By Cathleen London
Board Certified Family Physician and Triathlete
There is a more realistic way to stay calm and focused when you train or compete.
Top athletes understand that mental clarity and focus are essential to their performance. A split second loss of concentration can mean defeat or injury. And when it comes to natural alternatives for boosting alertness, there really is not a lot out there. Studies have shown that L-theanine, an ingredient found in green tea, can help you stay calm yet alert, which can be a competitive advantage for even weekend athletes. But you would have to drink as many as 20 cups of green tea in one sitting to get this benefit. Thank goodness there is a more practical solution!
L-theanine is an amino acid that causes alpha wave production, the same alpha waves you get when you meditate. Because products containing a proprietary form of L-theanine, called Suntheanine, promote the production of the brain’s alpha waves without the side effects of caffeine, I call them ‘meditation in a bottle’. Suntheanine, produced via a patented enzymatic process, does not make you drowsy as you might think meditation would.
My personal fitness story
I have personally overcome some of the most common excuses for being out of shape: having no time, inheriting so-called ‘fat genes. and dealing with weight gain due to pregnancy.
People talk about inheriting fat, and that is nonsense. Everyone in my family, except my parents, was huge and they suffered the resulting health complications. I have never been obese but I have been overweight. I decided to shock my body so that by my 45th birthday I would have the body I had before having children.
I joined a gym, and hired a personal trainer to keep me motivated. I did all the things I tell my patients to do. At one point my trainer suggested that I think about competing, and it got me thinking about taking my physical fitness to the next level. Short course triathlons made the most sense for me.
Now when patients tell me they have no time to work out, I do not buy it. I am a single mom, a full time physician and a triathlete. Since I started training, my patients tell me I look younger. I feel that way too. I like the example I am setting. The best part is that my patients are now coming in and telling me about their new fitness routines. I am not asking them to do triathlons, only that they do not give into excuses. I tell them the right exercise is the one that they can stick with.
The L-theanine advantage
People today deal with a lot of anxiety and stress. They are worried about paying the bills, staying healthy, keeping their kids safe… normal everyday stressors. Exercise is one key to dealing with stress, and I get a lot of great feedback from my patients about how Suntheanine helps them take the edge off and allows them to keep working out.
I do not know anyone who does not get nervous before a race. When you are training at a high level, there are very few differences in fitness levels among those who win and those who lose. Part of the winning edge is technique, but another important key is being able to think clearly, to breathe calmly and to remain focused. Suntheanine can be your secret competitive advantage – and it is completely safe.
I also make sure I get adequate hydration. Most people need hydration long before they notice they have become thirsty. I have seen people fall down from being dehydrated. To calculate your baseline needs, divide your body weight in half. That is how many ounces of water or liquids you should consume daily.
When you work out at the level that I do, it is also a stress on the body. Most triathletes do not have time to nap after a workout which would enable their bodies to recover, and so their immune systems become suppressed. That is why I also incorporate antioxidants into my workout recovery routine, including a high quality green tea extract or grapeseed extract, an all-natural tomato lycopene complex, and a natural hyaluronic acid for joint protection.
Because L-theanine has been shown to support the immune system, re-hydrating with one of the many recently released L-theanine containing beverages, such as all-natural Zenmaster, VitaminWater b-Relax or LifeWater Enlighten, is another great way to help the immune system bounce back
Biography – Cathleen London, M.D., P.C.
Cathleen London, M.D., is a board certified Family Medicine Physician. As such, her practice encompasses the entire family, including all ages, both sexes, and any health problems that may arise. Family Medicine is the only specialty that requires board recertification by written exam every seven years. As a result, many believe that Family Physicians are best qualified to serve as each patient’s advocate in all health-related matters, including use of consultants, health services, and community resources. Dr. London is on the clinical faculty of Boston University and Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. London is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine and Brown University.
Dr. London believes in a holistic, integrative approach to healthcare. She utilizes a combination of western medicine, allopathic medicine, diet and lifestyle modification, and herbal medicine when appropriate.