Saturday, December 11, 2010

Recovery Nutrition

Back in the spring I subscribed to the mainstream weight-training philosophy behind muscle recovery. Throughout the course of the day you should take in one gram of protein per every pound of bodyweight. I bought chocolate protein powders from GNC, ate protein bars throughout the day, and ingested quite a silly amount of protein, all in the name of building muscle and helping my body recover from my workouts.

Now with Crossfit and Paleo I'm confident that I'm getting significant protein from the meat and nuts, so I'm not nearly as militant about protein shakes. However, within 30 minutes after any WOD I typically find myself drinking an excellent organic protein recovery drink known as Orgain. This has 16 grams of protein, sourced from organic whey. Though its ingestion is a departure from Paleo, it's pretty widely known at this point that post-workout it's crucial to have at least 8 ounces of a drink that has a 3:1 carb to protein ratio. Frankly a ton of sites, blogs, and discussion posts recommend straight-up chocolate milk as a recovery drink, because it maintains the ideal carb-to-protein ratio for ideal muscle recovery.

Here's some of the science behind that 3:1 figure (feel free to skip the next paragraph if you're about to start snoring): The sugar in the chocolate (a very popular flavor in these drinks) causes an insulin spike which primes your muscles for ideal protein intake. The carbs act as a vehicle for the protein to travel efficiently into your muscles to achieve optimal recovery of tissue that has been broken down during your workout.

Since chocolate milk still has the typical hormone and inorganic content found in whole milk, I prefer an 11-oz carton of Orgain. I still get the proper ratio of carbs to protein for recovery, and though it's not Paleo I'm still consuming an organic food. The optimal timing of the recovery drink is within the first 30 minutes after your workout. It's tough to hit that timeframe after a Crossfit WOD, since it's tough to move quickly while showering and changing. I need to start keeping some Orgain in the fridge at Crossfit.

Typically along with the Orgain (which I drink right there in the store) I get a fresh fruit cup and bring it to the office, where I drink 32 ounces of water and eat the fruit cup. By the time I'm done with the fruit and water I'm overcome with the most euphoric feeling. It feels so great to be feeding my body the fuel it needs to optimally recover from the intensity of Crossfit.

I have a lot more to learn, and I certainly can make more tweaks to my observance of Paleo, but vs. where I was a few months ago my nutritional habits are a dream come true!

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