Common wellness questions answered

WAG Wellness columnist Giovanni Roselli responds to the questions he’s most often asked about energy, exercise and nutrition.

“Knowledge is having the right answer.  
Intelligence is asking the right question.” 
— Unknown

Most recently I have noticed a common theme of questions that I’m often asked about.  With this being said I thought it might be helpful to address them in this issue.  Enjoy. 

What’s your best advice to maintain energy throughout the day?

“I hate to harp on what you’ve all probably heard before, but there’s a reason why we hear it all the time and that’s the importance of sleep.  A good night’s sleep will allow your body not to heavily rely on energy drinks, caffeine or other types of stimulants to get you through the day.  Getting enough rest allows the brain and body essentially to take out all the trash from the day at night so you can feel clear and focused the next day.  

If you say, ‘Well I don’t need a lot of sleep,’ or ‘I just can’t sleep,’ then I’ll be happy to provide you with the plethora of research to support the fact that this affects stress levels, cognitive functioning, focus and concentration, as well as mood.  I often tell clients that the best preworkout supplement is a good night’s sleep. If possible, I would also recommend a morning movement session.  This could be a ‘workout’ or simply some stretching and light exercise.  What this does to our physiology in the morning will help us stay focused and energetic throughout the day.  The secret is that there are no secrets to maintaining energy throughout the day.”     

Does exercise help your immune system?

“It absolutely does and it is fair to say that this is more important now than ever. Exercise can lead to an increased production of antibodies, which can help combat certain antigens.  Additionally, the endorphins that are released during exercise can help relieve pain and stress and boost happiness.  Lastly, it lowers your risk of infection since you are essentially building a stronger body armor for viruses and bacteria to have to fight through.”    

 What should I eat after a workout? 

“This is one of those ‘it depends’ questions.  Years ago, we were told that there was a ‘window’ where we needed to refuel immediately after a workout or our body would go into a catabolic state.  However, more and more research has been coming out that this has been slightly overhyped, and as long as you consume enough nutrition and calories throughout the course of the day, you will be just fine.  So in regards to these two points, it depends on what type of workout you just had. Was it strength training, cardio, high intensity interval training, yoga, etc.? 

“Ideally, you want to ensure you have adequate protein, so that is most often paramount.  Now if the workout was highly metabolic in nature, then you may want to ingest carbohydrates to aid in recovery. (No, they aren’t the enemy.) Another layer that plays into this would be the goal of the individual. Are you looking to lose weight, build muscle, maintain, improve cardiac output, etc.? Every single one of these goals would require a different recipe for nutrition (pun intended).  For building muscle, you would need to ingest a bit more; for losing weight, you won’t have to eat as much.  In the end, depending on 1) what workout you do and 2) your fitness goals, this should determine the quantity and type of nutrients consumed.  No matter the case, protein is always the common denominator.  

“Finally, the debate on protein powder versus food post nutrition should be left up to you.  If it’s convenient to down a shake and be on your way, then go for it.  If you have the time to have a nice meal, then sit down and enjoy.  Yes, a shake will technically enter the bloodstream quicker and food will take longer to digest. However as long as it’s quality, then choose whatever is best for you in that situation.” 

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