image.jpg

If you missed last weeks 'How to X-hack your Health Part 1' check it out here, you'll get a better idea of what my rambling a are about.

Part 2 is is all about recovering like The Wolverine and learning how to manipulate metals like Magneto. Well, at least in your diet anyway.

Wolverine: accelerated recovery and repair.

Lets check out what Wolverine prioritises to maintain his special abilities when the camera's aren’t rolling.

SLEEP:
This ranks above training and nutrition in orders of importance. If you aren’t getting your 7-8 hours per night this is the first thing you must address before worrying about anything else. Sleeping is when your body switches into full recovery mode. It is crucial for physical repair if you train hard and play hard but it is also vital for mental recovery too, so don’t assume that you can skimp on sleep just because you aren't as physically active as you'd like to be.

In a perfect world, you shouldn’t even need an alarm clock. Routine will help you program your body to wake up at the correct time as long as you are giving your body enough sleep. Many people who have this routine nailed in will tell you they regularly wake up naturally, minutes before the alarm clock goes off. (Man, our bodies are complicated and cool).

Stay away from caffeine from early afternoon onward — maybe longer if you are sensitive to it— and power down any stimulating light, tv or other electronics an hour before bedtime. Another trick is to have the bulk of your carbs in the evening as their effect on our hormones/ bodies tends to relax us and make us tired.

Don’t let sleep debt add up. A great analogy is to think of Sleep-Debt the same as Credit-Card Debit. Pay that balance off in bulk and pay it off as soon as friggin possible because the compound interest that adds up is known as 'Aging'. Your bodies’ hormones and recovery systems become compromised with lack of sleep and it will start to show inside and out. Why do you think Wolverine looks pretty much the same since WW1, through to 2023. No camera tricks, that’s sleep!

IN THE GYM:
Many experts agree that ‘Overtraining’ as a term to describe excessive intense regular training is misleading. The syndrome is more accurately described as ‘Under-recovering’. Remember that next time you turn up to the gym prior to a session feeling like you’ve been hit by a train, it may be best to take a power-nap instead!

BCAAs:
Branched Chain Amino Acids are the actual building blocks within a protein source that reduce muscle break down and increase protein synthesis (build muscle and tissue). Perfect if you are putting your body through its paces multiple times a week or slicing though Sentinels with metal claws as a past time.  They come as capsules or powder as a supplement. If you are taking on adequate levels of high quality protein around your workouts then you may be receiving all the adequate BCAAs you require within that protein. However BCAAs are still worth a try if you havent used them before. I personally notice a huge difference in the reduction of DOMS when I take them and so do virtually everyone else I know who uses them. Multiple studies examining athletes perceived level of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) have shown significant reduction when BCAAs have been used.

They are also a good alternative for people that do not like taking protein shakes due to allergies or bloating etc.

image.jpg

THE 007 SHOWER:
Ok so I know this is supposed to be about X-men but trust me, Wolverine would definitely be a fan of James Bond’s showering technique. You may be familiar with sports teams and athletes using cold/warm contrast baths immediately after a game or event. The temperature changes create a type of ‘vascular pump’ on their blood vessels that speeds the recovery process. After exercise our muscles are warm and so blood vessels are dilated and large. Cold water causes these blood vessels to constrict and narrow (It is the same principle behind putting ice on a sprain to minimise swelling). This helps create a pump-like mechanism in our veins, arteries and capillaries around our muscles to draw out and pump away lactic acid and other chemical compounds or 'metabolites' that build up as our muscles tire from intense training.

It is unlikely you have cold and plunge pools at your gym, so do as 007 does:

  • Luke warm shower to start with: wash hair and face,
  • Switch to cold: wash the rest of body.

The additional benefit of this you don’t experience that first world problem of leaving the gym in fresh clothes post-shower but still profusely sweating.

I probably didnt even need to explain this tip. Its call a 007 SHOWER. All you guys are definitely going to try it!

Thoraco-lumbar Fascia. *Taken from Thomas Myers 'Anatomy Trains'.

Thoraco-lumbar Fascia. *Taken from Thomas Myers 'Anatomy Trains'.

MOBILISE YOUR FASCIA:
No, Fascia has nothing to do with your face and nothing to do with fascism, so stand down Xmen and women.
Fascia is the thin film that envelops all your muscles, vessels and organs throughout the entire body. It is a continuous structure from head to toe and has in the past always been neglected in favour of muscle, bone and any other tissue in terms of importance. This is the thin white/ clear film you may have seen around the outside of the steak you ate last week.

It plays a huge underrated roll in keeping you upright, mobile and symmetrical. The problem is that over time it is very easy to develop fascial restrictions due to intense exercise or sustained postures (sitting in offices all day).

Because all our nerve fibres and muscles are enveloped within this complicated matrix of cling film, fascia is being found to be more and more accountable for pain signals originating in our muscles.  If the fascia becomes restricted or adhered around a particular area of muscle, it can become quite painful. Enter the Foam roller aka medieval torture device.

Find that painful area and get rolling. Place the various tight areas of your body a top of the roller, and yes you have to concentrate on the the most tender areas. This works on breaking up any adhesions between the muscle and fascia and facilitates blood flow to the area. This is great for recovery but it is also extremely valuable as a warm up prior to exercise.

NUTRITION:
Wolverine would definitely eat his greens and avoid processed sugar and wheat that’s for sure. This is not just for the added benefit of looking lean and shredded. Sugar and wheat are acidic foods and along with their numerous detrimental impacts on digestive and hormonal health they also can also contribute to reduced bone health and density due to thier acidic load.

Regardless of whether you are planning on fusing your entire skeleton with Adamantium steel or not, an acidic environment is not going to be beneficial for you. You see without adequate alkaline foods like fresh vegetables, the body must leach calcium (alkaline) from your bones – reducing their density- into the blood stream to balance out the pH in your blood stream. This is believed to be the reason archaeological research uncovered a decline in bone density and overall reduction in height in early humans right around the time agriculture was discovered and heavy grain consumption replaced the previous paleolithic lifestyle.

Regaining Adamantium-strength bones after menopause has always been a challenge for women regardless of the high doses of calcium supplementation often prescribed.  You see high dose calcium supplementation is not a solution without careful consideration of the rest of a persons daily dietary intake.

Enter, Magnesium. Without adequate magnesium in the diet calcium does not absorb well from our digestive system through to our bloodstream so it does not end up strengthening bone and teeth. It's best to think of Magnesium and Calcium operating with a tag team mentality so you have to make sure you cover both bases. Nuts, seeds and green vegetables contain good doses of magnesium. Unfortunately due to the typical western diet, magnesium is one of the most common mineral deficiencies around.

But wait, wont consuming magnesium make me vulnerable to..

image.jpg

Magneto- Manipulate your metals:

No, because
A) his powers are ineffective against such a small amount of this mineral metal. Optimal dose is 350mg daily.
And B) he doesn’t exist so chill out.

Magneto would be the first to tell you about what a power-house magnesium is in terms of health. It is a synergist in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, more than any other mineral. I’ve already mentioned its role in calcium absorption and bone health but its benefits also include facilitating energy production within our cells, maintaining neurological health -to rival Professor X, and better control of blood sugar due to its supporting role to enzymes involved in balancing blood sugar.

 

Mystique- clearly a fan of Oysters....and muscles.

Mystique- clearly a fan of Oysters....and muscles.

Another big hitter in the trace metal/mineral department is Zinc. Zinc’s synergistic activity not only helps beef up our immune system, it also plays a role in protein synthesis, wound healing and cell division. Basically everything Wolverine is good at. Last but not least Zinc is of particular importantance for men as it helps to maintain testosterone levels and prostate health. This doesn’t mean you ladies can just ignore adequate zinc intake though- it has a powerful anti-oestrogenic effect. This means you could be less likely to gather fat around your hips, thighs and upper arms if you get your recommended dose daily ( around 8mg for females and 12mg for males). Oh, and it's great for a lagging libido in both sexes! The best sources of zinc in food is shellfish, beef, lamb and pork.

We have no way to store zinc in our bodies so it is important to maintain a daily intake. If you train or exercise hard and regularly, your magnesium and zinc levels will deplete at a faster rate so covering your bases with a ZMA supplement before bed is a smart option. NB: Don't take more than the recommended dose as excessive zinc levels can be detrimental to your health. 

Now go forth and be X-tra awesome.

TB

Comment