Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Your energy level goes up when you don't overload your digestive system - TIP

In a previous post, I described how my energy level went up after shifting just a couple of core nutrition strategies.

Here are again the facts summarized with the exact changes I made compared to the day before when my energy level was at 80% instead of 100%:
  • More flour = More carbs
  • Less dried raisins = Less fructose
  • Less calorie intake = Less load on digestive system
All these elements mean that my energy level went up!


Something that I noticed (and it's quite logical actually) is that my energy level is higher when I am a bit hungry than after eating.

That's not surprising and I will now check what I think is happening right there.

If I am training and my stomach is still engaged in a digestive process, my energy will be divided between: 
  • All normal metabolic processes that happen even when I am asleep.
  • The digestive processes.
  • The calories burned in my training effort.
  • Etc.
If I feel less inclined to push myself in my training it is probably because not enough energy is available as a big fraction of it is still engaged in the digestive process.

When the stomach is empty, a big fraction of the digestive processes are done.

That's when the energy that was used for digestion is freed and available for training.

This means that my training energy feels higher.

This makes sense, right?

As soon as my stomach is empty, my brain starts sending light hunger signals. 

That's the 20% hunger signals I mentioned before. I use this 20% as a quantification of the intensity of this hunger signal (50% would be REALLY hungry - 100% would be starving on the edge of dying)

At this exact moment I have a time window. 

This time window exists between the end of this first digestive process stage (3 hours after normal meal) and the shifting of my body into energy crisis.

What's the energy crisis?

It is when the body starts solidly taking energy from the stored reserves. That could be around 6 hours after normal meal or even before.

The conclusion is that from an energy optimization perspective, overloading the body with too much food is worst than being slightly hungry.

For training energy levels, it is better to have an empty stomach (almost with just liquids + a tiny bit of input like a quarter of a banana).

To maintain a steady flow of energy during training, I ad two tea spoons of flour to my drink, that way I keep getting a tiny amount of nutrition while I make a physical effort.

This means that I don't cut food input totally. I let it stream in my stomach but in VERY small quantities.

If you don't eat at all and train for a few hours, you might feel a strong energy drop hitting you after maybe an hour.

Another element influencing your energy level is fluids of course.

As soon as you get dehydrated , your energy level drops too.

This is related with the fact that all bodily processes require water to be performed.

A body without water is like an engine without lubrication.

So, the conclusion is simple:

Eat smaller meals and if you want to stay higher on energy while training, tolerate this 20% hunger signal window while taking in very small amounts of food that give you energy but don't fully suppress the hunger signals.

If hunger signals disappear, it means that your stomach is back in the digestive mode.

Keep an eye on all that! It's essential and will help you optimize your training + energy level

Everything I describe here is totally logical, right?