WE have all thought about our nutritional intake for the day — we need more proteins for muscle building, for example, or carbs to keep us going longer. But we often ignore the nutritional needs of the body after activities like working out — a practice not recommended by Gisel Harrow, personal and fitness trainer at Express Fitness, Liguanea.
“Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand to better achieve one's fitness goals and a healthy lifestyle. And while what we eat to support our various types of workout is important, we also should know that the recovery of the body, especially after rigorous training, should be taken very seriously,” Harrow advised.
She points out that when we exercise, not only are body tissues damaged, but glycogen and many other essential nutrients, minerals and fluids critical to several body functions are depleted. Hence, we have a duty to ensure that our bodies are nourished in the best way possible post-workout to ensure that the body is replenished.
Having underscored the importance of post-workout nutrition, Harrow said that knowing what you should eat and when is also very important to ensure that you achieve the desired results.
“It's advisable that on days when you do resistance training, you eat within 30 minutes. Also, at least three of your meals for the day should consist of protein and fibrous vegetables so your body has enough fuel to work on,” Harrow advised.
She added that you should choose foods that will filter into your system quickly. She said some food combinations may include a protein shake and a ripe banana — a perfect combination which is easily digestible. This should be followed within an hour by a high-protein meal, such as salmon or beans and a vegetable salad.
You can also try a mixture of fruits such as bananas and berries, chia and flax seeds which are high in fibre, and even nuts such as almonds which are high in protein, and milk, which is rich in calcium for the bones. You can also have a turkey sandwich using whole grain bread and leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach and tomato which has a high percentage of water.
The days that you do cardio it's best to have protein and salads — a vegetable-based salad with turkey, tuna or even pieces of roast chicken, for example, within 30-45 minutes of having your protein shake, but not exceeding an hour.
Above all and equally important to all other nutritional requirements, always ensure that you are hydrated. So do drink plenty of water. You can also eat some fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, pineapples, cranberries and cantaloupes, because not only are they packed with vitamins and essential minerals, but they have a high water content, some more than 90 per cent.
MANY people can relate to their sex life hitting rock bottom — a place where the sex is not quite what it used to be, where you either wish the person would spend a little more time, or you just can't wait for them to reach an orgasm so you can get back to what you were doing. But the blissful days that seem long gone don't have to stay in the past. Sex therapist Dr Sidney McGill says that you can resuscitate your moribund sex life by improving your physical, mental and emotional health.
“In order to really ensure that your sex life improves, we have to look at a relationship from different perspectives, namely physical/medical and emotional health. You must examine anything that could injure your ability to lead a healthy sex life,” Dr McGill explained.
He reasoned that while people who are in poor health can still have sex, when a person's cardiovascular health is optimal — which means that the heart is in good condition and the blood circulating well — it is more likely that sexual relations will be enjoyable.
“For a man to have an erection, he requires a good blood supply and he should be able to pleasure his partner for a while without becoming excessively tired. To ensure that you are in good health, you [should make] exercise a bigger part of your life. You want to focus on strength ... in the abdomen, back, buttocks, thighs and hands,” Dr McGill advised.
Importantly, he notes that exercise also encourages an increased production of endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine — happy/feel-good hormones which will heighten your pleasure. This, Dr McGill said, should be supported by eating sensibly, which really means eating not only for enjoyment but for health as well.
As it relates to emotional health, Dr McGill argues that the options are limitless, but understanding your partner is crucial to improving emotional and sexual relations.
Some of the other methods you can explore:
1. Pay compliments to your partner
Whether engaged in the act or not, it is important to make your partner feel special, sexy and appealing. Remind her/him that you still enjoy feasting your eyes on whatever it was that attracted you in the first place.
2. Talk to your partner
Many relationships crumble because of a failure to communicate, to highlight the good points and to share mutual concerns. If sexual problems arise, couples often neglect to talk about them, but it is important to have a frank discussion. “You have to make sure that you are sincere and genuine. Be attentive to your partner... not just in order to have sex, but it means raising the bar on the quality of your relationship, and ... taking time out to notice changes in your partner,” Dr McGill advised.
3. Understand your partner's nuances
Listen to him/her even when he/she has had a bad day. Listen to their little nuances and help them to feel better. It is important to remind your partner that you care and that you are in their corner.
4. Set aside time for fun
Your children, finances and careers are important, but you need to dedicate time for you and your partner to play around a little, go to parties, the beach, and generally have fun. Building intimacy is most important for a healthy sex life.
5. Make sex a ceremony
Avoid indulging in routine sex. Every once in a while, heighten the expectation. Start teasing him/her from in the morning, then set the scene at home — from the candles and music to the food. Then enjoy the exciting finale.
6. Explore new things
You can share with each other your sexual fantasies, explore new sexual positions (once both partners are comfortable), new sex toys, or whatever may bring back life to your bedroom.
7. Gaze at your partner
Let him/her ask why you are staring them down like that, and then remind them of why you fell in love with them. Compliment your partner — not just on their physical attributes but why you chose to be with them out of everyone else in the world. Also, remind your partner how important they are to you.
8. Give gifts without a reason
Gifts don't have to be lavish and expensive. They serve as a reminder to your partner that you value and appreciate them. This can be as simple as a stack of notes expressing reasons you love him/her, their favourite candies and liquor, a book they have been wanting to read, or something they have been searching for but can't get their hands on. Do the research and surprise them with it.
9. Take advantage of technology
Using Whatsapp and other social media platforms, send steamy texts to your partner reminding them how much you love them. The truth is, nobody gets tired of hearing those three words, especially when they are coming from the dearly beloved.
10. Practise discipline in sex
Stop making sex all about penetration. Learn to hold off on penetration sometimes. Learn to enjoy your partner's body without sticking your sweet stick into her honey pot as soon as you get an erection. Just relax, have a little wine, some chocolate, play in your partner's hair, kiss each other all over the body, play with each other, then you can go for your orgasm.