Dynamic Fitness HPK: Fitness Tip of the Week – Tryptophan is not the enemy

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This week’s Dynamic Fitness “Tip of the Week” comes from trainers Kevin Duenas and Brian Richardson, who said there is a way to stay awake during the Thanksgiving holiday. JP Raineri photo

Thanksgiving is upon us. It’s a great time to reflect, relax, spend time with loved ones and eat together. Tryptophan has always been associated with turkey and is the reason people feel tired, sluggish and sleepy.

What is tryptophan?

L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the human body cannot produce; therefore, food sources must supply tryptophan. Tryptophan can be converted to serotonin, which improves relaxation and mood. The acid is consumed any time people eat meat, yet it is only associated with turkey day.

That’s only a half-truth. The real problem with tryptophan stems from the amount of food people eat on Thanksgiving Day. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average Thanksgiving meal caloric intake is 3,150 total calories and 159 grams of fat. Mashed potatoes and gravy, yams and marshmallows, crispy green beans, macaroni and cheese, turkey stuffing, bread and all the pie they can eat make up the typical American Thanksgiving feast. The explosion of carbohydrate rich foods increases blood sugar, also known as the sugar high, which forces the body to release insulin. The release of insulin also increases serotonin levels which brings the body back down to a very relaxed state.

The best way to combat this sluggish feeling is to consume smaller portions over a longer period. Many people know they will be going back for seconds and thirds – and fourths for some people – try to spread those servings out a little longer. Now you can enjoy the holiday…awake.

The trainers at Dynamic Fitness High Performance Kinesiology are movement experts who bridge the gap between science and training. They use biomechanics and applied kinesiology in everything they do with fitness, post-rehab and athlete clients. For more information visit them at www.dfperformance.net or find them on Facebook at DynamicFitnessHPK and on Instagram at @dynamicfitnesshpk.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.