Really? Can there be such a thing? Detox these days can be synonymous with a juice cleanse, while high in micronutrients can lack basic macros and run as low as 600 calories a day. That’s not nearly enough nutrition for a body at rest, let alone an athlete?
So what do those of us who really love being active do when we want to detox? When we’ve gone overboard with retox and simply want to hit the reset button? Or how about when you’re gearing up for a race or an event that you’ve been training for and are looking to super charge health and take off a few pounds before the big day?
If you follow me, you may know I’ve been in taper for 2 weeks which has been full of lots of sleeping, light running, eating my face off, mysterious hip pain and just a few taper tantrums. It hasn’t been ideal, but I knew what to expect when I sat down to record my Marathon Taper Tips post a few weeks ago. I’m glad I have experience on my side here, otherwise I’d really be a mess. Now I sit a mere 5 days from race day and I’ve loaded the fridge with my “detox” necessities and am getting reved up and ready to go.
What is the Athlete’s Detox?
This would be a plan that contained sufficient macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates, including fiber), micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals) and energy to fuel and repair your body properly but still allowed you to clean out the junk and ideally drop some weight before an event or to propel your training. When you have a friend who goes on a juice cleanse and says feels great, she’s probably not lying. It’s challenging, but it can be done. I’ve tried myself, but I found it too difficult. I was dizzy, lethargic and had to put any and all training on hold. A bit counterintuitive for an avid marathon runner.
As a fan of boosting health through quality foods such as raw juices and smoothies, I figured there had to be a way to get the best of both worlds. The phytochemical-super charge but without hindering my training. I developed a 3-Day Detox plan that is full of raw juices, protein shakes and blended vegetable soups. Depending on the recipes you choose, the plan can be very low calorie (close to 900 I think) or fairly decent (as high as 1500-1700). It will also include 70g of protein, 30g of fiber and a good amount of healthy fat to keep you satiated — making this a good plan for athletes.
Benefits of Detoxing for Athletes
If you think of your body as a machine, which it essentially is, it’s like bringing your car into the shop for a tune up. Like you’re topping off the fluids and cleaning out/dusting off the engine a bit. Changing the oil, getting the crusty old stuff out and filling it with fresh clean, highly usable material. I’ll keep this as simple as possible, because that’s what I like to do. Ha!
But eliminating potential toxins like processed sugars, gluten, dairy and alcohol does give your body a bit of a rest. When you eat food in it’s simplest form, it’s easier for your body to know what to do with it. The recipes in my 3-Day Detox plan include foods in a closer state to nature that your average daily diet. Then they are pulverized and liquified so your body has less work to do to yank out the nutrition it needs to function. When your body does not need to do all that work to break complicated stuff down, it can do other things…like repair muscle, tissue, fight disease and build radiance.
The plan also has you drinking a ton of water, which as you know, we can all stand to perform better if we focus on proper hydration. Dehydrating is a chronic state and comes into play over time, not in one event or day. Taking three days to track your water consumption can help build that regular, better habit of drinking more water, more often. And with lemon too, for an alkalizing affect.
Can you Still Exercise on the 3-Day Athlete’s Detox?
I’ve done this plan a dozen times and always find great success by way of energy and slimming down. You can see from the nutrition information above, there is enough energy in here to sustain a recreational activity level. I would however, not expect peak performance. This is a good plan for a back down week in your training cycle when your activity load is lighter or in my case now, taper. On the flip side, I’ve heard from clients who have had strong runs and their fitness was not interrupted at all, in fact improved. The short answer is, as always, it will be different for everyone, and I always error on the side of caution.
What is included in the 3-Day Athlete’s Detox?
The plan includes three raw juices per day. I recommend carrot in the morning because it’s higher in sugar and can be a great way to power up a morning workout. Beet juice in the afternoon and green juice in the evening. Raw juices are like alkalizing power houses. Super easy for your body to absorb and put to work. They contain some sugar for energy and are incredibly nutritionally dense.
The plan also has 2-3 protein smoothies per day made with fresh or frozen fruit, some heathy fat and a protein powder of your choice. If you’re eliminating dairy, I’d suggest a plant based protein powder which often offers other functional benefits. These smoothies, in addition to the vitamin, mineral, phytochemical power from the fruits, will be filling and provide roughly 20g of protein per serving (depending on your protein powder). Depending on your choices, will also provide satiation if you choose a high fat smoothie. Let’s not forget they are delicious.
Lastly, I included roasted vegetable soups. They are super-uber low calorie and high in fiber. I have a problem with being overly hungry and these soups, while still very low calorie are very filling. Again, in addition to the vitamin, mineral, phytochemical power from the veggies, you’re full from the fiber and there is just something so satisfying about a warm cup of creamy delicious soup. You can have as much as you want throughout your detox so you shouldn’t feel deprived.
A sample day in the life of the 3-Day Athlete’s Detox
Of course you don’t have to follow this schedule, but I do like the idea of getting something down every hour. The plan includes a printable tracker for you to plan and track as you go. It’s also fun to record your weight 🙂
- 6:00am: Fresh Detox Juice
- 7:00am: Yoga + 1/2 L Water
- 8:00am: Protein Smoothie
- 9:00am: 1/2 L Water
- 10:00am: Fresh Detox Juice
- 11:00am: 1/2 L Water
- 12:00pm: Pureed Vegetable Soup
- 1:00pm: 1/2 L Water
- 2:00pm: Fresh Detox Juice
- 3:00pm: 1/2 L Water
- 4:00pm: Protein Smoothie
- 5:00pm: 1/2 L Water
- 6:00pm: Cardio + 1/2 L Water
- 7:00pm: Protein Smoothie
- 8:00pm: 1/2 L Water
- 9:00pm: Super Dieters Tea
My Detox Plan in Summary for this Marathon
Because this race is a really big deal to me, I want to be in my best condition on Sunday. I don’t expect to lose 7 pounds before then (I’ve lost that much on this plan before, crazy, I know) but I do want to feel light on my feet and supercharged with natural power. I’ve just loaded the fridge with green juice ingredients, I’m roasting sweet potatoes for soup and am all set with frozen berries and bananas and a delicious plant based protein for smoothies.
It’s possible I’ll deviate a bit and have some black bean and quinoa spinach salad…we’ll see. I also cut out caffeine five weeks ago so I can have it race morning and be super charged. I’ve been pretty light on the booze for the past few weeks and will have one week 100% sober and that will last exactly until I cross that finish line Sunday morning…
How to get your hands on the 3-Day Athlete’s Detox Plan
Everybody is so different, but I have had this plan available for over a year now and have had really great reviews from people of all levels of activity. You can follow it to a tee, but I suggest taking it as a good baseline and using the information and recipes to best suit your personal needs. As an athlete, you are better in tune with your body than the average bear, so you should be equipped to make personalization calls as needed. The full plan includes recipes for the juices, smoothies, and soups, the tracker, a detailed program guide and daily coaching for each day of your program. It can be a great tool to get re-charged and refocused. If you give it a shot, you’ll have to let me know! Get all the details here.
I am so excited for this race I can hardly stand it. I’ll post a Ventura Marathon race recap next Friday with all the dirty details. Wish me luck and let’s home for a little race day, marathon magic!