Headway PArkour Blog
“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.”
Today I will teach you how to get the most out of the body you have been blessed with. As the aforementioned quote states, you must have a healthy body if you expect to reap the full benefits of the seed you sow through your labors. In the realm of Parkour it is especially important to monitor your health, due to the extremely high demands of the discipline. I have already covered the conditioning aspect of health in a previous article, for that reason I will be focusing only on the dietary dimension this time around.
Why Diet Matters
Before we start let me clarify what I mean when I say “Diet”, I am not talking about those programs that people endure to lose weight, gain muscle, or whatever else they are trying to manipulate their bodies to do. “Diet” refers to what you eat everyday, so in a sense everyone is on a “Diet”. The tips I reveal in this article are simply ways to improve your day to day meals, there is not strict program or regimented schedule, only ideas. Now that we cleared that up we can move on to explaining why diet matters: Without a proper diet you will not reach your full potential, not to mention you will feel less than ideal. Few things are better than fulfilling your potential, that is why I feel compelled to expose some dietary tips to you. People know that healthy, clean, and natural foods are good for them, but very few people choose to eat them; Why is this? The answer is really quite simple: They lack discipline. A large diet change takes willpower and commitment, no half measures. If you yearn to get the most out of your body and are willing to consider the techniques offered in this article, read on. But if you are content with how you are now, you would be better off stopping here.
Where To Start
Changing your diet can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Commonly I hear: “Where do I start? There is so much to think about!” To put it simply, just take the first step! The moment you commit to improving your diet, is the same moment that your momentum will kick in and and send you down a trail of improvement, soon you will be on a roll! Simply having the conscience awareness of what you’re eating and how it will affect you is a move in the right direction. After you shift your mind into a “Healthy Mindset” you can start to apply a few more techniques to get your diet to an optimal level. The first technique is to eat whole foods as much as possible, this means eating foods that have been minimally processed and contain very few additives; Your body will digest the food more efficiently and get you the energy you need to endure many hours of training. The next tip I can give you is to eat in intervals, find and interval time that works for you. I personally eat a meal every four hours and only munch on snacks in between. Which brings me to my next point, make sure that your snacks add to the overall quality of your diet. For example: Eating raisins as a snack to take in some carbs before a training session. Another ground rule that will benefit your health is avoiding poisonous liquids like soda and Gatorade, indulge in water instead. Try chugging a glass of water in the morning after you wake up, it will replenish a majority of the water that was lost while you slept. After you are properly hydrated, create an energy rich breakfast to jump start your day; Perhaps you could try your hand at creating a power shake (more on this later). Fill all of your meals with fruits, legumes, and veggies, doing so will help you to meet all of your nutritional needs. Your brain should now be filled with general info on how to improve your diet. By applying these abstract diet tips you may be able to improve your performance as a Traceur a bit, but that’s not enough; You won’t be able to maximize your performance until you get all the nitty gritty details, move onto the next section for the scoop.
The human body is a complex machine that requires constant maintenance in order to run smoothly; It is fueled by micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as macronutrients (water, protein, carbohydrates, and fats); these can be found in everyday foods, no need for fancy supplements.
Micronutrients should to be consumed in small doses everyday as long as you live; They include iron, chromium, copper, iodine, and zinc. Iron can be obtained through leafy vegetables, certain legumes, and whole wheat bread. Make sure to stock up on iron often. Chromium is another important micronutrient that can be found in potatoes, peas, and rye bread. Similar to a miner your body craves metal, in this case that metal is copper; Consume nuts in order to fill your body’s order for said copper; Copper works in conjunction with iron so don’t miss out on it! Iodine is hidden inside table salt; Consume small amounts of the stuff, too much could be detrimental to your overall health. The final important micronutrient is zinc. Zinc is essential for us Traceurs, it helps heal wounds and keeps us energized; Munch on Legumes and whole grain cereal to fulfill your need for it.
Macronutrients are simpler than their micronutrient counterparts, yet they are just important. As mentioned before macronutrients can be broken up into four categories: carbs, proteins, fats, and water (water isn't exactly a macronutrient but it is still essential). Let’s explore carbs; Carbs contain glucose which is used for energy. Our amazing bodies transform the glucose into glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the liver. When we need more energy the glycogen is turned back into glucose, impressive stuff huh? Next there is Protein. Protein assists our body in rebuilding muscles; This is phenomenal news for a Traceur due to the fact that he tears his muscles every time he trains. Protein also creates red blood cells and helps to maintain a healthy hormonal balance. Now we move onto fats. Fats often get a bad rep for increasing weight and slowing us down. It is true that excess fat will be stored on the body, this will result in a less than ideal physique in addition to the extra weight slowing us down; Even so, some fats are necessary in order to lead a healthy life. Besides, we burn most of the fat away while we train so no worries. Time to speak about water. Hands down water is the ideal drink for a human being. Not only does it lubricate and cushion joints (Traceurs need this) but it also allows the other macro and micro nutrients to be distributed thoroughly throughout the body.
In this section we will be diving even deeper into the art of maximizing athletic performance by optimizing diet. 1-4 hours before training is the ideal time to intake food. The earlier you consume the food, the more time your body will have to absorb it. Make sure that the food is low in fiber, low in fat, and low or medium in protein in order to avoid stomach pain later on while training. Aim to consume foods that meet all of the prior criteria which also contain a substantial amount of carbs, as these are also important for pre workout preparation. Water should be ingested before training. Just be careful not to drink too much of it at the same time you are eating your carb rich food. You should wait until you are done eating to indulge in water due to the fact the water thins your stomach acid and make it harder to digest the food.
If you plan on training longer than 60 minutes, it’s advised that you bring food along with you. Studies have shown that taking in carbs while training increases performance. This increase in performance happens due to the carbs giving your body the glucose it needs which in turn allows the glycogen stores in your liver to take a break. 30-60g an hour is a good rate for carb intake. Raisins are an easy source of carbs with a whopping 31g per serving (a serving is ¼ a cup). As you train, make it a habit to drink small frequent amounts of water. Try to take a sip every 10 minutes even if you are not thirsty; Thirst is not enough of an indication when performing heavy exercise.. Be sure to take note of how much you are sweating while training, the more you sweat, the more water you will need to intake. However, Be wary of drinking too much at any one time, you may upset your stomach and in serious cases you could be at risk for hyponatremia which occurs when there is a lack of sodium in your bloodstream. Experiment with water intake and find out how much you can handle comfortably while you train.
You have just finished a grueling training session, your muscles are shot and you feel as if you are about to drop. Before you curl up in bed it is essential that your revitalize your body by accomplishing 3 simple goals:
1. Recover Lost Fluid
2. Rebuild Muscles
3. Recover Glycogen Stores
The first goal is easily accomplished, either chug water or incorporate some juicy fruits and veggies into your post workout recovery meal. Goals number two and three are one in the same, you can meet both criteria with one meal. The body is begging for nutrients during a sixty minute window of time after you finish working out. The body will absorb the nutrients very quickly if they are in liquid form. This is where the power shake comes in, a powershake is not some gross processed powder you add to water in order to get ripped, not even close. A power shake is an all natural smoothie which is created by blending up a mixture of fruits and veggies. My personal smoothie recipe goes as follows: strawberries, bananas, kale, spinach, flax seeds, oranges, apples, and coconut water; It is delicious! Try to consume a variety of carbs in order to speed up glycogen stores recovery rate, it may take 24 hours for completely depleted glycogen stores to recover. The most important tip I can give you is to stay lean and to eat loads of food, too many Traceurs don’t eat enough to keep up with their bodies caloric burn rate.
That is all the info I can expend at this time, I pray that this article has helped you in some way and I wish you a happy life! But before I go, remember: We are all different so we all need a slightly different diet in order to excel, fiddle with the tips I have provided to you and discover the consummate diet for you.
“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.”