By Darren Brown
The reasons for exercising are wide and varied when going from person to person, but the purpose is always the same … to better your body’s health and fitness. Would you continue to run, swim, bike or do any other type of exercise if you knew that everything you were doing was going to be useless after all your hard work? If you aren’t currently consuming a recovery product within 30min after a workout, scientists say that this is exactly the case.
When you exercise for long periods of time, two important physiological effects occur. One, you deplete the levels of glycogen (energy) within your muscles and two, your body releases cortisol, a chemical that breaks down muscular tissue. Both of these effects can actually be detrimental to the human body, despite the other positive effects gained from exercise, if they are not addressed post-workout.
An electrolyte/carbohydrate based product will properly replace glycogen (energy) lost during activity. This will restore the body to the minimum level of energy required for making use of the day’s workout (i.e. beginning the natural reparation and improvement processes). Adding a protein component to this product then supplies your body with the tool necessary for finishing this repair and improvement by giving you the compound needed (protein) to repair the muscles from the cortisol breakdown, and at a much quicker rate. Studies have shown that the best amount of time to ingest this recovery product is within 30 minutes after completion of the workout.
Creating a lack of resources that are necessary for the body to begin its natural recovery process causes it to get energy from other sources, like the immune system, creating the opportunity for infection and sickness. Therefore, waiting longer than the recommended 30 minutes means risking further depletion of the body, which could actually cause more damage, instead of gain, from a hard workout.
Many people worry that adding the extra calories from a recovery drink will cause them to gain weight. This is false. When your body desires calories, the worst thing you can do is deny it those calories. Those calories are important for rebuilding the body and improving its current state. This also keeps the metabolic levels raised. Your body adjusts to the way you treat it, so if it expects to get more calories at regular intervals, it will burn them freely, but if it does not get nourishment regularly, it will keep reserves just in case it needs them for strenuous activity at a later time. Not delivering nutrition to your body at regular intervals may actually slow down the metabolic rate, causing your system to hoard calories, which increases weight.
There are many recovery drinks currently offered that contain the proper Protein-Carbohydrate mix and are prime for recovery. Examples of these are Fluid, Endurox, etc. However, to this day, one of the most popular choices for workout recovery is still … Chocolate milk. Yes, that’s right. Chocolate milk actually provides a tasty, appropriate blend of the nutrients that your body requires after an intense workout. Everybody is different and everybody has their own opinion of what they think works best. It may take testing a few different products to find one that works for you, but the main thing is to use one! Find one that you like and will use regularly to make sure you are getting the most out of the work you are putting in.