Stay healthy to benefit your poker game: Quads or 6-pack?

I am going to be honest with YOU and tell you that AS A FITNESS TRAINER AND NUTRITIONIST I REALLY
Let’s be true to ourselves and admit it, nobody likes eating what experts consider healthy to modern trends, nobody likes going to the gym and working your ass off and getting home to an empty table, so that you have to prepare your dinner and then go to bed early so you can get those growth hormones pumping, nobody likes the muscle soreness that you get from those darned deadlifts. You know what? I hate it even more when I look at myself in the mirror and see that I’m losing muscle, my health is on the rocks, my doctor is telling me that my cholesterol level is up and if I keep my blood sugar, in a few years I will probably get diabetes(which let me tell you is not that good, there is no cure for that and in time will mess up your internal organs).
I think I started off too strong but that is the truth, we are living in a era where we must take care of ourselves and our family and the way to do it is through healthy eating and fitness.
I’m not interested in what my credentials are, although I’ve been a personal instructor and fitness trainer for more than a decade, I only care if you learn something from here and start doing more!

So how does all of this relate to poker? Well all the people I talk to, tell me this: to be a successful poker player you need discipline, you need to know when to fold, when to call, to calculate pot odds, hand equity, when to go up in limits and vice versa etc.
Well……it’s the same thing in eating and fitness, you need to know what to eat, when to go up in weights at the gym, when to not push yourself so you don t get injured, in some ways it’s a lot tougher than poker, because this is about your future! You can always give up on poker and start working at KFC or McD, but you’ll always have to worry about your physical condition and your health especially when over 30 years old for men and starting with 35 for women(it’s a bit more complicated here, doctor check-ups every 6 months).
First off I’m going to start with the amateurs and semi-pros out there in the poker world, you need to make time to go to the gym or even if it’s just home workout, all you need are a few dumbbells and you can get that heart rate up and that metabolism going! Let me give you some tips:
1.Start introducing Omega 3(yeah those fatty little acids or polyunsaturated fat) in moderation, and replace the saturated fat and trans fat. Flax seed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts,walnuts.
2.Say hello to your best friend :DRUM ROLLS: THE AVOCADO! This guy has 0 cholesterol and has 0.7 sugar! You can t beat this and it goes well with anything as long as you add some lime or lemon.
3.Eat your breakfast! Never skip this meal,studies have shown that people who eat breakfast have more energy throughout the day. It provides your body with “fuel” after the night-time fasting and it keeps your body from burning your muscle for energy during your physical activity. It is very important to avoid sugar infested cereals and pastries in the morning, better include rich protein foods in your diet like eggs, nuts and Greek yogurt.
4.Start working out! Yeah, this is where the fun begins…Don t start going directly 5 times a week to the gym! I know some of you are very motivated but we need to start slowly and make sure we actually DO NOT GIVE UP. Do it progressively once or twice a week at first and then go more(just like you are playing nl2 and want to go up to nl5, step by step)
5.Make sure you get enough sleep, this does not apply to fitness but also to poker, you’ll be surprised by the results! Doctors recommend 7-8 hours of sleep, otherwise sleep deprivation triggers high levels of Ghrelin which is the “hunger” hormone that drives you to crave sugar and refined carbs, also sleep deprivation tends to promote insulin resistance which can lead to a slow metabolism.

Here is one of my favorite recipes for the morning. Mix everything and then blend:
2 tbsp black sesame
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
5-10 nuts
a few blueberries
200 ml almond milk
cinnamon(a little bit)
Enjoy, it’s quite tasty!

All fine and well but how does all this  relate to poker? Well it does, you could be a poker player, an astronaut, a school teacher etc. It doesn’t really matter, you need to take pay close attention to yourself and to your body.
Daniel Negreanu, one the worlds most successful players is at the moment training 4 times a week, and why you ask? Because he realized that he is more focused at the tables, energetic, and this is only one of the weapons in his vast arsenal of tricks.
When you work out, your body does some strange “voodoo” which can help and improve your everyday activities!
Number one on the voodoo list are Endorphins, these chemicals are released by your pituitary gland, they make you feel exhilarated and happy and block stress and pain(remember coolers).
Number two on the list is Dopamine, also a pleasure chemical that is obtained by working out and by fast eating. People with dopamine receptor deficiency are more prone to weigh gain, because they tend to eat a lot more quickly to raise dopamine levels.
Number three on the list is Serotonin, a chemical responsible for happiness, restful sleep, and a healthy appetite, serotonin levels will increase if you work out regularly. Serotonin works with Endorphins to make working out a pleasurable activity. In addition, more serotonin means more energy and clearer thinking.

There are more, but for now I hope I have convinced you that working out is so important for any poker player!
We all have those days at the table, when you can’t win a hand, or you get coolered. This does not mean you need to take it out on your body, pump that coke and pizza or grab a quick sandwich to get that blood sugar hype you so desperately need, even I know that the table will be there tomorrow or later, why not hit the gym or make my food for later, there are tons of options, work for yourself, for your health, work like you’d work for that extra 2bb/100.

I have tried to keep this as simple and direct as possible, anyone can work out, anyone can have a healthy life style and also the six-pack isn’t made in the gym, it’s made in the kitchen.


Cheers and until next time!


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