THE London 2012 Olympics has reignited the pride and joy of a nation as we all embrace the thrill of victory.
But the work of an athlete is gruelling and the hard work and dedication must never be undermined. Whether a medal winner or not, the athlete needs special care and attention, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Most athletes retire early due to age, injury or other reasons. However, after years of abusing the body adjustment is essential if the individual is to lead a healthy and normal life. All the systems and phases of the body must be realigned and harmonised.
But how is this done? Before, during, and after any competition, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual conditioning is very important.
While preparing physically, most athletes tend to overeat and consume excess liquids as they utilise most of the material consumed. But excess will always be stored in the body by either male or female. This excess is then distributed to various store houses of the body, such as the liver, kidneys, skin, large and small intestines, blood vessels, sweat and oil glands. Connective tissues are also affected. This waste is also stored in the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, upper arms, and ankles. Eventually it impacts the entire organism negatively, resulting in average to poor performance as the athlete is "out of balance".
During competition the routine of excess is sustained to not only support stamina and strength, but because of increased stress.
Stress is a hidden condition that will lead to eating anything at anytime, a bad idea for the athlete. The plethora of different foods within the organism corrupts and contaminates the blood. This environment diminishes the brain's capacity to function harmoniously and thinking becomes chaotic. Inferior nutrition will make the athlete susceptible to various injuries such as strained muscles, torn and strained ligaments, fractures, as well as broken blood vessels. Hence, quality protein is compulsory to build strong muscles and complex carbohydrates for endurance.
Both food groups must be supplemented by highly mineralised alkaline water, an important ingredient often ignored. Quality water for the athlete is vital as these molecules must be able to penetrate the cells and be absorbed to facilitate peak performance. In addition, smaller molecules assist with the removal of stored waste material. Large molecules tend to smother cells, preventing food and oxygen from being absorbed thus creating a degree of anaemia.
Athletes are oftentimes attracted to the more refined carbohydrates such as white rice, sugar, flour, white potato, as well as sodas and fruit juices with high sugar content and inferior sweeteners. This gives the athlete a false burst of energy which is short-lived. As aresult, they are constantly drinking in an attempt to experience this false burst of energy, in effect a "false start". This insatiable appetite for liquids, preferably cold beverages, is also due to the excessive intake of protein, which converts and is stored as fat in and around the organs and glands. This excess keeps the body hot.
Importantly, protein attracts sweet and sweet attracts protein. Both protein and carbohydrate demand liquid because they both raise the body's temperature creating a certain level of heat. This is not favourable for the athlete's nervous system.
Another problem affecting the athlete's 'A' game is constipation, which leads to toxic build-up, resulting in fatigue, depression, bloating, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, cravings for sugars and starches, mental lethargy, abdominal discomfort and the inability to digest food properly. This condition further leads to acne, psoriasis and eventually certain types of skin cancers, all because of a corrupt, toxic blood from the juices in the small and large intestines.
It is no surprise therefore that the athlete is tired and lacking in enthusiasm and drive as this toxic build-up affects the athlete physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Now after competing on the world stage and elsewhere, the athlete must return home. There is no competition for the next three to four months so the athlete decides to take a holiday from training. However, he/she continues to eat and drink excessively as if they were still competing.
This routine is unhealthy for the athlete as the body is like a sponge absorbing and storing not just the excess, but also what was already stored during competition. This condition further compromises the athlete's health, as the body is now hypo-active (underactive), and the excess is negatively impacting organs, glands and systems, particularly the excretory, circulatory, respiratory, endocrine and nervous systems.
The mind and body are now out of balance placing the athlete in a very inferior state for future competitions. After months of inactivity and storage the athlete is now faced with a new competition date and must resume training.
The athlete's condition is inferior, yet he/she must train intensely and more frequently in order to perform optimally. Too much work for the body in such a short time will strain the system. After years of being subjected to this routine, the athlete will become quite susceptible to the development of all kinds of diseases such as diabetes, obesity, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, glaucoma, prostate cancer, low sex drive in men and women and impotence in men.
Part two of this article will address how the athlete can maintain and sustain balance between excess and the need to eat, as well as how to live a healthy life after retirement.
Editor's note: Ted Emanuel is a Naturopathic Physician.