Hello! I hope everyone is having a fantastic week so far! Crossing my fingers, the worse of my flare up is over and hopefully I am back to feeling (mostly) normal!
Tomorrow, I’m going to do a day in the life post, since I try to do one every few months, but today I want to catch up on the past few days as well as share some things I learned in one of my classes!
I’m taking a sex and gender in physiology class this quarter, and yesterday we had a guest lecturer come in and talk about gender differences in relation to sports performance. Here’s something interesting: there are very few studies that look at women specifically. Most of the sports performance studies are on men, or do not differentiate. Given the hormonal differences and differences in organ size (women have smaller hearts and lower lung capacity), this is significant. From the lecture, I had a few take aways for practical applications I wanted to tell you guys.
- Women suffer from Hyponatremia more frequently. Hyponatremia is a condition that occurs when blood sodium levels are too low. This may occur during a long, hot endurance event where a person drinks lots of water, without electrolytes, and loses lots of electrolytes in sweat. This is a serious condition, and actually kills more people in long distance endurance events than dehydration. Women are more susceptible to this because estrogen lowers the body’s “set point,” or level of electrolyte that it decides is acceptable before it must conserve water. As a result, the body starts conserving water when more electrolytes have already been lost. Because women have more estrogen than men, especially during the luteal phase of their cycle, they are more likely to have this issue of loss of too many electrolytes. So what’s the solution? Easy—consume electrolytes! Add 1/16 of a teaspoon of salt per 20 oz of water to prevent excess electrolytes loss and to improve actual water absoprtion into the bloodstream.
- Post-workout, women need more protein, specifically lysine and leucine (amino acids), for muscle recovery. Women have higher levels of progesterone, and progesterone increases the breakdown of protein and leads to less protein synthesis (building of muscles). Because of this, the magic protein to carb ratio in chocolate milk is likely not sufficient protein for women (but it’s great for men!). For women, something life plain low fat Greek yogurt is recommended because it has a higher protein to carb ratio.
- Women should not go super low carb or exercise fasted (see my previous post on fasted cardio—similar concept) because while women have a greater capacity for turning fat as fuel than men, exercising without carbohydrates leads to cortisol (the stress hormone) production, which reduces estrogen, leading to lethargy and fat gain. So carb up!
Hopefully you might have gotten something interesting out of that! I haven’t tried salting my water yet, but I definitely will soon. I feel like I’m constantly thirsty and constantly drinking!
So what have I been up to? Last week my friends and I had a little fruit and cheese party. One of m Christmas presents was a fruit and cheese club, and this month’s cheese was gouda, and the fruit was pears. I also sliced up some goat cheddar to enjoy with crackers.
Also noteworthy: my parents got me some fancy chocolates from Napa, and not only are they beautiful, but they’re delicious! And coincidentally, now they’re all gone.
Over the weekend, I visited my high school friend at Berkeley. Friday was her birthday, so I stopped by to
see her cats celebrate!
Seriously though, her cats are adorable. I took pictures with both cats but not with her…They are now 8 months old, and I watched them grow up!
It was a pretty low key night—I got there in time to go to Trader Joe’s and then make dinner. We snacked on some hummus (with GF crackers for me) and then made a salad with avocado, tomatoes, goat cheese, and hard boiled eggs.
We actually used WikiHow for the egg method, and they came out perfectly and easy to peel. I’ve had some fails with eggs in the past, but it’s been years since I’ve made hard boiled eggs. For what it’s worth, just bring a pot of water with some salt to a boil WITH the eggs in it. Once it boils, turn off the heat and leave the eggs for 3-20 minutes, depending on your egg told preferences. We split the difference and went with 10, and they were perfect, with fully cooked yolks.
We watched a movie (Ex Machina—interesting!) and had a great time in each other’s company. I love friends like that!
In terms of health, I am happy to report that my stomach flare up seems to have ended (KNOCK ON WOOD). It’s been ending the past few days, but I actually felt normal today (!). Yesterday I was feeling not flared but that my body was having to work really hard to digest anything, until the magical dinner I had at home on the way to an off campus class. Sweet potato chicken soup and cornbread is apparently the ideal thing for my stomach. Needless to say I had leftovers for lunch today and plan to have the same thing for lunch tomorrow!
On the food front, I had a sunflower seed butter+jam sandwich (on GF bread) for a pre workout snack today and I was way too excited for it. I think I hate pb&j every day for lunch for about 4 years in middle/high school, so when I acquired good GF bread I was all over that!
It’s funny—with my stomach condition I feel like I have to take a very scientific approach to how I eat. Everything must be planned and considered—there’s no emotion associated. As a scientist, I actually like this. The point is, I’m trying really hard to eat foods other than straight carbs—more whole foods. While there are some vegetables I’m staying away from right now, I’m trying to work in more actual foods (like this sandwich in place of a bar). I packed an orange for snack today which was exciting because I have definitely not been getting my fruit in!
In fitness news, I did the best pull up of my life yesterday. To put in perspective how crazy that is, 2 weeks ago I couldn’t hang from the bar without shoulder pain. My shoulder is not 100%, but it still amazes me the changes that occur every weeks and the progress I make. I’m super proud of the pull up because I literally built that up from nothing. At the end of September, I couldn’t lift up my arm. Now, I did a pull up without a band. Sort of kipping, but still, closest to non-kipping I’ve done (and before I only sort of could do 1 kipping sometimes). I’m incredibly proud of this, and am hoping 2016 will be the year of the pull up!
Now, I have to go make a spin playlist for tomorrow! I’m loving my spin classes this quarter—they’ve been full! I taught tonight, and can already see that tomorrow’s class has filled up!
How do you stay hydrated? Do you feel hydrated?