We recently had the pleasure of hosting world renowned Functional Medicine Practitioner and body transformation expert Christian Maurice for his 3 day Level one seminar. Needless to say, it was a fascinating 3 days packed full of cutting edge information and practical advice on how best to transform your body.
Although Christian is best known for his work personal training Hollywood actors and his dramatic body transformations (He once got an actor to lose 12.5kg in 2 weeks) Christian very much believes that robust good health is the cornerstone upon which all body transformation results are based. Like us here at CoActive he sees fat loss as a ‘side effect’ of being healthy. With this in mind, here a is a brief summary on some of the things we learned:
Digestion begins with the Cephatic phase
We know that good digestion is vital to good health yet most of us don’t realise that it starts even before we start eating. In fact, when we first see, smell and think about food this starts the production of saliva in the mouth and digestive juices in the stomach. Therefore, it is important that we make sufficient time for ourselves at meal times. Making the time to prepare and cook food yourself prior to eating is a great way of activating this phase of digestion.
It is important we eat in a relaxed state ( parasympathetic ) as this best allows us to rest and digest properly. In today’s busy world it is common to grab food ‘on the go’, eating whilst working, driving and even standing up. It is no wonder then that there is a prevalence of digestive issues, especially in stressed over worked individuals.
A good starting point to improve digestion at meal times is to take 5 deep diaphragmatic breaths prior to starting our meal. This will calm the body, lowering stress hormones and help us move into the parasympathetic state needed to digest properly. From here you should make a conscious effort to chew your food thoroughly taking plenty of breaks between mouthfuls. In an ideal world, you should take at least 20 minutes to eat a meal, however if this unrealistic initially aim for at least 10 minutes. Once you feel the benefits of slowing down its likely you’ll start to make more time for eating.
Finally, it is important not to drink too much water at meal times as this dilutes our stomach acid which hampers digestion. Although many of don’t drink enough, meal times are not the place to get you water quota up. Its best to hydrate between meals leaving at least 15 minutes either side.
A healthy gut is where good health begins
If you are suffering with any form of gastic distress from acid reflux to bloating or stomach cramps then you are putting the brakes on your progress in the gym. This is because an unhealthy gut leads to inflammation in the body and an activated immune system. An activated immune system has huge repercussions hormonally that ultimately puts us in a fat storing as opposed to fat burning sate.
For anyone experiencing any gut issues Christian is a big fan of the 4 R’s. Remove, Replace, Repair and Reinoculate – a method practiced widely in functional medicine.
Remove offending foods from your diet that might be causing you problems, common culprits are gluten, dairy, soy, corn and alcohol. A little known fact about gluten is that it causes Hypoperfusion – meaning reduced blood flow to brain. This is one of the reasons people can develop things like ‘brain fog’ and reduced short term memory if they are sensitive to gluten.
The best way to test whether you are being effected by food sensitivity is to do an elimination diet for 21 days, then to reintroduce suspected foods one at a time and monitor your bodies reaction.
Replace offending foods with single ingredient vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats. One of the main issues and causes of obesity is malnutrition. This seems very counter intuitive, however if your diet consists of processed food then it is unlikely you will be getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function optimally. It is also unlikely you will be getting the right balance of essential fats nor adequate quality protein. Therefore, you need to get back to nourishing and fuelling the body with nutrient dense foods.
Repair the damaged gut with supplements such as L Glutamine and zinc carnosine. The great thing about L Glutamine is that it’s an adaptogenic amino acid which means that the body can convert it into different substances depending on what it needs. It is the Primary fuel source for the intestinal mucosa, essentially it’s the bodies preferred building blocks for repairing the gut lining. You can find out more on the benefits of L Glutamine here in our article workout supplementation part 2.
Zinc carnosine is the chelation of the mineral zinc and the amino acid carnosine, together they work synergistically. If you chelate zinc with carnosine, the chelation slows down the absorption and elimination of zinc from the stomach. Zinc is then able to repair the stomach and intestinal tissue directly without irritating it. Zinc carnosine may be taken on an empty stomach at a dose of 75mg a day.
Reinoculate with good digestive enzymes and probiotics to help rebalance the gut microbiome. If we over consume certain foods and lets face it most of us are creatures of habit, the specific digestive enzymes used to digest these foods become depleted over time. If this continues it is possible to develop food intolerances. The best way to avoid this is to rotate your food and eat with the seasons. From here taking a course of digestive enzymes will help bring your digestion back into balance.
An interesting benefit to supplementing with digestive enzymes is that they can have a powerful effect on lowering inflammation in the body, this in turn can relieve joint pain, muscle soreness and even speed up healing from injuries. The best brand for this is Wobenzym, you can find out more here: http://trophicproducts.com/our-brands/wobenzym-n/
Taking a quality probiotic is the net step to reinoculating the gut with the right kind of bacteria. It is important that the probiotic you choose survives in human digestive tract, it adheres to human intestinal cells and colonises. It is also important to rotate the forms of probiotic you use so as not too over colonise a particular strain. All the brands we endorse here at CoActive for fill the above criteria.
It is only when our gut is functioning well can the body perform optimally.
Christian believes that we hugely underestimate the power of the mind when it comes to our health and body composition. An example of the power of the mind was demonstrated in a recent study on schizophrenia patients. The patients could completely change their bodies chemistry to match their different personalities, to the extent where the same person could change from being diabetic in one personality state to non-diabetic in another.
Christian taps into this power when he helps actors transform their bodies in very short time periods. He explains that actors have ‘a unique’ ability to change their body shape dramatically, they do this by becoming fully immersed into their roles and placing 100% faith in the process. When the same process is applied to other non actors it never seems to achieve quite the same dramatic results.
It is important we acknowledge that ultimately, we are all responsible for our actions and that any subsequent success or failure is down to us as individuals not a coach or trainer.
A good starting point for people who are either just starting out on a new health goal or perhaps have found themselves lapse from a prescribed plan is to ask the following 3 questions.
- Write down 5 reasons you are seeing a coach
- Write down 5 things that will happen if you fail to reach your goal
- Write down 5 things that will happen if you achieve your goal
By doing this simple exercise we can clarify exactly why we are pursuing a set path. Sometimes it can help us acknowledge that perhaps we are not ready to fully commit to a goal and therefore need to re assess. At other times, it can act as a kick start to making some great progress.
All meaningful goals will require that you leave your comfort zone, work hard and challenge yourself. To give yourself the best chance of achieving your goals you need to believe and trust in the process. This is best achieved under the guidance of great coaches who have a proven track record and who also make the time to talk through your goals and the process involved in reaching them. This is one of the many reasons why here at CoActive we place so much importance on having regular consultations with clients. So what are you waiting for, as Christian likes to say ‘there is no reaction to no action!’
To find out more about Christian Maurice and his functional medicine courses please visit: www.elementalworld.com
If you would like additional support with your health and fitness goals, don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below.