Is it time to clean the filters?

When Shawn McClendon recently interviewed eight-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney, left, one of the things they discussed was the importance of detoxification.
When Shawn McClendon recently interviewed eight-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney, left, one of the things they discussed was the importance of detoxification.

Just recently, I had the opportunity to interview legendary bodybuilder Lee Haney for my health/fitness podcast. Lee Haney is known for winning the Mr. Olympia competition eight consecutive times between 1984 and 1991, beating Arnold Schwarzenegger’s record of seven, and setting a world record that has only been matched and never beaten. It was a great interview that I’d encourage you to listen to sometime.

Anyhow, amongst the plethora of great stuff that we discussed, Lee talked about something that I thought would be really good to bring to you right now, especially with the holiday season looming. That topic was the topic of detoxification.

I’m sure that you most likely know something about detoxification already. For those who don’t know, detoxification is the process by which your body is allowed to rid itself of toxins that have accumulated in your bodily tissues over time. Detoxification helps to prevent disease, as well as to increase one’s energy levels.

Your body is enabled to enter this state of detoxification particularly when your digestive system is given a chance to rest. When we digest the food we eat, it takes a lot of energy to do so. Therefore, when you either limit what you’re eating for a time to easily digestible and nutritious foods such as vegetables and fruits, or you consume only vegetable juices and/or water for a time (known as fasting), your body is able to enter the detoxification state, giving your insides a good scrub down.

Now, say that you’re a person who has never fasted before. You can’t fathom the thought of going without foods for a couple of days, and as a matter of fact, you almost stopped reading this article at the suggestion of such a thing. First of all, I feel you. Fasting can be a daunting concept for the uninitiated. However, I assure you that you can actually go without food for a few days (or without at least choice foods) with no adverse effects. You definitely want to check with your doctor first, but what you will find is, when fasting for detox purposes, it is initially hard, but later it becomes easy and even fun when you feel the benefits.

For those who know about detoxing, my question to you is, when is the last time you did a fast? When is the last time you took one to a few days to give your digestive system a rest and your body a chance to clean itself out? In another podcast interview I did of Hayden Foster of Natural Therapies in Warner Robins, he mentioned how, in times past, people would fast at the turn of each season. Perhaps when winter begins this year, you could consider a time of detoxification. It wouldn’t hurt, especially considering the holiday season, you know.

Before I conclude this column, I want to leave you with one more particularly interesting thing that Lee said during our interview. He mentioned that, if we are in great need of detoxification, it could be that our bodies are so clogged with toxins that, even if we eat healthily for the most part, our bodies are unable to assimilate all of the nutrients that we’re eating. That’s something to consider. If you’re eating healthily for the most part, be sure to make times of detoxification part of your healthy living practice so that you can ensure that all of your efforts count. And in case you forgot, remember to always check with your doctor before you engage in a detox.

So, who’s going to join me to do a beginning of winter detox? If you are, I’d love to hear from you.

Macon resident Shawn McClendon is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, podcast host and owner of the health/fitness blog E-mail him with your questions at or at @ShawnB2B on Facebook.