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Recovery Drink

For any endurance workout, or where there's been a lot of sweating, it is just necessary to replace not only the water you've lost, but the, yes, nutrients in that sweat.  One of our totally awesome and superamazing FitWorks athletes has been known to sweat fourteen pounds in a few hours of striving - all of which needs to be replaced during and within a few hours after the workout.  Proper nutrition will handle the oxidative stress, the free radicals and metabolites that vigorous exercise produces. But sweating isn't quite the same as metabolism. It's almost mechanical.

Sweat, the actual fluid, comes not from some big bag, some sac secreted away deep within the bowels. It comes from blood volume. Your blood becomes thicker, as in a heart attack waiting to happen, when you sweat excessively without replacing the fluid. That's why Gatorade™ is a billion dollar company, if it is.

But Gatorade™, while sound in concept, is flawed in execution. Chemicalized sugar syrup? How is that better than drinking ditch water? Quality control should include something more than the exclusion of rat feces. For this reason, make your own recovery drink. The research is out there. In fact, it's right here. So, a simple formula for a homemade 4 to 6 serving recovery drink:

One gallon water
250 gms carbs (1000 calories)
60 g protein (250 calories)
5 g each of:
   • potassium
   • magnesium
   • salt
   • creatine
   • glutamine
   • vitamin C & E
   • ALA (alpha lipoic acid)
   • for Paleo faddists: blood, fresh, to taste.

Tap water? Sure -- or purified, better. Carbs? Say, frozen fruit juice concentrate -- the whole can, usually more than a thousand calories, but who's counting. Get real juice, not the favored sugarwater "fruit drink". Quality matters, after all. (If you've got any jiggle that you don't want, cut back on the carbs -- in the recovery drink their purpose is to raise insulin, which will usher the nutrients into cells; skin fat indicates high insulin already.)  Protein powder. Which kind? Any will do, but pea protein is actually rather harmonious. To be even more thorough, adding branch-chained amino acid powder is a good idea. As for the 5-gram ingredients, they can be found as powders, which is a lot easier than grinding up pills or hoping a mixer will sufficiently disintegrate them. So experience shows.

This particular formula is for during the workout, with the pre- or post-workout drinks being twice as concentrated. Rather too sweet for some palates. Really, it hardly matters. It's not about being theoretically perfect. It's about being reasonably responsible.

For a during-workout drink, use a half-full a liter bottle, or bigger, and put it on its side in the freezer. When it's slushy, shake it up so that when it freezes solid it won't be all separated. When it's time to get dangerous, fill up the rest with the drink, and it should still be icy by the time you're about done with it. Icy, because heat is the enemy, and cooling the core lets you exercise more. Get rid of the heat any way you can.

There it is. Just another way to be responsible.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank
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