The key to proper exercise is proper recovery. The nature of exercise and muscle growth is breaking down the muscles fibers so that they can grow larger, longer and stronger. However, if you do not provide your body with the proper nutrients to facilitate that recovery your gains are limited. If you do not have surplus nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and amino acids your body will breakdown its own cells to find them. In that scenario you will have muscle wasting instead of muscle growth. To maximize your efforts you must have a recovery strategy that primes you for your next workout by optimizing recovery time.
Many believe that protein shakes are the best option for post-exercise recovery. That isn't necessarily wrong, however, it is not the best option. A recovery drink that has protein along with other miciro & macronutrients such as amino acids, carbohydrates or sodium and potassium can provide benefits that reach far above a protien shake.
Protien is great for helping to regenerate muscle after exercise and also good for using it in a meal replacement scenario. By adding amino acids, it helps to limit the amount of muscle breakdown folloiwing an intense bout of exercise. This limits the amount of protein needed in your drink, as well as reducing muscle soreness in the days following exercise.
Carbohydrates play a large role in a recovery drink; this helps to replenish the engery stores that were used up while exercising. This allows an individual to bounce back faster post-workout and perform better in your next workout or competition.
Sodium, potassium and other electrolytes provide the benefit of keeping you hydrated. Dehydration slows down muscle recovery and can lead to muscle spasms, poor performance in your next workout or competition as well as prolonging recovery time.
The biggest misconception is that these types of drinks are only for athletes who are training full time. In reality they are just as beneficial for weekend warriors, the 'average Jane' who is active walking the dog or participating in exercise classes, youth who are in recreational sports and the most commonly overlooked group is those who are required to be physically active for their jobs (Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists, Construction, General Contractors, Electricians, Line Workers, Lab Technicians, etc.). Using a recovery drink ensures that you all the required nutrients allowing you to get the most out of your body on a consistent basis. For those in jobs that require physical activity instead of having a coffee or beverage fueled with sugar, a recovery drink is the perfect substitute during that '3 o'clock slump'!
A recovery drink that is more than just protein powder can also be a great meal replacement when you are on the go or trying make a lasting lifestyle change - it has all the necessary nutritional ingredients to provide a healthy alternative to fast food, coffee, pop or snack foods.
Lastly, finding a recovery drink without sugar is crucial. The negative impacts of sugar on the body are estounding. Sugar causes metabolic dysfunction. Eating too much sugar causes a barrage of symptoms known as classic metabolic syndrome. These include weight gain, abdominal obesity, decreased HDL and increased LDL, elevated blood sugar, elevated triglycerides, and high blood pressure. It increases your uric acid levels.
As a Registered Massage Therapist who works on his feet all day with professional and amature athletes, weekend warriors, those recovering from injuries, the aging population or simply preventative care, my receomendation is BioSteel - High Performance Sports Mix. Not only is it caffine and sugar free but has the perfect balance of amino acids, minerals and vitamins which all help reduce fatigue and increase performance whether you’re competing in sport or grinding through the work day.
Interested in trying a sample? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask on your next visit into the clinic for more info!
Written by Adam Honsberger, BKIN, CPT, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist