Let’s talk about poop, baby!
Let’s talk about all the good and the bad things that may be!
Let’s talk about poop!
While my lyric modifications and beautiful singing voice (aka completely tone-deaf) are usually reserved for songs about my dog, I figured if we’re going to be talking about a sometimes awkward topic, we might as well bring some Salt N Pepa into it.One of my favorite parts of working with people is getting them comfortable talking about poop.
Because I’m sick in the head, that’s why.
Poop is the most accurate picture of your health at any given moment. Do you want to climb better? Do you want to run faster? Do you want to have more energy? Everything in your body is connected! In order to get the best results, you have to be absorbing nutrients properly. In order to absorb nutrients properly, you have to have good digestion.
Picture this…you’re about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime that is going to require you to be at your best. You wake up that morning with stomach cramps and diarrhea. How fun does that day look now?
Or maybe it’s more subtle where you can’t get over a cold and have a lingering cough.
Did you know that 70% of your immune system lives in your digestive tract?
First things first, pooping 5-7 times a day is not normal. Diarrhea is not normal. Pooping every 3 or 4 days is not normal. Constipation is not normal. Just because “you’ve always been this way” doesn’t mean that it’s the way it should be! It only feels normal because no one talks about what is.
Good digestion is like a good marriage, it takes constant intention, work, and love to make it happen!
Life is just one big quest for a daily perfect brown banana.
So where do you fall?
If you’re serious about your performance and/or general health, this is an important area to take notice of because it directly links to the food you eat – hence the “let’s talk about A to B” in my song lyrics.
Here’s how to do that:
- Add a poop column to your daily food and exercise tracker. You all know by now that I love tracking because it helps us to learn what’s best for us as individuals. Rule of thumb: if you think you have a food allergy or sensitivity, you probably do! Everyone is different, especially our digestive systems. More than just food – stress, hormones, and medications also play a part in digestive health. Digestive issues can show up immediately or even up to 72 hours after the fact so look for patterns to help you identify any culprits.
- Get some good bacteria. We’re only as good as the bacteria populating our system. Eat fermented foods, take a high quality probiotic, and avoid excessive sugar intake that feeds bad gut bacteria.
- Eat your vegetables. Fiber will keep everything moving without needing to rely on caffeine!
If you’re a runner, things need to get a little more specific for those long runs.
How to avoid the runner’s runs:
- Improve your form. The impact of running jostles your intestines and literally shakes the poop right out of you. Improve your form to minimize this impact.
- Plan on a pre-run poo. Best to just get it out of there if you’re that dialed in digestively.
- Taper back fat and fiber a day or two before a long run. Remember when I said food can affect you for up to 72 hours? You don’t want any lingering food in there to be jostled around during your run and cause issues. So leading up to the race, go for easy to digest foods like white rice, sweet potatoes, leaner meats, and bananas. **This is something to track in your training and test to see what works best because you don’t want to constipate yourself either – so find the balance that works best for you.
- Chew your food carefully and slowly. The more mechanical breakdown you can get through chewing, the less work your system will have to do and less digestive issues you’ll have during your run. This also decreases the chances of swallowing air and getting gassy.
- Chill out on the caffeine. I get it, endurance athletes love caffeine because it does boost performance. But take it easy. If you’ve been eating and digesting well leading up to the race and you’re getting good sleep, it may do more harm than good. Don’t go cold turkey either or else you’ll have withdrawal symptoms so taper down if you want to eliminate it. I like yerba mate for caffeine plus other energy and focus boosting compounds. Or try maca for an energy boost without the caffeine digestive issues (warning to not try it for the first time on race day).
Did you know that on the right sidebar of Trailside Kitchen recipes you can click on tags to see all the best recipes for your purposes?
So if you’re trying to taper fat before a run, you can click on lower fat percentages or click on any of the Cardio Endurance tags. (Lifestyle is light cardio, Performance is moderate cardio, and Training is heavy cardio).