"Corporate athlete” is a buzz phrase for Pure Sports Medicine dietician Linia Patel.
That’s because Wharfers and sporting superstars might lead lives more similar than it first appears.
Pure Sports at Cabot Place, hosted seminar High Performance Living: The Key To Success to pinpoint practices used by elite athletes that could be mirrored in the everyday lives of office workers.
Linia said everyone needed a certain amount of pressure to perform to optimum levels. But she highlighted a problem with “modern society”, with many so stressed they couldn’t function properly.
“In terms of sport, it’s a fine line – you overload to a point so you can perform. We started seeing a similar analogy between sportspeople and their stress reactions and corporate athletes who are burning the candle at both ends and doing things like triathlons, which add more stress,” said Linia.
Cortisol is the factor, she said. It’s a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland which, ordinarily, is released in the morning and slowly as the day goes on to a point where levels in the evening are very low.
But if the body’s producing too much it increases protein breakdown – causing muscle waste, stimulating appetite for high sugar and high fat foods and altering the body’s fat distribution.
Linia said a good breakfast was essential to reduce stress as hunger can keep cortisol levels high throughout the day.
She also said a lunch and dinner and two snacks – such as the fibrous carb of an apple with protein-filled nuts – maintain balance.
“When you’re going through stress overload it’s about maximising the opportunities for blood sugar levels, and blood sugar levels drop in the afternoon,” she added.
Sport: Used as a stimulant to increase muscle contraction and concentration.
Health: A safe intake level is measured at 400mg each day. A grande latte at Cafe Nero contains 120mg of caffeine while a Starbucks Venti latte has 225mg.
Office: Pure Sports’ Dr James Thing said: “If you think you’re drinking too much wean yourself off gradually – there’s no point going cold turkey – as you know it’s not going to go well.”
Sport: Essential for recovery, avoiding burn out and planning training sessions.
Health: Sleep loss in medical terms is getting less than seven hours a night with less than five hours creating significant health problems.
Office: Avoid alcohol, caffeine and food immediately before bed and ensure there is a dark and quiet environment.
HYDRATION AND ALCOHOL
Sport: Hydration is key to aerobic endurance and performance. Alcohol helps with team-building.
Health: Two litres of water a day is the average – and those who are hydrated perform better and quicker than those dehydrated.
Office: Drink water throughout the day. With alcohol, assess your relationship with the hard stuff. Have you ever had an “eye opener” moment?
LOAD MANAGEMENT & FATIGUE
Sport: The average Premiership midfielder runs seven miles a game.
Health: Overloading can cause chronic fatigue and reduction in overall performance.
Office: Dr Thing said: “It’s important to be able to identify times when we feel our body is overtraining. The key is having your own barometer, knowing when you feel stressed and overloaded and knowing what you can do to relax. That might mean taking a break at work every 45 minutes to unwind.”
Go to puresportsmed.com.