With my strength athletes, one of the first things I encounter when placing a 350 pound strongman or powerlifter on a diet of less than a couple hundred grams of carbs to prep for a contest is joy, celebration, and a general feeling of good will towards me.
Ok, maybe I made that part up.
In reality I’m usually looking at a rather large angry man with an anxiety attack over what I’ve just done to his daily diet.
A very common condition I encounter when I go over a new clients background is a strongman or powerlfiter who suffers from low blood sugar if they don’t eat every couple of hours or especially if they exert themselves in the gym or at a contest. My number one priority is correcting and restoring a client’s ability to handle the nutrition they will receive over the course of a diet or contest prep with me.
Do you feel tired after you eat? Congratulations. Your body has taken the time to inform you that you are not “being all that you can be”.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a far too common disorder in today’s society.
Unless we are walking around with 0% body fat, how could we ever feel week, irritable, shaky, foggy, etc? Our bodies are designed to run off body fat and healthy fats from foods. Carbs are intended to be our personal nitrous boost, giving that extra push to our 454 Big Block engine in times of need.
However, use the nitrous too much and you blow out your engine.
Let’s look at our genetic makeup; regarding fuel for life, healthy fats and carbohydrate choices are what we were designed to function on, and body fat is our biological “backup generator”.
When your blood sugar starts to drop off, the body should correct through its own system of checks and balances. If it can’t, or if there’s not enough supplies available at the moment, our “backup generator” should seamlessly kick in and we go about our daily lives never knowing such an amazing scenario even occurred.
So what happens with Hypoglycemia?
In a nutshell....Your Diet Sucks.
Hypoglycemia serves as natures version of the 3 Ghosts of Christmas who visit Scrooge; a warning about our Past (diet) Present (health) and Future (longevity).
Through poor diet, our bodies become worn down and desensitized to the wonderfully powerful effects of insulin. Often maligned, this amazing hormone governs many activities in the body, and is often misrepresented as the renegade outlaw creating havoc in our bodies. When properly controlled, insulin is our best friend. Insulin provides the key to unlock the potential found in healthy foods for our physique goals and good health. As we beat up our insulin system, forcing our pancreas to over work through poor food choices, chaos ensues, and this once helpful hormone morphs into natures little destroyer, secretly taking aim at our body as a rogue warrior.
Hypoglycemia is often one of the first signs of a path to diabetes. When we eat, the body sends out insulin to put everything in its place. A little here for energy, a little there for recovery, a little taken around back for enhancing the power of our parent hormones like testosterone (men) and estrogen (women). If our pancreas thinks it hasn’t sent enough insulin to deal with the amount of items needed to be stored, it sends out more....and more....and more...ultimately sending too much for the job. This leads us with low blood sugar. So what do we do when we feel that low blood sugar?
We eat or drink something to ‘feel better’, and ultimately repeat the entire process over and over like we’re stuck in the movie “Groundhog Day”.
What could be better than that you ask?
Well, for starters, each time our system over responds to insulin we dull receptors throughout our body, in essence damaging them with each event. Too many of these events over an extended period of time and insulin becomes ineffective at doing its job of storing nutritional value from our foods.
What happens next triggers a sequence of events that may sound familiar, however these events are being created by our food choices.....Gone are the days of energy from food, being lean, happy (serotonin, the feel good hormone is highly dependent on efficient carbohydrate storage), sex drive vanishes, circulation issues......
Hmmmm. Sounds like aging doesn’t it?
In part two, I’ll go over simple ways to test yourself to determine how your body is functioning through your nutrition and ways to restore and supercharge your body’s insulin system for muscular gain, athletic performance and physique goals.