Weight lifters in particular often have problems with constipation. They often eat too much, eat too little, lack variety in their diet, or sometimes avoid any number of foods or even food groups that might otherwise ensure regularity.
Clearly, constipation is uncomfortable and it's not healthy. Constipation even killed Elvis Presley, who died while straining on the toilet. (According to science writer Mary Roach, the autopsy revealed that Presley had an enlarged "megacolon" that was horribly impacted with claylike material from a barium X-ray he'd undergone 4 months prior to his death.)
While Elvis' fate was an anomaly, it's a good idea to fast-track your feces by taking control of your colonic fate. You must, of course, eat adequate amounts of fiber every day. This means partaking of as many of the following types of food as possible:
- Whole Grains
- Legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
You might also make two to three daily teaspoons of Metamucil as part of your healthy bowels campaign.
Shortcuts to the Bathroom
For truly lazy or time-challenged people who can't easily eat lots of fiber throughout the day, I offer the following shortcuts:
- Drink 16-20 ounces of water upon waking. This triggers what's known as the "gastrocolic reflex," which is the signal your body sends to the intestines to man the lifeboats and evacuate.
- Eat 3 to 4 prunes as a mid-day, between-meal snack. They have lots of insoluble fiber, but they also contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that acts as a laxative. They also contain chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids, which are the same chemicals that often cause you to go to the bathroom after your morning coffee.
- Drink a large cup of coffee in the morning. See above.
- Eat two large leaves of Romaine lettuce every day. They contain fiber, but other than that I have no scientific evidence that this technique has any special merits. I learned about it from a competitive bodybuilder in the 90's. He never won any championships, but by God the man could poop.