is a natural curcumin preparation that utilizes advanced techniques to reduce curcumin’s particle size, dramatically increasing its solubility and bioavailability. Detailed absorption studies have proven that Theracurmin is the best-absorbed form of curcumin on the market.‡ Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer combines Theracurmin with micronized L-glutamine to:
- Support muscle cell repair after exercise
- Support the body’s natural inflammatory response
- Support immune and digestive system health after periods of physical stress
- Exert powerful antioxidant activity
CurcuminRich Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer is a highly absorbable formula for muscle recovery and growth that combines Theracurmin, the most bioavailable form of curcumin available, with micronized L-glutamine. Together, Theracurmin and L-glutamine work to support the body’s recovery from physical stress by exerting powerful antioxidant activity and supporting a healthy inflammatory response. It encourages muscle cell repair and growth, especially following strenuous exercise, and supports immune and digestive system health to help protect against infections following prolonged or intense exercise.
Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid involved in numerous metabolic processes, including the formation of proteins and energy production. The body’s need for it increases after strenuous physical exertion and during recovery from illness or injury. This can lead to a glutamine deficiency, leaving the body more vulnerable to impaired immune response and infection.
This flavourless powdered drink mix makes a convenient post-exercise recovery aid and is ideal for athletes looking to accelerate muscle recovery and growth naturally. It dissolves instantly in juice, water, or other favourite beverages with no blender required. Each daily serving delivers 30 mg of Theracurmin along with 5 g of L-glutamine. Simply mix in 1–2 cups of water immediately before drinking.
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