Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Recovery drink

When I returned from India, I could bench press 40kg for 10 reps. For the next 3 months, the result varied between 6 and 12 reps. Then I bought a weightlifting book. The diet advice in it restored slow but steady progress.

My most important new habit was recovery drink. It contains juice and whey protein, and is based on the following advice from my weightlifting book. I drink half of it before exercise and the other half after exercise.

Whether it is Gatorade or orange juice, active people have been fuelling their workouts with carbohydrates [my take: juice is just fine, I prefer it to gatorade since it contains unresearched good stuff]. Carbohydrate consumption before, during and after your workouts is very important as these carbohydrates will help blunt cortisol release, stimulate insulin release, and replenish your muscle glycogen stores so that your body is ready to go for its next training session.

While consuming carbohydrates is better than just drinking water, new sprots nutrition research consistently shows that adding a small amount of protein or amino acids (the molecules that make up protein) to your workout drink will make a huge difference in your progress. A recent study examined the effects of a carbohydrate workout drink vs. carbohydrates + amino acid drink over the course of a 12-week training period. At the end of 12 weeks, both groups lost approximately 4 pounds of body fat. However, the carbohydrates + amino acid group gained 5 pounds more muscle (for a total of more than 9 pounds) than the carbohydrate group.

Recovery drink also abolished reckless hunger which I used to suffer during and after training, so I could train longer while feeling better.

To sum up, the recovery drink was recommended by theory books, removed hunger and improved results. What more can you ask?

In addition, I take magnesium, zinc and fish oil. Fish oil, whey and maltodextrose are recommended in this Pakkotoisto thread as basic supplements, but in my case juice replaces maltodextrose. Magnesium and zinc are recommended in this thread about rising testosterone levels. Fish oil also contains lots of vitamin D, which is recommended by pretty much everyone nowadays.

Taking supplements is cheap and convenient, so the burden of proof is very light for taking them. The reason I don't take more of them is that some of them may have unresearched downsides as told in the previous post about vitamin C. It's a bit scary idea that one wrong kind of supplement can abolish the effects of endurance training.

No comments: