Women have been part of the main stream exercise world for some time now.
Exercise nutrition however, as it pertains specifically to women, is sorely lacking.
In general, the best way to enhance athletic performance, is also the best way to improve long-term health.
Enhancement and prevention go hand in hand.
The goal of women is to remain young as long in life as possible.
While the principals apply equally to males and females, these pages will focus on females and how they specifically can benefit from this program and how they need to protect themselves from the rigor of intense exercise.
Female athletes will also benefit from botanical hormone modulating and anti-inflammatory herbs.
Self-care is based on stimulating the body’s healing system through intense physical exertion and sound nutrition.
The assumptions made regarding nutrition are based on the demands and needs of metabolically active cells functioning inside healthy athletes.
This is in contrast to the minimum requirements established by the USDA, which assumes sedentary activity and is therefore inadequate to meet the needs of active women.
There is a new femininity in America; one that encourages women to compete on all levels with men.
In addition to breaking glass ceilings in the workplace, women are working out as much as men are.
This new femininity has produced a vast increase in the number of girls and women participating in organized sports and recreational exercise.
Along with the improved fitness that accompanies an increase in physical activity, exercise also improves a woman’s sense of identity and self-worth.
Female athletes are more assertive in the workplace, schools and bedrooms compared to non-athletes.
Female athletes now need to be more assertive regarding their own health.
The medical system that was supposed to keep them healthy has failed.
Young girls and women who elect to exercise early in life will reap benefits later in life.
The earlier a female athlete begins to incorporate exercise into their Diet, the more likely they will avoid the chronic diseases associated with aging (arthritis, hypertension and diabetes) as well as delay the onset and consequences of menopause.
Exercise also has a profound effect on brain chemistry.
The release of beta-endorphins, in response to the stress of exercise, produces the natural high of physical activity and helps females cope with the stress of life.
The assumptions made regarding nutrition are based on the demands and needs of metabolically active cells functioning inside healthy athletes. This is in contrast to the minimum requirements established by the USDA which assumes sedentary activity and is therefore inadequate to meet the needs of active women.
Female athletes compete and train as hard as their male counterparts. Female athletes are now exercising, walking, skiing and joining health clubs just as males do. Female athletes swim, bike, attend aerobic, yoga and pilates classes. They run, jump, stretch and bend as much as men. However, just as the nutritional needs of athletes as a whole differ from those of sedentary and unhealthy people, the needs of women differ from those of men. Their talents, strengths and weaknesses are different from those of men, as is their biochemistry.
The Athlete's Solution is designed for modern life. It is my hope that followers of this program will improve exercise performance, prevent injury and delay aging. This Athlete's Solution is based on theories developed by the traditional systems of healing. It’s a return to the original principals, materials and methods of the Ancients who depended on plants to improve health and who considered Diet as a way of life and sum total of all energy exchanges. This botanical approach is designed to improve exercise performance with improvement in health, the intended byproduct. Therefore, this program employs food as drugs and exercise as therapy. It is founded on the concept of what is good for exercise is good for health. It is a non-diet. Its purpose is weight management, not weight loss. It is also a non-pharmaceutical approach to repress pain and inflammation.
Female athletes whose meals contain colorful plants and engage in intense exercise will unlock the power of self-care. Through it, they will discover the much sought fountain of youth. Those that follow the unhealthy path, one that favors inactivity, high protein, fat and refined sugar will develop chronic diseases. Most Americans are unable to take advantage of the potential of self-care because they are already unhealthy. Some depend on prescription medication to control their illnesses, while others are shepherded into following unhealthy diets to lose weight.
This program is essentially a strategy to prevent arthritis and a natural method to avoid the triumvirate of chronic diseases; obesity, diabetes and atherosclerosis. These nutritional diseases have become the legacy of baby-boomers. These diseases were avoidable and could have been prevented. Instead, they are now at epidemic proportions, especially among our children. Exercise can save future generations from this ignoble fate.
The Female Athlete’s Solution is a program of eating well and exercising hard.
It combines intense exercise with colorful nutrition to stimulate good health. Health is best maintained through a combination of colorful foods and functional exercises. The foods that best fuel exercise are fully discussed later along with the benefits of exercise. Suffice to say, proper exercise enables a female to strengthen her skeleton by engaging groups of muscles through a full range of movements. Women function best from a combination of strength and flexibility exercises.
Hindered movement is caused by arthritis, compensations and inactivity. This program recommends functional exercises to correct those imbalances. To counter the harmful consequences of exercise, (free radical attacks and inflammation), this diet also provides natural anti-inflammatory and colorful antioxidants, which are embedded in the fibers of carbohydrate foods and botanical factories of plants.
Good health is based on molecular balance. When a good balance between receptor and hormones exists, cells respond the way that nature intended them to. And when they are in imbalance they do not respond to the brains instructions properly, which causes disease. Good molecular balance is linked to good nutritional behavior. The choices of food, exercise, drugs and rest alters the ideal balance and results in disease.
Here in America, there is an unhealthy alignment of interests that promotes imbalance. Illness and imbalance are profitable. Two negative consequences of imbalance is obesity and nutritional diabetes. Obesity is inactivity fueled by food addiction while this form of diabetes is caused by frequent snacking and damaged receptors. The diets the obese follow (extreme carbohydrate restricted diets) reverse the metabolic imbalance of improper sugar metabolism. These diets are unhealthy for female athletes.
A colorful diet on the other hand, can help female athletes promote a healthy balance. Females on this program are assured that an abundance of antioxidants will be available to help their body cope with the stress of exercise. Antioxidants are needed in high amounts to quench the enormous burst of free radicals that follows exercise. The failure of free radicals to mount an attack against a cell’s liporproteins and membrane receptors prevents the initiation of disease.
The source of power in this program lies in the ability of food and botanical drugs to influence metabolic events. These events are interactions between receptors and a ligands. From this interaction, a cascade of events follow. A female athlete on this program will ensure that they obtain a favorable ratio of omega-3s to omega-6 fats. This will repress inflammation by lowering the amount of inflammatory mediators created. An imbalance between these polyunsaturated oils promotes inflammation and arthritis by increasing their production. A healthy balance is achieved by a series of molecular interactions and switches. On a chemical level, two entities combine with each other. In some cases, it signals the formation of releasing and blocking factors which can then promote or hinder another reaction. This mechanism functions as the 0’s and 1’s of biology. It controls growth and development as well as the ebb and flow of hormones.
The collective effect produced by the combination of mood transmitters, endorphins and brain receptors determines mental outlook, threshold for pain and physical ability. The molecular events that unfold in the bodies of athletes are predictable and efficient. Their timings run smoothly as if the body had an automatic pilot switch that is flicked on by exercise.
Illness is the result of imbalance. Exercise promotes balance. Colorful foods are recommended because they best fuel exercise.
Exercise promotes good health by stimulating the body to manage stress. For example, exercise restores the balance between sugar and insulin, protects healthy HDL and removes lousy LDL. This alone improves health but that is just the beginning. Just as dopamine and serotonin require balance for mental health, endorphins and Substance P are needed to manage pain. It is the quality of this inner balance that reflects the outward balance we understand as good or poor health.
It is exercise that burns the calories of the food we eat and uses it to fuels health. The increased activity demanded by this program requires women to consume more efficient foods to fuel activity and more colorful ones to help them recover from it.
The muscle and bone strengthening effects of exercise require female athletes to provide adequate, not supra-normal amounts of protein in their meals. Make no mistake, The Female Athlete’s Solution is a high carbohydrate diet and categorically states that for active athletes, high protein or carbohydrate restriction diets are a prescription for arthritis, cardiovascular disease and premature death.
The foods in this program contain a library of color pigments and a universe of phytonutrients. They are mostly whole plants, because only the whole library of a plant can both fuel exercise and aid the body’s ability to heal. Botanical products are usually added to flavor and spice up food but they also have a profound effect on health. Not only do they give food a wonderful taste but they also prevent disease. In this program, foods are treated as drugs.
Colorful foods are divided into white, green, red, white and blue, depending on the predominant pigment in the plant. Colorless foods include healthy oils, mushrooms, beans, seeds, nuts and grains. Colorful foods are more efficient in energy exchanges and are higher in antioxidants than all other foods. These increased amounts are needed because exercise increases the body’s demand for energy as well as the formation of free radicals.
Female athletes who eat healthy foods will perform better, have less pain and experience less trauma and injury than those who eat high protein foods and use drugs to control pain. Female athletes who begin this exercise program early in life will delay their entry into menopause and its harmful consequence, osteoporosis.
Females need to exercise. Exercise improves and maintains health and requires movement, the most beneficial activity in life. Inactivity and sedentary behavior causes disease. Movement was once a natural part of everyday life, but the American sedentary lifestyle and its inactivity has removed it. Exercise restores movement to life. The more sedentary and stressful the work, the more exercise that is required to counter it. Movement is essential to good health. Movement is dependent on a series of transmembrane proteins, charged ion particles and high-energy phosphate compounds.
The chemical reactions they are involved in are dependent on mineral-complexed enzyme systems buried deep within the lipid folds of muscle mitochondria where enzymes convert glucose into ATP energy. It is in this form (ATP) that the energy stored in high energy phosphate bonds can be used. These bonds are broken and reformed many times each time they release or capture energy in the process.
High energy bonds are created only as a result of demand. More demand creates more high energy compounds. Frequent exercise increases ATP production and thus improves stamina and performance.The body learns and adapts by becoming more efficient. This is especially true of cell metabolism and vascular efficiency.
The more efficient metabolic state that athletes achieve through exercise improves their overall health and fitness.