I’m a big fan of taking detox weeks! Why? Do you drink water? Do you eat food? Do you breathe air? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but our internal and external ecosystem is usually filled with thousands of pollutants that increase the effects of aging, the risk of illness, and drastically lowers human performance. After fasting or detoxing, it’s as if you have flushed out your engine system on a car. By doing a 5 to 7 day quick detox, you can rid yourself of any digestive strain you may have had before, allowing you to better absorb nutrients at a MUCH higher rate and efficiency. I have always noticed that post detox or fasted prep for a competition, I GROW LIKE A WEED! This is especially important for guys who are taking in heavy amount of calories and/or supplements on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s just good to give your system a break. By going through this process of detoxing, you are helping your GI tract to eliminate toxins and allowing your body to feed off of the visceral fat around your organs better (the dangerous fat). This has many benefits including helping your cells function at an optimal and above level, better nutrient utilization and digestion which leads to an increase in energy and performance, helps to increases insulin sensitivity and much more.
I HIGHLY recommend detoxing before beginning an exercise plan, as it will only optimize your results moving forward. And no, don’t worry you aren’t starving yourself. People often become worried when I mention detoxing. You also WONT lose any muscle. Believe it or not, but severe muscle catabolizing effects often won’t appear until 8-10 days of being SEVERELY malnourished. But no matter what the science says, people (guys in particular) think they will lose muscle in 4 days of not training. Often, this is just glycogen depletion, and the “flattening” effect you see happening. Nothing to be worried about! Once you get back training and eating heavier, it all blows back up. Leave your insecurities at the door, and embrace a healthier body.
When it comes to detoxing, a few rules that we want to keep in mind. Remember, the goal is to keep this easy-breezy on the digestive system!
- 1. WATER IS KEY! Women NEED to be taking in a minimum of 3L per day, and men NEED to be taking in a minimum of 4L per day.This will also help to curb any hunger, and flush out the GI tract on a regular basis, as well as keeping you properly hydrated.Stick to filtered water, and even avoid bottled water, as studies have shown it may not even be that much better! If we’re detoxing our system, we want to eliminate any chemicals, such as the thousands upon thousands that are found in tap water. ***Tip: Taking creatine during your detox weak is a good idea! This is a perfect time to shuttle as much fluid into your cells as possible...or just let the liver take a break too!
- 2. Stay away from red meat! Very slow and difficult to digest, as well as many of the bovine additives during the farming process defeat the purpose of detoxing.
- 3. Stay away from carbohydrates in the morning to allow our body to focus on using fat for energy throughout the day.
- 4. In the 3-4 L of water that you have to consume, drinking a few cups of green tea throughout the day is highly recommended.Green tea has powerful antioxidants and nutrients that have been proven to improve brain function, has the potential to increase fat oxidization by up to 17%, can lower prostate and breast cancer, lowers the risk of heart disease, lowers the risk of diabetes, lowers the risk of introducing infections, improved liver function and much more.
- 5. When life gives you lemons…put in in all of your water.Seriously…2 per day actually.Just remember to frequently brush your teeth! Lemons have massive health and detoxification benefits! They aid in digestion, boosts the antioxidant powers of vitamin C, benefits enzyme function, aid in bowel production which helps keep foods moving through easily, and much more.
- 6. Lastly, lots and lots of raw, fresh and organic green vegetables are a huge key when detoxing. Not steamed till soggy, not microwaved until limp, just raw vegetables.When detoxing (or any day of your life for that matter) it’s extremely important to include greens such as kale, spinach, arugula, spirulina, and wheatgrass to shakes and salads. Raw and organic vegetables are key players when it comes to ridding the body of toxins.As athletes we drink more, we eat more, and we breathe more.And unfortunately for us, our water is polluted, our food is nutritionally bankrupt and full of chemicals, and the air we breathe is polluted and full of toxins.Taking in copious amounts of greens and perhaps adding a greens supplement to your diet will help you relieve your body of the many harmful environmental toxins we ingest on a minute to minute basis.