Of all the tips I regularly give my clients to maximize their success, the one that most often leads to surprised faces is this
Don't chew gum.
Chewing gum can temporarily increase mental performance. However, constant chewing of gum will result in:
1. Neurochemical Response – Whether or not the chewing gum is sugar free, it affects blood sugar levels and the hormones that regulate them, such as insulin and cortisol. As the? The sweet taste is crucial. What occurs is a neurochemical reaction. We taste sweet. Our brain then prepares the body for sugar to reach the stomach, intestines and then the blood. Tasting sugar has less of an impact than actually eating sugar, but it's not negligible in my experience. From an empirical point of view, however, tasting sweet is often enough to slow down progress in fat loss, especially in the hip and abdominal areas (side note: the same applies to diet/zero drinks. They can be shown to increase body fat percentage as well as abdominal and hip folds. Click here for the study )
2. Activation of the digestive tract - The sweet taste and chewing stimulate the flow of saliva. This is the first step of our digestive system. Stimulating digestion has an effect on our autonomic nervous system. It lowers the sympathetic nervous system and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, ie. it shuts down the system and relaxes us. Like the standby mode on the computer. Everyone knows after a bigger lunch and the following energy hole. Relaxation is important, especially in the evening. However, it limits performance, especially during the day and before and during training sessions.
3. Bonding and Tension in the Jaw Muscles - Constant chewing also creates bonding and tension in the jaw muscles, particularly in the masseter, pterygoids, and temporalis. Adhesions and tension in the muscles can lead not only to attention and concentration deficits, migraines and sleep disorders, but also to reduced physical performance. dr George Goodheart, an American chiropractor who defined the field of "Applied Kinesiology" over 50 years ago, made, among other things, a neurological connection between muscle performance of the jaw and hip muscles, ie. the more tension in the jaw area, the more tension in the hip area, since the nervous system controls these two areas in part in a coupled manner. Since the muscles of the hip play a major role in strength training (particularly the legs and lower back) and in all sports that involve walking, running, and sprinting, constant chewing of gum along the way can decrease performance and increase the likelihood of injury.
Bottom line: don't chew gum.
It's the little things that often make the difference...