Is Your Fitness Regime Sabotaging Your Gut Health?
Fit, healthy, exercise conscious people are not immune to gut problems like bloating, pain, constipation, IBS, diarrhoea, leaky gut & IBD. In fact, many fitness enthusiasts are sadly sabotaging their gut health unknowingly every day - with their fitness routine! What's the link between exercise and gut health? Here's a few tips & things to consider - check you’re not one of them!
Common Gut Health Issues Experienced by Fitness Enthusiasts & What May be Causing Them:
- excessively high protein diets (changes in your microbiome from excess protein can cause constipation)
- excess fat or low fat diets (also causes changes in the microbiome & liver function / bile secretion). Too much fat can alter the microbiome negatively & too little can mean the liver slows right down / secretes less bile – one of our own naturally produced laxatives. diets with too little fibre & low fibre diversity (low diversity in our diet = low diversity on our microbiome = more prone to constipation & many other gut issues).
- food intolerances (many people get extremely constipated from cow’s dairy – the casein – which is also often found in protein powders & bars).
- sudden changes to diet (this will alter the microbiome, & constipation can occur).
- some supplements (various health supplements can slow your gut down, best to check with your naturopath / pharmacist etc).
- irregular eating habits / changes to eating patterns ie fasting (when no food comes in for the morning, the gut is not triggered into activity & contraction, so a regular morning poo is less likely). Or just less frequent poos in general with less eating, also can alter your microbiome, positively or negatively.
- trying to drink litres of milk when ‘bulking’ (lactose will cause diarrhoea in many people)
- supplements with non-sugar sweeteners – ie protein powders, bars, pre workouts etc (lsugar alcohols cause diarrhoea ie maltitol, xylitol etc) these can send you running to the loo with painful bloating & explosive diarrhoea (do not binge eat the low carb lollies or protein bars people!)
- stressing about your weight or your body (or about anything), you must keep your nervous system calm to digest effectively, you need to be in the ‘rest & digest’ predominantly, if you’re stressed – you’re in ‘fight or flight’ with no hope of healthy digestive function!
- demanding exercise sessions can make your gut lining compromised & hyper-permeable. Keep your sessions under 90 minutes, avoid over-exercising, give yourself recovery periods (for your muscles & your gut!)
- eating too much for your needs, eating when not hungry, or eating too frequently trying to ‘get huge’. Your gut ideally requires 3 hours between inputs to operate well / stay functional. And over feeding = not healthy for your digestive tract.
- liver overloaded with excessive supplements / excess eating. Best to obtain your nutrients from wholefood where possible, take just a few supps (not a cupboard full) if you feel better on them & they’re recommended by your health professional.
Bloating & Gas:
- excess protein
- sweeteners like sugar alcohols
- eating too frequently / too much
- carbonated drinks
- gulping food / not chewing enough
- constipation (when the gut stops moving smoothly / there are blockages, gas can become trapped).
- high FODMAP diet (in sensitive people, a diet high in FODMAPs can cause extreme gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation). Don’t avoid FODMAP unless you are experiencing these, & it’s best to work with a professional on this diet.
- food intolerances i.e gluten, dairy (most common offenders, but there are so many more!)
- eating too much (ie bigger meals than you’re used to after a fasting period)
- not leaving enough space in between meals / eating too frequently to make muscle gains
How to Get Your Gut Healthy Again:
- Eat balanced, comfortable sized meals, spaced 3 hrs or more apart, with macros tailored appropriately to your training & health goals.
- Don’t go overboard with protein, excess to your needs will be wasted & will be detrimental to your gut, liver etc.
- Avoid the weird sweeteners (& also avoid regular sugar!)
- Don’t change your diet ‘all of a sudden’, rather ease your way into new eating plans, giving the gut time to adjust.
- Don’t eat a big meal right before exercise (unless it’s just walking). Eat after or at least 1.5 hrs before.
- Keep quality fats in your diet (just keep them natural, omega 3 heavy & grass fed; avoid trans fats / vegetable oil / canola oil etc).
How goodMix products are relevant to support your fitness goals & gut health:
- Blend11 & Blend13 can be used (soaked overnight) & added into any smoothie. They provide loads of healthy fats, a good amount of plant protein, plus a great serve of GF, low FODMAP, fermentable fibre to support your gut microbial diversity & bowel function (without the bloating common to many fibre supplements).
- Greens + Aloe gently supports liver detox, nourishes / helps to balance our gut microbiome, calms leaky gut & inflammation, while supplying valuable vitamins, minerals & antioxidants.
- Burger Mix is a super easy way to get more fibre diversity in to your week, just add water, olive oil & fresh grated veggies for the best veggie patties ever (feel free to add meat, fish etc – they’re handy for households with different dietary needs & preferences!)
Bliss Ball Mix makes it insanely quick, easy & hassle free to whip up a huge batch of choc protein balls! Craving-killing deliciousness with no food processing required! Just add water &/or coconut oil (plus any extra goodness you may want to cram in ie extra protein powder, collagen, hempseeds, nut butter etc etc etc! ) So many options to keep you away from the addictive sugar trap that will derail your health & fitness goals!
We also stock a great probiotic, collagen powder and pea protein powder.