Working Out On A Juice Cleanse: Is It Safe?
Juice cleansing is said to have many health benefits including increased energy, clearer skin, improved immune function and the list goes on. But is it right for everyone? As someone who typically eats healthy and works out a lot, I am a fan of juice cleanses. Sure, they are tough to get through- not eating for days at a time hits you hard, but in the end you feel clean and light. I’m currently training for my 4th triathlon (which is in about 6 weeks) and I was curious if I could do a juice cleanse while keeping up with my normal training schedule.
My friends at Liquiteria were nice enough to send me their 3-day cleanse to try out as I train (I recommend the Level 1 Cleanse).
The first day is tough. You’re used to waking up and eating a meal, but instead you have to drink a green juice, which actually isn’t so bad. When deciding which cleanse you want to do, I recommend opting for one that incorporates fruit into the green juice; it makes it sweeter and easier to get through. While doing a juice cleanse I actually don’t get overly hungry. Six juices a day is a lot when you break it down to having one every 2 hours. They take some time to drink, plus you should hydrate with tons of water in between. As someone who often snacks out of boredom, these juices kept me going throughout the day.
By the evening of each day I was pretty low on energy. On day 2 I had a 6-mile training run (in 82 degree heat) and my energy was at an all time low. I was nervous I wouldn't be able to keep up on the run and made a slight adjustment to my pre-run juice; I put it in a blender with half a banana, a few blueberries and a couple chunks of mango. While this wasn’t a huge energy burst, it did help me get through my run successfully.
If you’re like me and you’re very active while cleansing, don’t be afraid to make adjustments. Add some fruit in, eat some raw almonds or avocado and give yourself whatever boost you need. Don’t worry about reverse the work you already put in, just make sure whatever you supplement with is healthy and natural.
By Day 3 I was ready for the cleanse to end. I wasn't extremely hungry or tempted by the people eating around me, but I was craving something besides green juice. That night I had a big work out (a 1 hour conditioning class at Circuit of Change followed by a 1 hour swim) so I made sure to allow a few cheats before my evening workouts began. I had a few pieces of dried mango and peach (no sugar added) and some raw almonds.
When you’re coming off the cleanse, make sure to eat clean, healthy foods. You don’t want to rush off and eat a burger; think about healthy and light options to ease yourself back into your eating routine.
Cleanses are great if you already a pretty healthy eater and you’re looking for a little reset. If you aren’t ready to jump into a 3-day cleanse, you can start with a 1 day cleanse and see how it goes. If you’re feeling good by the end of the day, maybe next time opt for a longer version. If you can’t shell out the money for a cleanse, you can also create your own juice cleanse by visiting juice bars or investing in a juicer. If you are super active I recommend doing a green juice as your morning breakfast, and then switching to food, or doing a juice-till-dinner plan where you juice throughout the day but have a real meal for dinner.
It’s really important when you are on a juice cleanse to know your limits and your body. If you are feeling weak and light-headed, don’t be opposed to adding in some solid food. At first I was set on sticking to just the juices and allowing no cheats, but I listened to my body (and looked at my training schedule) and made adjustments where needed.
Juicing for days at a time may not be for everyone, but incorporating a few green juices into your routine is a healthy way to get bonus servings of veggies into your day (keep in mind that pressing vegetables removes fiber so you aren't getting any from the juices but you are getting nutrients). The most important takeaway from a juice cleanse is listen to your body and make healthy choices that work for you.