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Fighting Fit The secret behind immune support


Getting the right immune support

In normal circumstances, showing symptoms of a cold are often just a distraction; but at a time like this it can be very worrying for ourselves, our families and friends. Contracting a cold or flu every year is usually unavoidable but steps can be taken to stop it being extensive or knocking us off our training plans. Let’s uncover the things you should use to give your immune system the best help to keep you fighting fit.

Limit suppression by training progression

It’s no secret that to make incremental improvements to your strength, speed or endurance it takes regular prolonged activity many days per week. But training hard comes at a price. Putting the hard work part to one side, heavy training temporarily suppresses the body’s natural defence against infection; this is especially true immediately after exercise. This period is known as ‘the open window theory’, a potential window for infection. This immune suppression quickly subsides following rest and refuelling, with the aim of coming back stronger. In the long term, if you follow a structured training programme, your immune defences will be further enhanced and hopefully will protect you against any seasonal bugs.

Nutrition support

Before heading for magic potions that may help in boosting your immune system, a fighter should first ensure that the basic nutrition principles are put in place. Having a healthy balanced diet that consists of:

  • 55-60% carbohydrate, 20-25% protein and 15-20% fat
  • 5 pieces of different coloured fruit and vegetables per day
  • Eating low glycaemic carbohydrate throughout the day
  • Eating protein rich foods, with carbohydrate following training
  • Drinking at least 2.5 litres of water per day

Natural Support

Immune support may be further enhanced through antioxidant, vitamin and mineral supplementation. Naturally occurring multivitamin foods, often referred to as ‘Super-foods’, include; blueberries, almonds, avocado, cranberries, flaxseeds, olive oil, pumpkin, sweet potato and oranges. These may all help support your immune system. However, for a convenient way to reach the required dosages, sport nutrition supplementation could be an excellent alternative and ensure that you meet the recommended dietary allowances for vitamins and minerals, when your diet falls short.

Immunity Support

Breakfast Granola with low fat yoghurt and a handful of blueberries and cranberries
Mid Morning Peanut butter on crisp breads (x3)
Lunch Tuna & cottage cheese on a crispy salad with avocado
Mid Afternoon An orange & a handful of mixed nuts
Post Training Maximuscle Promax and a banana
Evening Meal Grilled salmon, steamed vegetables, sweet potato & mixed seeds
Snack A glass of skimmed milk

Stay Well, Train Hard, Fight Easy

For anyone in a rigorous training plan, illness becomes a threat in maintaining your progression. Rest is the most sensible counteraction if illness occurs but attack is sometimes the best form of defence and for that, nutrition is key. An active person pays lots of attention and importance to training but nutrition should be thought of in the same way. Think about doing the basics right, add in supporting nutrients where needed and supplement if and when required. Let's stay healthy and continue those gains regardless of what's happening around you.