Post Recovery – the perfect refueling

 Honestly, this is a trick! There is no perfect refueling except that we want you thinking of refueling immediately after completing a long workout or a workout with intensity. End of Story.

We hear a lot of athletes who complete their workout and before you know it, they’ve gotten caught up in their life.  They chat with friends at the car before driving home, they pull a few weeds on the way into the house, they take the dog for a walk or they run a few errands. Three hours goes by and they are famished. Nope, that’s not the way to recover and get ready for your next workout. Not properly fueling after a longer or harder workout can lead to low energy overall in your day to day activities and impact the quality of your next few workouts.

At a deeper level, when you work out, you stress your system. This controlled, good stress leads to muscle breakdown and repair and gets you ready for your next bout of work. Over time, you become stronger. Fueling properly immediately after a workout starts this process along.

Sure you can go a little crazy looking for the perfect recovery fuel but you don’t have to. There are many simple real food options that work well, are very easy and portable.

First what sort of refueling should you be aiming for? You should be aiming for a mix of carbohydrates and protein with a bit of added fat plus liquids to replace that which you’ve sweated out. The standard recommendation is for a ratio of 4:1 carbs to fat.  Ugh. Who wants to figure that? And really, the recommendations have relaxed a bit so there is a range.

Low fat chocolate milk is one of the easiest options. It is a popular recovery drink among world class endurance athletes and one we also recommend.

Why? The carbs are important to your body to start the process of repair and restoring glycogen levels. The protein provides building blocks for that repair. A flavored milk (with the added real sugar) will go down easy for most even if you are not particularly hungry after a workout.  Fat provides added calories, may help decrease inflammation and provides valuable cell restoration.

Not everyone can tolerate dairy. Flavored soy milk is also a good alternative. Other non-dairy milks often do not provide either enough protein or carbohydrates to match cow or soy milk.  If you can tolerate food, nothing is as easy or portable as a PBJ sandwich on whole wheat with jam.

Other options which can work?

  • Banana with trail mix or peanut butter and water
  • A fancy latte with sugar and milk with some nuts or a snack bar
  • Cheese and crackers
  • graham crackers and peanut butter
  • eggs and toast/egg sandwich
  • cold cereal and milk
  • fruit smoothie with protein

Eat or drink your recovery fuel ideally within 30 minutes after finishing and then eat again in about 2 hours to speed recovery.

Most important, don’t get so caught up in the what or exact fuel and concentrate simply getting something in.

 

 

 

 

 

Did you make any resolutions?

 It’s been a month and if you are like most adults, those resolutions have been broken, forgotten or you’ve thought up a good reason why it was a silly idea in the first place.

Truthfully, you want to make some changes. Resolutions can work but the changes you make need to be small and something that you can live with the rest of your life.

Think about this. Small changes. Maybe it was those first steps that set you on the path to your first 5k. Those small changes can set you on a path towards bigger goals and aspirations.

We like to see resolutions and goals as all part of a balance within your life. That was very evident at the CL Holiday Party’s food spread. It was full of tasty items. Some would consider some items more “healthy” than others but all have a place in your diet.  Small changes can make a big difference.

Shiny New Goals: Highlight Nutrition

Admit it, it’s exciting to plan out the new year with race and fitness goals.
While you are working on your goals for 2015, don’t forget to put some consideration into your nutrition goals for 2015. For athletes at any level, nutrition issues can sabotage all their other hard work.
Has this ever happened to you?
You bail on a planned workout because you’ve skipped a meal and are too hungry to attempt said workout or don’t make it very far because of flagging energy.
  •  Planning your workouts should go hand in hand with planning your meals and snacks.
  • Try to keep balanced healthy snacks always available.
  • If you are cooking a meal, plan to cook extra to freeze for an easy meal to reheat.
You get distracted and busy after a workout and find that hours have gone by before you’ve gotten a chance to have a real meal. You weren’t that hungry anyway. The next workout is much, much harder than it should be.
  • Plan and pack your post workout snacks.
  • Use this opportunity to try some different snacks – appealing sounding energy bars, fruit, nuts, flavored nut butters or try making your own.
  • If the thought of food is unappealing, try drinking your calories in a smoothie or shelf stable milk or milk substitute.
Work and life has been so crazy that you find yourself thinking you’ll just bail on the whole week.
  • Make getting in some time to workout a priority even if it’s a short amount of time.
  • Have easy healthy meals planned for when life gets too busy
  • Remember that there is always tomorrow to get back on track!
Consistency with your planned workouts and your planned nutrition leads to the best outcomes at every level. To make it to the start line of a goal race requires commitment on many levels including nutrition. What will YOU work on this year?

Captain Ogre’s Energy Bars

These bars have both low and high glycemic carbs that make them awesome for training or post workout! Thanks for the treat Captain Ogre. 

Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Bar w/ pecans and dried cherries

1.25 cups (6.25 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1.5 tsp table salt (or 1 tsp)

1.25 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, chopped in food processor.

1 cup (4 oz) pecans, roasted and coarsely chopped in food processor and salted. A mixed salted nut mixture also works, but peanuts overpower the taste and almonds are too bland.

1 cup dried sour cherries, chopped coarse in food processor (can also use cranberries or raisins although I’ve not tried it)

3 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped into chunks about the size of chocolate chips (3/4 of a 4 oz bar of chocolate found in baker’s aisle) or 3 oz semi sweet chocolate chips.

4 tbs softened butter, salted or unsalted (I always have salted and use that)

0.25 cup applesauce

1.25 cups packed brown sugar, preferably dark

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into small bowl and whisk together. In second bowl, stir together oats, pecans and cherries.
  3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until no sugar lumps remain, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl; with mixer running at low speed; add half of flour mixture until just combined. Add applesauce and then the rest of the flour until just combined. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oat/nut mixture; mix until just incorporated. Put in chocolate chips or chunks and give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that flour is incorporated and ingredients are evenly distributed. (We have a mixer and use it. If you do not, just use fork to cream butter and sugar together, add egg and vanilla and mix. Add some flour and mix, then applesauce and the rest of the ingredients. It is a fairly thick batter.)
  4. Dump batter into a pyrex 13x9x2 pan. The batter will have to be pushed into the corners with spatula and smoothed out. Bake for 15 minutes then rotate. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until edges are slightly browning and the rest of it looks set. Run knife around the edges.
  5. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes. Cut 5 x 4 with knife or pizza cutter at this time. I usually pull them out onto the wire rack to cool more completely and get a lot of the moisture out. Store out of the fridge for a week. Otherwise can be frozen.

Nutritional analysis:

Calories   221
Calories from fat 85
Total Fat (g)   9
Saturated Fat (g) 3
Cholesterol (mg) 17
Sodium (mg)   160
Total Carbohydrate (g) 33
Dietary Fiber (g) 3
Sugars (g)   15
Protein (g)   4
* Vitamin A (% Daily Value) 4
* Vitamin C (% Daily Value) 3
* Calcium (% Daily Value) 3
* Iron (% Daily Value) 10

Tips from the Captain:

Based on “Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie” from Cook’s Illustrated 5/05 issue. I wanted nuts and dried fruit with a salty/sweet oatmeal base for my sports bar.

I got the salted roasted pecans and dried sour cherries at Trader Joe’s.

Happy Baking Team!