This post was kindly written by Max Shippee, our crossfit Coach and knower of all things fitness and looking good ;)
“So, I just got this great new post-workout shake!”
“You did!? What’s in it?”
“It’s got…um…it’s supposed to help you recover faster!”
“Ok…wasn’t one of your goals to lose weight?”
“And we’ve already talked about sugar being the trigger for inflammation & fat storage, right?
“You know that recovery shakes often have lots of sugar, right?”
“So, why are you adding the shake?”
Not all of us (myself included) are going to be professional athletes. Most of us are the type of people who are either doing home workouts, park workouts, or CrossFit a few days a week. These kinds of people are called “normal”. Normal people (most of us) can find it easy to get obsessed with little tools and tricks to try to game the fitness system. Recovery shakes can end up being a little trick many of us use instead of addressing real issues in our nutritional approach.
The fitness media can make it sound like you need protein as fast as you can get it. You don’t want to be losing muscle mass! Oh, God! But is this advice primarily for bodybuilders & line backers, or can it apply to the rest of us?
I mean, what about the average person who’s looking for fitness and a slightly better-fitting pair of jeans? What should they be doing for food/nutrition after a workout? How much? How often? How do you scale what the professionals do so it matches your goals and lifestyle?
You’re not alone.
I’m actually in that same boat. As much as I fight it, I’m quickly approaching 40, and have gotten to the point in my life where I’m okay with the fact that a $1 million athletic contract may not actually be waiting around the corner for me. And honestly, with family, a business to run, and blog posts to do (I should write more, I know you all are just DYING to hear more from me. ;)) I’ve barely got time to eat, let alone be Mr. Super Fitness.
Most of us are actually like this. Normal people, just trying to be more productive and feel a little more sexy on date night. A lot of the fitness advice that goes around regarding pre- and post-workout nutrition is more geared either towards body building, or towards professional, or semi-pro athletes. Well what about the rest of us?
Less might be more.
Honestly, most of the rest of us don’t need a lot of “extra” either before or after our workouts.
Most post-workout shakes are made for either getting bigger, or to quickly replenish the muscle so you can do more work. They do this by both providing adequate protein for resynthesis of muscle (after breakdown during workout) and replenishing glycogen (stored sugar that was used during the workout). If you’re trying to lose weight, you might be better off leaving those glycogen (stored sugar) a little empty for a while, and if you didn’t go “all out” in your workout, you probably don’t need to be nearly as obsessed with muscle breakdown.
No pay, no play.
What I’m saying is that unless you are a competitive athlete, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
Don’t have a post workout shake handy? Relax, you’re still going to lose weight, and maybe even more so. Did our Paleo brothers and sisters always immediately crank out a protein shake after making a kill? Have you ever butchered an animal? That stuff takes time, dude. Great, you caught up with it and killed it, now you’ve got a-whole other kind of workout ahead of you, while your brother chases off the coyotes.
So here’s the long and short of it. If you’re one of the 99%, stop stressing about it. Go get your workout on. Eat smart and well after – real food. If you feel like you’re low energy for your workout, eat a little more before. If you feel like the workout exhausts you for the rest of the day, have a little meal right after. If you’re trying to lose weight, stay on the protein side of things.
Against the grain.
Want the ultimate workout recovery? Have a huge salad with your choice of protein on it, chicken, salmon, steak, whatevs. Get that salad in after your workout, have it be your first meal. How rebellious is THAT?! A SALAD post workout! Whoa nelly!
You watch, though. It’ll make more of a difference in your body composition than drowning yourself in some manufactured post-workout liquid. Seriously, I dare you to have a salad after a workout. Fine, I double dare you.
Keep it simple.
Getting caught up in the many shortcuts and supplements of the fitness industry can sometimes have your wallet losing all the weight. Just stick with the plan (PaleoPlan heh heh) and get your sweat on everyday. Play with your kids and stretch, and pick up heavy things a couple times a week.
Leave the raw egg-beef-dextrose-liver-cod-oil-shakes to the guys who get paid to choke them down.