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Successful support for your New Year exercise regime

Naturopath Elle Fox answers for CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine)

Whether you’re a couch potato who has decided you need a change, or a dedicated gym-goer, there’s something refreshingly challenging about a New Year exercise start. This quick reference will help support you:

Cute on carbs: important for sustained energy release, low GL carbs (legumes, wholegrains and fibre-rich fruit/veg) will keep you going without spiking insulin. Allow time for digestion before exercise.

Feast on fats: Omega-3s support regeneration of healthy muscle tissue and regulate inflammation. Fatty fish and fish oils, seeds, nuts and their oils are wonderful sources.

Mind your gut bacteria: what you eat will benefit you more. Exercise may temporarily depress immunity, and since most of our immunity sits in our gut, make sure you eat fermented foods (kefir, kombucha, miso, etc.) to help ward off opportunistic invaders.

Mighty magnesium: this muscle-relaxing mineral is used up faster during exercise and if you eat sugary foods. Magnesium supplements and Epsom salt baths can help.

Voracious on vegetables - especially the dark green leafy variety (spinach, kale), avocados, nuts, seeds, seafood and legumes. Energy production within the cells comes from magnesium working with B vitamins, B6, B9 and B12 in particular. Foods also rich in these are seafood, red meat and tofu. Opt for seasonal, locally-grown, locally-raised, grass-fed.

Power proteins: A protein-rich meal, especially combined with some carbs, taken 1/2hr-1hr after exercise can promote recovery and muscle regeneration.

Walk on water: Keep well hydrated with pure filtered water; steer clear of “energy drinks”.

Pacing yourself and resting are vital for good exercise recovery and faster benefits. Avoid overdoing exercise; have days off; be consistent in your regime. Use a magnesium spray topically after exercise.

Stock up on sleep: Sleep is important in recovery; switch off WiFi; aim for time off blue screens and away from all technology for at least 2hrs before bed.

CNM has a 22-year track record training students for successful careers in natural therapies, in class and online. Attend a FREE Open CNM Event in your area: Call 01 878 8060 or visit

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