In the first two blogs on the topic of how to achieve optimal athletic performance, we talked about misconceptions and shortcomings of what we think “training” encompasses and what the most important aspect of athletic performance is. Today we will delve into how unique each athlete is. This will lead to the discussion on why each person (mainly female athletes) need to have a laser-precise training program designed for their unique genetic makeup, current environmental burden, biochemistry, and physical structural imbalances.
Each of us is as unique as our fingerprints. Genetic variations dictate outward characteristics such as height, strength, physical appearance and where we put on weight. Look at how each sibling is so different within the same family. This truth goes much deeper into the internal systems, organs, glands, cells and of course, DNA. Naturally, these differences dictate how efficient we are at producing energy to perform at optimal levels. These characteristics further translate into behavior and emotional state of the person. The degree of variation is almost endless and is changing as we age and get exposed to different variables.
These variations and traits lend each person to be vulnerable to certain conditions. When someone says, (doctors are notorious for this) “ Heart Disease runs in your family, so you’re going to have it too” (Plug in any number of chronic diseases like cancer, thyroid issues, etc) it has some validity, but we are missing the bigger reality? Allow me to explain. Along with each one of our inherited characteristics mentions above, comes variations in our requirements for the materials needed to be healthy and even more so, to be able to perform at optimal levels. Each person needs a certain bouquet of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to perform at the levels we are designed to. We were designed to be healthy, disease free and to function like a fine-tuned race car. We have to give the body what it needs and eliminate what is hindering that from being expressed.
So isn’t it true that we learn what and how to eat from our family? And if that families eating habits open the door to the expression of specific chronic disease, wouldn’t it make sense that the disease in mention would continue to show up from generation to generation? That is unless we give the body what it needs to stop that process. In other words, we are our own worst enemies, but we also hold the key to perfect health and performance. Because the interaction of vitamins and minerals is very complex, one must be very knowledgeable when dealing with individual nutrients or even a multi formula such as a “multivitamin”. Each nutrient can affect other nutrients negatively or positively while also affecting specific systems in the body like the autonomic nervous system, endocrine, and oxidative system. So if you work with someone who tests you for a nutrient deficiency and they see you are low on, phosphorus for example, and they conclude you need to take phosphorus, politely leave and never go back.
Phosphorus can raise or lower at least nine other nutrients, so it’s not that simple people! Now that you are starting to understand that there is no one perfect diet or supplement for everyone because there are so many variables involved, how ludicrous is it that companies sell multivitamins that are supposedly good for every man or woman that walks the planet?!
When you know what nutrients you need in the correct amount and balance, optimal energy and performance will be achieved. Only at this point will the systems of the body all work harmoniously and efficiently to unleash one’s full genetic potential. While acquiring my Master's Degree in Holistic Nutrition, I was introduced to the most of the leading diet variations. However, I was also was taught about biochemical individuality. This is what I have been talking about pertaining to individual needs. I work within a system that can maximize the strengths and eliminate the weaknesses by identifying each biochemical needs and influence the internal systems for optimal performance. I no longer guess what clients need, or like others, push whatever fad diet is hot at the time. This system gives athletes the energy they need throughout the game and into the more critical recovery/repair phase. When followed correctly, it has worked on every client I have worked with. That’s right, and I said, everyone!
One of the most significant results from using this system is that we can work on the athlete's weaknesses and turn them into a strength! Think about how powerful this is. Someone who has speed can build endurance. Bulky people can gain tone and flexibility. Energy can be in abundance throughout the game and even the season. The chance of injury is dramatically decreased when you are running at optimal. An impact injury for an optimal athlete winds up being a bruise or strain, whereas the depleted or sub optimal athlete suffers a season-ending sprain or break from the same injury. To achieve peak performance, an athletic must develop the optimal physical potential within the individual's metabolic design limits.
A lineman has a different design limit than a quarterback. But each has his optimal potential that needs to be addressed. If one accepts that their design potential is indeed different, it should make sense that what each person needs to develop that potential should also be different. How do we find out what foods will provide optimal design potential? Tune in next week, so I can share how this system adjusts to each person's needs throughout their sports season and their life!