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Food is Fuel

Food…STOP thinking of it as calories that will make you fat! 

START thinking of it as fuel for your performance!!! 

(Yes, if you eat a lot of processed foods with added sugars or consume more food than your body needs, you may gain excess fat you don’t want.) 

Without proper fuel on a regular basis, you will not perform like you want – you will not see the strength gains you are looking for, your performance will likely decline, and your body may break down. 

Lack of strength gains 

We don’t do strength workouts just to stay the same.  The purpose of doing strengthening exercises is to get stronger in some way.  If you don’t give your body the fuel it needs to build muscle, you are essentially wasting your time when doing strength workouts.  The workouts you are doing are at best keeping you where you are rather than allowing the muscle to break down, but that is it. 

If you truly want to gain muscle, you need to be taking in calories to either break even for the day, if you are wanting to lose some body fat as well, or a slight surplus if you are not looking to get any leaner in the process.  The greater deficit you are in, the less likely you will create the strength gains you are looking for. 

Performance decline 

We can see performance deficits in a number of ways when it comes to underfueling our bodies. 

One way we see a decline is a decrease in endurance.  You may find you are needing to take more rest breaks during a workout or longer rest breaks.  You may also find the pace you are able to maintain becomes slower even though your training has not decreased. 

The other way we see a decrease in performance is strength loss.  You may find that you are unable to lift as heavy as you were previously.  Yes, we all have off days when it comes to lifting, but when it is consistently decreasing, it is a problem.  That is a sign that your muscles are breaking down because your body needs the fuel to function. 

Body break down – injuries! 

Exercise causes “damage” to our muscles and stress to our tendons.  That is a totally normal process to occur.  The healing of that damage and stress is how our tissues (and bodies) become stronger. 

When the body is not able to heal the natural damage due to lack of fuel, the tissues begin to break down. 

What does this breakdown mean for your body? 

It means your body does not recover as well between workouts, placing you at greater risk of muscle strains, muscle tears, tendon inflammation (tendinitis), and tendon tears.  It also means it takes your body longer to recover from the injuries you do have. 

Besides the lack of repair from training, another issue that may occur is the body can begin pulling from itself when it needs the fuel to survive.  This means it may pull required energy and nutrients from your muscles.  This will naturally weaken the muscles, both in strength and integrity of the muscle, which may result in strains or tears. 

Stress fractures 

A number of reasons exist for why stress fractures occur.  One of them is due to being underfueled. 

Just like what was mentioned in the soft tissue injuries above, the body may start pulling energy and nutrients from the bones in order to survive.  This causes the bone structure to weaken, resulting in stress fractures over time. 

If you develop a stress fracture and continue to be underfueled, the stress fracture can (and likely will) take longer to heal than our normal bone healing time of 8-12 weeks. 


Have questions about your whether your fueling is appropriate?  Let’s talk!  Book a free call with me: 

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