The edge and optimization for beginning athletes
Part 1: Water
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TRUTH: Anyone can be an athlete. You don’t need to be elite, have it as a profession, or making loads of money to be one. To say so is ignorant of the spectrum and diversity of human ability. You are what you do. Fuck the haters.
Think about it…regimented exercise, gyms, weights…it may be a hobby or a professional career even, but it’s not exactly natural for the maintenance of the human physique. Exercise was created. And now, because of more and more sedentary lifestyles or even specifically desired lifestyles, exercise has become a modern necessity. Thanks to all the robots, the tech, the desk jobs, and the ability to pay for labors we don’t have to do ourselves!
The world is full of gyms. Thousands upon thousands of them. Full of people of all different abilities. There are a minority that have true focus on some sort of sport or specific goal. Maybe they’re a professional athlete, or maybe the way they train keeps them in the best shape possible for whatever lifestyle they have. But, for the majority of people in the gym, the pure goal is just to maintain some type of maintenance. Either way, we ALL can better ourselves.
Most people are going into gym so that they can continue to pick up their growing children, continue to be competitive in community sports leagues, be able to hike and camp with ease, or maybe they just want to look damn fuckable when they’re naked in bed with their next sex victim. Whatever it may be, there are a lot of people that use gyms to just be a capable and good looking human. It’s not vanity, it’s good self-care and self-esteem.
The difference between these two sets of people though, the specific athlete and the maintenance or lifestyle athlete/gymgoer, is the time to learn and the experience within a niche to squeeze out the best results.
And if you’re having trouble, or you don’t have the time because you have a busy as fuck life, or you don’t want to listen to a hundred podcasts and read a thousand articles, then these following tips can help you bypass all the stressful bullshit, selling of products and the need to seek out or hire every type of professional.
The basics are super easy, and you don’t need all the fluff. You’ll learn that your mind and body will learn and adapt really damn well, just off the foundations of health. You’re going to recognize all of these things, but I’m going to point out what’s missing and why they’re so important. Then you can have legitimate criteria and standards to give yourself the best edge at being fit, getting strong AF, or becoming the ninja assassin you always dreamed of being.
(I always dreamed of being Ezio from Assassins Creed)
I want to simplify and give an easy understanding of the importance of incorporating these practices with physical health. I want this to be an easy go-to that helps anyone not have to feel so challenged and overwhelmed in being healthy.
Don’t freak out! It’s easy to understand, and you’ll be practicing these things and making improvements that you can really feel.
Yes…we all get the water one. Some people hate this shit just because it doesn’t have flavor. For others, it’s just habit. But what other reason do we need it more than being hydrated?
Water isn’t just about hydration. Water is the transportation system for all the nutrients throughout your body. Without it(and enough of it), it won’t matter what you eat or how hard you work out. Water is the foundation of a plethora of health benefits.
- It helps breakdown food and transport vitamins and minerals
- It helps organ function and toxin removal from the body
- It’s crucial in metabolism regulation
- It helps inflammation of joints and injury points
- It helps regulate blood flow and body temperature
- It smooths and extends energy levels/fights fatigue and tiredness
THINGS TO LOOK FOR:
Your body is trying to speak to you. It’s main goal is survival. So, it’s your job to keep it alive and make it work at it’s best. Most of us have ignored or just lost touch with the ability to speak with our body…to understand the language and connection that helps us understand its needs. Therefore leading us to freak out and seek out a professional for every ache or condition. We need to not only learn, but also trust ourselves in self assessment.
Fatigue is something most people chalk up to just being overworked and mentally exhausted. Even though these are partially true, they remain only an assumption of the complete picture. When your body and mind feel groggy, first assess your hydration. Without water, your body is working extra hard to pump blood, to digest, to have smooth organ function, and to generally move. It’s the difference between a dry water slide and a wet one. Which one performs better?
Dry skin, “sticky eyes”, “hot joints” are all effects of lack of hydration. Don’t just wait until your mouth feels dry. At that point, you’re already dehydrated. Pay attention to the way your body moves and feels throughout the day. MOST of your body is made up of water. Think of all the parts of you that are stiff, that don’t work as smoothly…it’s a sign of dehydration. Inflammation in the joints is because of lack of fluid. And yes…I do mean sticky eyes; dry, itchy, and kind of slow.
I have this weird skin condition called tinea versicolor. Yeah, my skin is dry by default because of it, but the effects of this condition are worse every day that I’m lacking water in my system.
Holding weight and looking “flat” or less vascular. People have this idea that drinking water means that they’ll retain water and look fat or fluffy. Come on guys…you’re talking to a powerlifter. I KNOW fluffy. Even though holding water is related to certain body differences and the amounts of sodium we have in our bodies, consistent water consumption actually fights against water retention…know why? Retention is your body’s way of holding onto something that it’s not getting enough of. It’s hoarding fluid.
The coldest cold and the hottest hot. Pay attention to how well you fair in more extreme elements, as well as training stress. For most of my life, I worked in the elements. And it finally came to me that water had a HUGE change in how well I could handle the extremes. Why is it that one day I could handle the cold fine and the next I couldn’t? How could I barely sweat on a 90 degree day, and almost die on the next? Body temperature. And body temperature is optimized by our nutrients and hydration. Hydration is what helps keep the “flow” in our body. Water can maintain certain degrees of temperature differences before it starts to change temperature itself. Think of water as our personal “coolant” and “antifreeze” of the body. Water will help keep you BOTH warm and cool.
Regardless of what your body is telling you, the signs are saying to you that you’re probably already dehydrated. Try these things to stay on top of it.
- Make water the first thing you consume in the morning. You’ve already done without consumption through eight hours of sleep. Water starts you on rehydrating your body, and kickstarts your digestion with something easier than food.
- Keep water on you. I know it sounds easy, but we still forget even when we have it with us. Keep a stainless steel hydroflask or something similar that will help you keep tabs on the ounces you drink per day.
- If you have a hard time drinking water, don’t feel bad about additives. Just make sure that you’re not replacing your water consumption with a “product”. Keep the base of your drink as water. Avoid drinking(and paying) for off-the-shelf items. Start with filtered water and add to it. Careful with coffee…even though it’s mostly water, it’s also a diuretic. It will make you use the bathroom more, offsetting your water intake. Just because it’s a liquid doesn’t mean it’s beneficial or even hydrating. Think of soda as basically sugar. Coffee beyond water/espresso/milk blends should also just be considered sugar. “Sports” drinks have electrolytes, but most are still high in sugar content. Unless you’re finding low calorie/low or zero sugar, bypass these products.
Additives/options I like to use: water diluted with a zero calorie, uncolored Gatorade or Powerade, Mio water additive, or hydration supplements that help with water dispersion/retention and electrolyte replacement like “Kaged” creatine or hydracharge. As an athlete my supplementation always helps with my water consumption. That includes my protein, creatine, and superfood powders that I use throughout the day.
As a Kaged innovator and supporter, I get to offer a discount code to fitness freaks and humans looking to optimize their training. Feel free to use my discount code HAMSTER15 to get an awesome price cut. Kaged supplements are the cleanest and most effective products I’ve ever used, and I used to spend $150+ a month on different products and brands. Cut out the process of elimination. You won’t regret it.
4. During training. The whole high school coaching philosophy that “water is for p*ssies” is a huge point of ignorance in my opinion. I get it as a way to mentally toughen up kids to a point, but dehydration is no joke. Water fasting is not food fasting. We should continuously consume water to hydrate as we keep our bodies under stress. In saying that, obviously if you’re an athlete that is constantly moving for long periods of time, cramping can be an issue. Know when you can drink water, but don’t avoid it.
5. Hydration minimums. Most of us walk around dehydrated. Not because we don’t know, but our busy lives just make us forget. I personally don’t know if there is a true minimum for water consumption, but in my opinion every person should shoot for a minimum of 64 ounces(half gallon) per day. No matter who you are, or what. I know you don’t like to pee all the time, but the adverse affects are worse. If you are any sort of athlete or even moderately active, look to consuming around 128 ounces per day. It will keep your body sharp, capable of movement and at optimal energy levels.
As a powerlifter, I’ve felt the ups and downs of hitting and missing the mark on my hydration and diet. It’s always the little things that matter most. Not the supplements, the training intensity, or the diversity. Your mental state will be shit when your body can’t perform. And even when you grind those reps out, your body won’t be able to grow at it’s best rate.
To be your best, you have to treat your body like it’s a top priority. Want to be strong? Treat your body right. Want to be fast? Treat your body right. Want to defy aging? Treat your body right.
Love you guys.
I’ll be covering more optimization practices in upcoming articles, so keep checking in. What’s to come:
Part 2 Diet/Calories
Part 3 Conditioning
Part 4 Sleep/Recovery Time
Part 5 Rehabilitation
Part 6 Training tension and Connection
Part 7 Training Diversity
Part 8 Screen Time and Data Consumption