Should you start your new year with a January detox?

“New year, new you.” January detoxes are all the rage right now and a lot of newspaper articles and websites are extolling the virtues of juice cleanses and other diets purported to help you get your new year off to a healthy start. But what’s the science behind them, and what’s the best way to take part in a January detox without negatively impacting your performance?

Lots of detoxes promise you that you can wash away the calorific sins you’ve committed over the holidays and flush out all of the toxins in your body by switching to an extreme diet for a short time. Some even go as far as saying that detoxes can help prevent disease. The problem with these claims is that if toxins really did build up in your body in this way you’d likely be in need of serious medical attention - your kidneys, your liver, even your lungs and your skin are all helping to detoxify your body right now.

If you go on a week long juice cleanse you might lose weight, but this is because you’re not eating, not because you’ve flushed toxins out of your body. If you aren’t getting the calories you need then your body will start burning through the stores of glycogen in your muscles for energy and once those are depleted it might start breaking down muscle tissue. Obviously this isn’t ideal if your main aim is to put on some lean muscle mass and compete!

While the fad diets might do you more harm than good, there’s still a lot to be said for starting your year off in a healthy way. Instead of worrying about cleansing your body, there are some ways you can ‘detox’ this January with a healthy diet.

One of the best things ways that you can improve your diet and increase your performance is to incorporate more foods and supplements that increase your immune function. Try to make sure that you’re getting plenty of whole-grain carbs, lean proteins, and lots and lots of leafy vegetables. Along with some quality amino acid supplements this kind of a diet will go a long way towards you starting your new year off in a healthier, stronger way.

Making sure you’re recovering in the right way is also a big part of healthily improving your performance. For the best results, consuming something high in protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of finishing bouts of high-intensity exercise such as a whey protein shake will help reduce muscle soreness and aid recovery. Try to keep yourself well hydrated with lots of water and electrolyte drinks, and eat something high in protein like an egg sandwich within an hour of finishing your training. Again, amino acid supplements are also great at helping you boost your recovery. If you don’t have one already, devising your own post-exercise routine and making sure you follow it religiously is one of the best things you can do to kick off your new year.

Snacking is a great way to keep your calorie intake up, so instead of being tempted to cut out snacks as part of a January detox it would be much better to make sure that you’re snacking right. Replace crisps and chocolate with nuts and fresh fruit, and if you need something sweet then AMSport have plenty of tasty alternatives that won’t break your new diet.

Wanting to start your new year of in a healthy way is commendable, but following a January detox from a tabloid or trying a juice cleanse will hurt your performance a lot more than it helps. Instead, if you can get into the habit of eating better and using the right supplements this January, then you’ll be on track to make 2018 your best year yet.

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