Most of us know these cravings and grumpiness that hit us when we haven’t had food in a little while. They can be debilitating, and stressful for the people around us! We think they are normal, but let’s second guess that. Newest research is showing that they are a sign of a sugar roller coaster, that is not needed, and even detrimental to our health and performance. So how do we get off it?
1. Get off the sugar roller coaster
Reduce your processed carb and sugar intake. We have been told we need a certain amount of sugar to fuel our exercise. Reality is, unless we run ultra-marathons, we don’t really need that much sugar, and our body is very good at using other sources to get energy (once trained to do so, hence after a few days up to weeks of having changed the fuel). Ideally, we cut down all things that have more than 1 ingredient (chips, chocolate bars) but also wheat and grains, and only have them on 2 days per week, on our “carb refill days”.
2. Fill up on good fats and protein
So what do we eat on all the other days? Lots of high quality fat and protein (yes! Fat! Fat is a great fuel for exercise, and it will actually help burn the extra layer of fat that we have accumulated around our waist line over winter!). Make sure you eat plenty of avocados, wild caught fish & seafood, organic meat and dairy (the full fat stuff!), eggs, and some nuts!
3. Get the green stuff in
And of course, lots of the green stuff. And all colours too (the natural ones!), like capsicum, carrots (will allow you to stay on the water longer, as it gives you natural sun protection and good eye sight!). They should be the majority of your food intake. Think green smoothies, as they pack in lots of them at once!
4. Fill up with some carbs.
Straight after your kiting or land-training session, fill up with some carbs. Bananas are perfect, but any other fruit will do as well. Make sure it is within 30 minutes of your workout, as that’s when the body is best able to absorb and store the energy!
5. Cheat Day!
1-2x per week, add a day where you fill up with carbs. You can eat anything you like on these days, like ice-cream or fruit-cocktails, but ideally, shift it towards longer lasting energy bombs, such as sweet potatoes, buckwheat pancakes, chia puddings, quinoa salads or bananas.
6. Implement intermittent fasting
Ever considered not eating breakfast before a morning session on the water or in the gym? You think this is crazy? Research (and trial) have shown that once you are off the sugar roller coaster, your body can actually benefit from going without food every now and then (or even every morning if well tolerated). It trains your body to use different sources to fuel, and will make you more energetic and balanced in the long run. If going empty isn’t your thing, try having just a “bulletproof coffee” in the morning: black coffee, coconut oil and organic butter, put in a blender, e voila, your smooth and creamy morning boost will be ready and keep you on the water for a long time, while allowing your body to still stay in the non-sugar mode!
This might all sound very strange to you, but give it a try, and don’t hesitate to send any questions through!
About the author
Mirthe, Sportphysiotherapist and Holistic Health Coach, calls Hossegor (FR), Byron Bay (Aus) and Verbier (CH) home, but has spent a lot of her time travelling the world, working with Elite Athletes on the Girls World Tour Surfing, the New Zealand Halfpipe and Slopestyle Ski & Snowboard Team, or organizing exclusive Health Retreats with emphasis on holistic healing through nutrition, yoga, pilates and the mind.