Sean McCawley, Fit for Life: Muscles and a balanced diet make a successful team | Health & Fitness

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The scales of deciding to indulge in decadent foods and maintaining a healthy functional body continue to be an act of checks and balances for society.

Humanity has developed an array of resources to acquire delicious food at our fingertips. As five o’clock p.m. hits, and we depart from our jobs or pick up our kids from soccer practice, a trip to the store to get some veggies and lean protein sounds laborious to most.

A simple act of tapping the Door Dash app icon on our phone to have a few sandwiches from our favorite burger joint delivered to our doorsteps sounds far more enticing. However, an issue arises with the convenience available on our high-powered two-by-four-inch computers nestled comfortably in our pockets and purses. We can enjoy, too much, a good thing without putting much effort into it.

We don’t need a news report or a peer-reviewed article to present mind-blowing data to understand that four to five days per week of ordering sandwiches from Door Dash cause a threat to our health.

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Foods such as burgers, burritos and a value meal at Panda Express should be considered a privilege as a reward for hard work, not an everyday function. If we click on the Door Dash icon as much as we click on our email app icon, there might be an issue with the number of decisions we make in consuming too much treat food over choosing optimal foods in our diets.

Maintaining a stable plan for consuming foods with a balanced amount of carbohydrates, fat, and protein can be a productive tactic to mitigate the harmful effects of consuming too many treat foods.

A helpful tactic we relay to our personal training clients is to try to have two healthy meals for every treat meal. For instance, if we have a long day and Door Dashing a burrito sounds irresistible that evening, perhaps we can match that decision to acquire take-out with two subsequent evenings of having a salad and a piece of fish or chicken for dinner. This way, our choices to eat healthy foods double our decisions to acquire treat foods.

Let’s not forget about the importance exercise offers to the scales of staying healthy versus overindulging.

Skeletal muscles are the muscles we exercise when we squat and perform push-ups or planks. These muscles utilize the substrates present in the food we eat to make our bodies move and reinforce their structure to hold them upright.

If we don’t feed these muscles with the fuel necessary to perform their functional purpose, they will operate akin to an airplane filled with regular automobile fuel. In other words, our muscles malfunction when we make suboptimal food choices. Therefore, understanding the components essential to the successful functioning of the muscles in our body is critically important.

A big part of the components for successful muscular function comes from our food choices. Luckily, foods that support the development of lean muscle mass are foods that don’t have a lot of processed, high glycemic index carbohydrates, or unhealthy fats.

If we overindulge, our muscles suffer. However, suppose we focus on eating foods containing raw ingredients, lack chemical processing or meals made at home.

In that case, we consume foods that absorb efficiently in our digestive tract, which fuel our muscles optimally, support the building of lean muscle, and decrease the degradation of muscle mass.

To help mitigate the effects of suboptimal substrates concentration in the body, ensuring exercise to the large muscles of the lower extremities, hips, chest, and shoulder blades of the body is essential.

As these muscles become stressed, their natural response is to absorb carbohydrates and proteins in the bloodstream to resynthesize the sites of the muscle cells stressed from exercise to become bigger and stronger.

The adaptation of muscle recovery allows the stressed muscles to match the demands imposed upon them from strenuous physical activity. Additionally, the more lean muscle mass present in the body, the higher likelihood of the muscles utilizing free floating fatty acids as a fuel source during a resting state.

However, we can’t feed these stressed muscles optimally if we consume foods that are complicated for our bodies to break down. In other words, that favorite burger with that buttery and fluffy brioche bun, ooey-gooey Vermont cheddar cheese and unctuous grass-fed Kobe beef burger won’t necessarily feed our muscles in a way our body can easily process if consumed four to five times per week. I’m sure we can imagine where the calories present in the burger might go as it passes our muscles faster than an airplane getting ready for take-off.

Napa has some of the best food options, if not the best, available when ordering take-out. We’re blessed to be immersed in such a thriving culinary culture. However, by understanding that balancing these scenarios with nights of healthy eating and routine exercise, we can mitigate the effects of metabolic disease, contribute to the prevention of cardio arterial disease, and stave off obesity while living happy, healthy and vital lives.

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Sean McCawley, the founder and owner of Napa Tenacious Fitness in Napa, welcomes questions and comments. Reach him at 707-287-2727, [email protected], or visit the website

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