In order to have a quality training or to have good competition efficiency, nutrition is just as important as exercising. However, the digestion times will differ based on the ingredients of our foods. For example, meat is one of the hardest foods to digest and if the fat content is high, the digestion time will be longer. Training can be done 2,5 hours after a carbohydrate-rich meal. The amount of food taken is also very important. If you eat excessive amounts, the digestion period will naturally increase. The availability of blood sugar by our muscles is as important as our muscle glycogen stores (storage of carbohydrates in our muscles and liver). Because our skeletal muscles spend carbohydrates for energy production, they prefer to use 1/3 muscle glycogen and 2/3 blood sugar (glucose). High amount of carbohydrate (especially sugary foods with a high rate of admixture into the blood) taken 40-45 minutes prior to the competition, will increase the blood sugar rapidly and immediately increase the insulin secretion which leads to rapid decrease of blood sugar. This ultimately compromises competition performance. During exercise, our muscles’ oxygen demand increases 10-12 times compared to resting state. In the meantime, vessels to our organs such as our digestive organs that require relatively less oxygen and energy than our working muscles, shrink. Vessels to the muscles expand, and so the blood circulation at that time is in our muscles where it needs to be. (Note: the blood flow to the brain tissue does not change, it always draws and uses 750ml./min blood even in high intensity and extensive exercises). In the case of a full stomach, the opposite will occur and the blood distribution will be higher in the digestive organs in need. If we start to exercise with a full stomach, the existing blood will be difficult to reach both regions and the spleen will shrink while circulating its own blood to make up for the deficit. This will cause us to feel pain under our ribs after some time after starting to exercise with a full stomach. Our internal organs, such as the stomach and intestines, are attached to the posterior wall of the abdomen with a sling from the connective tissue called mesenterium. After eating or after drinking too much water, the full stomach that moves inside while running can put pressure on this strap and organs, making us feel pain in larger areas. This is commonly referred to as spleen swelling.
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