Jump to content

Recovery Drinks - Essential? Alternatives exist?


Recommended Posts

Hey everyone,

 

What are your thoughts on "recovery drinks"? I'm not even sure I entirely understand them, but basically, they should be: a good source of easily digestible, quickly assimilated carbs and protein, usually taken during/after a workout, to, umm, replenish glycogen stores and something with an insulin surge to increase protein (muscle) storage and building...is that somewhat correct?

 

And, are recovery drinks necessary? Are there food combinations, and in what ratios, that would have the same effect and be as quickly used by your bodies?

 

I know that when I drink Vega during and after a workout I feel better than without, and I seem to look/feel a bit more "pumped" longer, too. Is Vega an ideal "recovery drink"? I love the stuff, anyway, but it's damn expensive. Would you suggest any alternatives to it? Something home-made? Mind you, though, I don't like the idea of sugary powders and would like to stay as natural and healthy as possible.

 

I'm sorry if this is slightly vague or scattered - I've still got a way to go in learning exactly what the heck I'm talking about!

 

Thanks guys,

 

RticleOne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your questions are not vague and scattered but the science behind these "recovery" drinks is certainly vague, contradictory and scattered. When someone is trying to sell you something, they can always find a study to back them up. And you can usually find a study to contradict their findings. Or, you can point out that their study on 20 healthy young men doesn't show enough of an effect to make you spend money on their product.

 

The placebo effect is huge and the hype in the fitness industry is also huge. Intelligent people will tell you that you cannot build muscle on plant protein, but we know that's wrong. Other intelligent people will tell you that you need powders, drinks, etc. to recover or build. Are they right? Even if you recover slightly faster or build muscle slightly faster or lose fat slightly faster - is it worth it for you to spend your money on these products? It's really a personal choice. These products have been on the market for years but I don't see people becoming super-athletes because of them.

 

Eating a meal with protein and carbs will replenish your glycogen and give you the amino acids necessary for muscle growth. If you eat every 2.5 to 3 hours then you probably have enough circulating amino acids necessary anyway. I don't believe in manipulating my insulin levels to allow them to spike. This is theoretical, IMO, and based on studies with diabetics for the most part. I don't see many muscular diabetics yet we extrapolate data from their studies to "prove" that insulin spikes will increase muscle building capacity. And maybe it does - but by how much? Is a 1% increase in capacity enough to play with your insulin sensitivity over the long run? Is a 10% increase in capacity enough? Ten percent may look like a big number but it can mean that you recover in 27 minutes vs. 30 minutes. Keep in mind that many studies don't compare the active ingredient in their product to a comparable food.

 

Sorry if I've gone on a rant, but there have been no long-term (or post-marketing) studies to show that these products work. For every person who thinks they see a positive effect, there are many who notice no difference.

 

Just my 2 cents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DV's post is straight on. The more I learn about the fitness industry, the more I realize how much misinformation is right on our plates, and it's not even funny. The expense comes straight out of our pockets, especially as soon as medical bills begin to hit.

 

If you really do want to do recovery drinks, why not make your own? This is one of my favorites, even if I don't do recovery drinks much:

 

Brazier calls this a "Lemon-Lime Recovery Drink"

 

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Juice 1/4 lime

4 dates

2 cups water

2 tbsp agave nectar

1 tbsp hemp protein

1 tsp ground dulse flakes

1 tsp hemp oil

1/2 tsp lemon zest

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Frankly, liquids are useful for faster digestion and quicker return of hunger (& thus for increasing total kcal intake), but the big picture science is clear: a high kcal, low-fat, high carb, moderate protein diet combined with exercise will build muscle well, the greater your carb intake, the greater the efficiency of protein deposition (tons of metabolic details in my blog).

 

In fact one study compared PRE- and POST workout drinks and found that the best method is to already have food in your stomach BEFORE your workout as well as post (can't find the citation right now). Basically, by keeping your stomach regularly filled with a low-fat, high-carb vegan diet, you will increase the insulin-mediated deposition of dietary protein (as carbs increase, the % of dietary protein deposited increases), while also limiting fat gain.

 

In other words, expensive concoctions are not necessary, all you need is healthy low-fat plant food and exercise. After all, that's how the largest herbivorous mammals grow their huge muscles (and indeed, think of massive herbivorous dinosaurs, the most muscular creatures to have walked the earth): these organisms didn't use techno-drinks to get huge, they just stuffed themselves with starchy plant food all day long (and exercised).

!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DV is absolutely right. There are a billion and one things marketed to athletes to increase performance - and very little of it is rooted in real science. There have been very few exceptions...the original invention of Gatorade being one of them.

 

Oh, and DV - it's so nice to hear someone complaining about all this theoretical talk of insulin levels! I read a paper recently discussing all of the insulin-lowering and insulin-antagonizing effects of a typical vegan diet, along with how those effects contribute to health. Endocrinology is so fascinating and complex, but, as with many things in the health industry, people latch on to a fact or two (such as "X usually raises insulin" and "insulin usually does Y") and draw conclusions that do not take the whole picture into account at all.

 

There's definitely no need for those expensive concoctions. There's nothing in them that you can't get by either eating a healthy post-workout meal or making your own smoothie as was mentioned above. I personally find a drink/smoothie the most convenient, as I work out on campus and it takes me over an hour to commute home...so if I don't get something into my stomach, I usually end up ravenous by the time I can even start preparing dinner. I've started using soy milk powder from a local bulk store...it has one ingredient (soy flour), is 60/40 protein/carbs, and costs me about $1 a pound (under 10 cents a serving). Take THAT, recovery drink industry!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whatever benefit a post-workout drink/meal provides might be substituted by drinking during the workout so your glycogen stores aren't depleted in the first place.

 

I always CRAVE a Clif Builder's Bar after my morning workouts. Today I sipped white grape juice during my lifting and it wasn't until around 11am (2 hours later) I remembered about the builder's bar. Only one day of doing this, but it was interesting nonetheless. I didn't even think about this possibility beforehand, the juice was only for me to see if I could keep lifting a bit longer than without.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DV is absolutely right. There are a billion and one things marketed to athletes to increase performance - and very little of it is rooted in real science. There have been very few exceptions...the original invention of Gatorade being one of them.

Yeah, and even gatorade is misused nowadays. It's great for endurance athletes, but if you're just doing a hour or so of weightlifting you really don't need to replenish electrolytes. (It's what plants crave?)

 

I swear I've seen gatorade with HFCS in it too, I think the premixed ones are trendy garbage and the powders are better but I don't really know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, and even gatorade is misused nowadays. It's great for endurance athletes, but if you're just doing a hour or so of weightlifting you really don't need to replenish electrolytes. (It's what plants crave?)

 

Yeah, I didn't mean for weightlifters specifically. The concept of putting balanced electrolytes and sugars into a drink for endurance athletes was one of those rare instances where science and a sport nutrition manufacturer actually got something right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...