The science of recovery has been studied for decades and continues to be a hot topic among sports researchers. As the boundaries of human performance continue to be pushed, one of the areas where the greatest strides have been made is in post-workout recovery nutrition.
Initially, Eastern Europeans led this research by testing athletes in controlled settings and providing valuable insight into the body’s ability to be optimized by providing the right ratios of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. We learned from this research, and subsequent research from sports institutes around the world, that within two hours after strenuous activity (called the “Recovery Window”), athletes could get stronger faster and recover much more readily.
This “Nutritional Reload” allows athletes to compete at higher levels day after day. Why is this important for the average person who is trying to maintain a healthy body weight and active lifestyle? Adequate recovery has a tremendous effect physically and mentally. As a former collegiate strength-and-conditioning coach of highly competitive athletes, I believe that if you can motivate the mind, the body will follow. And when the body is fully recovered and rested, not sore and fatigued, the mental component is also recharged and ready to go. This hand-in-glove approach works for anyone of any age or physical ambition.
The science of recovery nutrition
It should come as no surprise that the body is only as good operatively as the quality of fuel that is placed in it. Continued research into recovery nutrition has led to the creation of many post recovery shakes with complex formulations designed to address three areas.
- Replacing glycogen stores (muscle sugar) that may have been depleted during rigorous workout sessions
- Providing the proteins and branch chain amino acids necessary for repairing micro tears in muscles that have been stressed
- Combating and buffering the effects of exercise induced inflammation (this area is getting the most attention)
Add to this list competing formulations that assist in the repletion of a multitude of nutrients, and the stage is set for the highly competitive market of post workout recovery shakes.
It’s easy to imagine the possibilities of a post-recovery shake and its implications for anyone who leads an active lifestyle. I firmly believe that anyone who is physically active should treat themselves like an athlete if they want to stay as strong and as fit as possible for as long as possible. However, post-workout shakes are more than performance-enhancing products, they act as a safety net for assisting basic human physiology.
Who wouldn’t want to quickly replace and recover their muscle energy; who wouldn’t want to minimize muscle soreness and supply the materials needed to promote growth and repair; and, who wants to live with exercise-induced inflammation?
As we age, the degree of difficulty in our physical world changes. Mowing the lawn for a seventy-year-old person is perhaps physically equivalent to a grueling practice for a high-school athlete. Suffice it to say, recovery is recovery whether you are ninety or nineteen. I would encourage you to incorporate a post-workout recovery shake and experience the benefits that modern science and the athletic world can provide.
For healthier todays and more vibrant tomorrows, all the best!
Coach Mark Paulsen (Coach P) is a former professional athlete and coach and one of the creators of Genesis PURE’s GPS line.