[Home] [Philosophy] [What's New] [Products] [FAQ] [Feedback] [Order]

From The Desk Of Clarence Bass

If you enjoy and benefit from our website and products, tell your friends.

“Aware that certain amino acids stimulate insulin production, [John] Ivy added about a gram of amino-rich protein to every three to five grams of carbohydrates in his athletes’ post-exercise meal. And lo! Glycogen synthesis jumped by 30 percent. In the realm of sports medicine, says Ivy, It was a pretty big deal.” Paul Roberts, Outside magazine

  What To Eat After Exercise, An Update

 I received an email recently asking my opinion on the highly touted post-exercise recovery products. Not having investigated the subject in depth since writing in The Lean Advantage 3 about the crucial 2-hour window after training for reloading your muscles with glycogen (muscle sugar), I decided it was time to look into the subject again. I didn’t have to look far. The current issue of Runner’s World (June 2005) contains a wide-ranging article by highly regarded Executive Editor Amby Burfoot: Should Your Sports Drink Contain Protein? After exercise, no question, yes, says Burfoot. (During exercise is an issue of interest mainly to long-distance runners and other endurance athletes.) Most recovery products on the market now contain carbohydrates and protein, according to Burfoot. Evidently, what’s new in recovery nutrition is protein. So, what happened since I last wrote about the subject?

Recovery nutrition, a relatively new field, revolves around research done by John Ivy, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas. The old theory was that you train hard, and then go about your business while recovery happens; there was nothing much you could do to help the process along. Ivy changed that when, in 1988, he discovered the period immediately after exercise, one or perhaps two hours, when your muscles are primed to replenish lost glycogen. “During this period, your muscles will convert carbs into glycogen up to three times faster than at other times,” Paul Roberts wrote in a long and detailed article in Outside magazine. “But miss it, and no matter how much pasta you eat at dinner, more of the calories will end up as fat, or simply be eliminated as waste.”

In a series of studies in the ‘90s, Ivy and his colleagues made more discoveries, this time dealing with protein. He found that combining carbs and protein in a ratio of roughly 4 to 1 nearly doubled the insulin response, which resulted in substantially more glycogen reloading than eating carbs alone. “They even uncovered the reason,” Amby Burfoot reports. “Immediately after you exercise, your insulin, which controls your blood sugar levels, is particularly sensitive. Give sensitive insulin some carbs, and it will pack them into your muscles as glycogen. Give sensitive insulin some protein, and it will quickly repair any muscle damage. Give it both carbs and protein, and you get the best of both worlds.”

And another new development. Time appears to be more critical than originally believed. “Insulin sensitivity is at its highest in the first 15 to 20 minutes after your workout,” Burfoot writes. Obviously a believer, Burfoot says, “From now on, I run first, eat second, and shower last. If my friends in the cafeteria don’t like it, too bad.”

  What to Eat?

That was the original query from my email correspondent. What about recovery products such as Endurox R4 or Gatorade’s recovery beverage, Nutrition Shake? I haven’t tried any of them. They’re fine, I’m sure, but are they worth the extra cost?

Paul Robert’s long article tells about spending four days with Dr. Edmund R. Burke at the University of Colorado,  Colorado Springs, where he is director of the exercise physiology program. Along with Ivy, Burke is the person most often connected with recovery nutrition. The author of the book Optimal Muscle Recovery, he coined and trademarked the name R4 (restore fluids, replenish fuel, reduce muscle stress, and rebuild muscle protein), and licensed it to Pacific Health Lab, the maker of Endurox R4. On the third day of his visit, Roberts, a serious cyclist, was still unsure when and what to eat.

He put the question to Burke, who referred him to colleague Jackie Berning, a 50-year-old nutritionist who works with many professional athletes. “Berning took me straight to the local Safeway,” Roberts reported, no doubt a little surprised. Berning’s diet philosophy was "straightforward:" balanced food-pyramid stuff, at least half of your carbs from fruits and vegetables, and whole foods over processed.

A recovery diet turns out to be “pretty damn simple,” Roberts concludes: “Don’t miss the glycogen window after a workout, follow the 65-20-15 carbs-fat-protein balance, eat a wide variety of whole foods, and taper from high-GI foods after exercise to low-GI foods later in the day.” [See article 115, Diet & Nutrition category, "New Light on the Glycemic Index."]

“I can chuck my pharmacy of supplements and protein powders,” says Roberts. “Everything I need is at Safeway.” (Emphasis added)

Bottom line: After workouts, I’m going to stick to our High Protein Oatmeal, topped with mixed berries, soymilk and a teaspoonful of sugar. I will make one change. Like Amby Burfoot, I won’t “diddle daddle” after workouts. I’ll eat right away.

Ripped Enterprises, 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail:  cncbass@aol.com, FAX:  (505) 266-9123.  Office hours:  Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time.  FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and make sure to include the following: 505 2669123

[Home] [Philosophy] [What's New] [Products] [FAQ] [Feedback] [Order]

Copyright © 2005 Clarence and Carol Bass.  All rights reserved.