No doubt you’ve heard all kinds of information about detoxification, and you may have wondered if it’s a good choice for you. If you’re a competitive athlete, there’s no doubt that a good detox can do wonders for your health and prepare you for a competition. What’s the right way to incorporate this strategy into your routine?
What Is Detoxification?
Sometimes referred to as a cleanse, detoxification is used to clean out the system. And by system, that usually refers to the excretory system, which plays the biggest role in detoxification. That includes the skin, liver, lungs, large intestine, and kidneys. Of course, that means we’re also referring to the digestive system.
A cleanse enables you to essentially restart your body so you can once again be at peak performance.
The truth, of course, is that our bodies naturally cleanse themselves. So there’s an argument that detoxification isn’t necessary. If you were to eat all of the right foods, that would likely be a valid argument. But we’re human; we’re not perfect. That bad bad stuff can pile up and not let the system clear itself like it should. Enter, then, the lure of detoxification.
Bad Out, Good In
Most cleanses focus on two aspects: ridding your body of the bad things you’ve put in it and loading it up with vitamin-rich, healthy foods. When you strip your diet down to the bare essentials, you allow your liver and kidneys to really do the work they’re designed to do.
Depending on the type of cleanse you choose, it could be a few days up to a month. Typically, there are phases to the detoxification process. Those may include starting on an all-liquid diet (with supplements), followed by reintroducing foods, with the more neutral ones coming first. All detoxifications eliminate alcohol and smoking, and many also remove gluten, sugar, and dairy from the diet.
Benefits of Detoxification
If you were to do a Google search on detoxification, you’d find there are millions of hits on the topic. That’s why, if you choose to take on a cleanse, it’s important to do your research and consult an expert. When taken on responsibly, your body can really experience a jumpstart from a detox.
Some of the positives associated with extricating the sludge include:
- Ridding your body of excess toxins
- Purifying cells and tissues
- Improved digestion and metabolism
- Increased mental clarity
- Reduced inflammation
- Resetting your digestive system
- Improved performance
- Losing weight
Detoxification for Athletes
As an elite athlete, you’ll not only want to take on a cleanse from time to time, you’ll want to do it responsibly. Detoxification for athletes requires a different approach from those who don’t compete. For instance, going on an all-liquid diet can be challenging for an endurance athlete. After all, where are you getting your energy?
Athletes should definitely consider elimination as part of a smart detox. Cutting out gluten, refined sugars, dairy, processed foods, and alcohol will go a long way to ridding your body of toxins. Smoothies and juices are a good way to get energy and the appropriate mix of macronutrients in an easily digestible format. Of course, water is essential during a cleanse, and even more so for an active athlete. You may also choose to do a short-term cleanse, as opposed to something that’s a full month.
Exercising on a detox that’s specifically formatted for an athlete is possible, but you wouldn’t want to compete at that point. However, once your cleanse is complete, you’ll find that you’re ready to really up your performance. Plus, the change in diet helps you to lose weight and get over stalls you may be experiencing.
Research and Be Smart
While detoxification is a great way to clean out your digestive system and enjoy gains in your training, you should be smart about how you take it on. Do your research. Consult with a specialist. Listen to your body. Only then will you be able to reap the full benefits of a detoxification.
Questions about how you can incorporate detoxification into your goals as an elite athlete? Schedule your initial consultation! I specialize in supporting athletes and preparing them for competition.
Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.