Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Best Workout Recovery Drinks

Actually, we recently hosted our monthly wine tasting group event. Knowing what was in store for the evening (not only wine, but bread, cheese, and dessert), I made it a point to fit it a good, long cardio workout (60 min hard effort) that I finished about an hour before everyone arrived. I lose about 4 lbs from a workout like that. I thought I had rehydrated, but obviously not quickly enough. I haven't had alcohol affect me that quickly since I was back in 8th grade. Chocolate milk is the best. I know there will probably be some skeptics out there. However, if you Google chocolate milk for workout recovery, you will see tons of studies done on it. It has got the protein you need and the simple carbs you need after a workout. The perfect protein to carb ratio. I have a problem with anything being called 'the best'. The best recovery drink after a 10 mile run is different than the best recovery drink after a max effort squat session. The optimal protein-carb ratio depends on the type or workout and probably the person doing the workout (not to mention the protein to carb ratio of chocolate milk varies quite a bit between brands). In general, the 'experts' recommend recovery drinks with protein and simple carbs, the ratio they should be varies between 1:1 and 1:4 (protein:carb) and maybe even higher depending on who you ask. Chocolate milk works just fine, it's cheap and available, but it doesn't travel very well. If you want to make a shake with protein powder you buy at GNC that'll probably work just as well (people can argue about optimization all day long but for the vast majority of trainees it won't make any sort of noticable difference) if you add some simple carbs - gatorade powder is an easy choice, some crackers along with you shake would also work. Best for Long-Distance Events: Cherry juice How it works: Scientists suspect antioxidants are the key to limiting the inflammation and muscle damage after a half-marathon or other endurance event, and tart cherries are considered one of the most antioxidant-dense super fruits. Athletes have found it’s best to start “recovery” work a week early, and a number of studies, including a recent one from the UK, have found that regular consumption of tart cherry juice before and after a grueling workout will help your body fight off some of the wear and tear and your strength return more quickly. Recovery Rx: Drink two glasses a day for the 5 days before event, on the big day, and on the next day. THE GULP: ReddRox ($2 each, THE CLAIM: Rooibos, a plant popular in tea form, revs your performance. PROS: The journal of the American Botanical Council reports that rooibos may help replenish the electrolytes you sweat out. And after a 30-minute jog, we banged out a few sets of sprints. CONS: It errs on the side of bland. GRADE: B+ THE GULP: Function Alternative Energy ($1.80 each, THE CLAIM: Green tea extract boosts metabolism, while guarana and yerba maté up endurance. PROS: There's evidence that the herbs also curb appetite, and the caffeine gave us a jumpstart. CONS: "The doses are too small to be effective," says pharmaceutical chemist Shane Ellison. GRADE: C+

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