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Recovery drinks? Or not?

richaricha Posts: 1,634
I am trying to work out the benefit of Recovery Drinks within atraining routine that is aiming to lose weight and boost endurance.

I am with the benefits of replacing carbs & adding protein post workout, but what i can't get past is all the calories. been going to the gym before work quite a lot recently and I typically then have breakfast (fruit salad & yoghurt) at my desk.

A recovery drink will typically have 280 KCals/500ml serving. That's about the total I'd allow myself for breakfast. So do I go for:
i - just breakie
ii - just the recovery drink
iii - recovery shake & breakie.

What do you do? What should I do? Why?

Thanks.
Rich
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Posts

  • ducksonduckson Posts: 961
    Breakfast is supposed to be the main meal of the day, sets you up.
    I'd take more onboard then and eat a bit less through the day if you feel your intake is going to be to excessive.
    Cheers, Stu
  • How about having your recovery drink immediately after finisihing training when your metabolism is higher (ie within 20mns of exercise), and then grabbing your fruit and yoghurt breakie about an hour later?

    As Duckson suggests, if you're worried about excessive calorie intake, then you could try to cut down a little later in the day when your metabolism haas slowed down a little.
    We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies - it is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire
  • phil sphil s Posts: 1,128
    280kcals for breakfast would leave me feeling v. hungry. I use recovery drinks after v. hard or long sessions, otherwise I just stick to a glass of milk and some malt loaf
    -- Dirk Hofman Motorhomes --
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Option i.

    If you are eating plenty of carbs and some protein soon after training, I'm not sure what benefit you're trying to achieve by having a recovery drink too? Just seems like extra, and possibly unnecessary, calories to me, especially if you're trying to lose weight.

    Ruth
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    RichA wrote:
    What do you do?
    I never use recovery drinks after training. I like my food very much and instead I work hard at making sure my ordinary diet meets my post-training needs.

    Why spend money unnecessarily to drink something unpleasant, which then means I should eat less of the ordinary food I enjoy?!

    Ruth
  • i have chocolate high 5 recovery drink after most long or hard sessions, as much due to the fact that i like the taste as much as its benefits,
  • I'm going to take a risk and disagree with Ruth :oops:

    I use a recovery drink and find that I'm very much less hungry after taking it, much less sore the next day and able to train harder in the next session. I've underlined the word 'train' because that's important - a recovery drink is for after a big session; either reducing myself to a sweaty mess on the turbo or having been out for 4 to 5 hours on the road.

    The really critical thing about a recovery feed is that the window where you'll gain the most benefit is tiny - the most quoted value is within 20 minutes of finishing exercise. I'll neck 400ml of Torq before I've even put the bike away.

    If it's after a commute (mine is long and urban, Ealing to the City) I don't bother with a recovery drink and simply have a little high quality museli at home and a bagel with either Marmite or a little peanut butter when I arrive at the office. On a weekend when I've a longer ride ahead of me I'll have a bowl of porridge before setting out.

    What else are you eating during the day? When are you eating it? What's the deficit between calories in and calories out?
  • a_n_ta_n_t Posts: 2,011
    banana "goodness shakes" are nice, 2 for £1.50 in asda!
    Manchester wheelers

    PB's
    10m 20:21 2014
    25m 53:18 20:13
    50m 1:57:12 2013
    100m Yeah right.
  • richaricha Posts: 1,634
    a_n_t wrote:
    banana "goodness shakes" are nice!
    Agreed. The Berry are even better and these are what I have after a sportive or maybe a hard Sunday outing.

    Really started wondering since I started the pre-work 1 hour cardio gym sessions. I see a lot of people drinking recovery drinks in the changing rooms - admitedly they are probably not trying to lose 3stone - whilst I have my yoghurt & fruit salad when I get to my desk.

    For the record, I usually have:
    Breakfast: Yoghurt & Fruit Salad (350 KCals)
    Lunch: Chicken Wrap, Diet Crisps, Fruit, Yoghurt (600 KCals)
    Afternoon: Fruit (100 KCals)
    Supper: Something sensible. i.e. Spag Bolegnese, etc + Fruit. (750 KCals)
    Total: 1,800 KCals.

    I think I'll stick with the fruit salad for the time being. Might add shakes once my training goes over 10+ hrs/wk.
    Rich
  • nmcgannnmcgann Posts: 1,780
    Thats going to be running a pretty big kcal deficit with a 1h training session before breakfast.

    I would expect the weight to melt off with that routine, although it would be a struggle to do anything too intense on the bike.

    Neil
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • Righty then....

    Your diet seems to have an over-reliance on sugars and a lot of yoghurt. The timing also seems a bit off.

    I'd suggest starting the day with something a little more substancial. Porridge is ideal, or if that is too Scottish for you, an oat heavy museli (beware the sugary one). If possible you should eat this before your gym session.

    As a recovery feed - unless you are working at a very high intensity (which you shouldn't be for endurance and fat burning) then I'd suggest a ripe banana - but directly after your workout; remember the window is small. If you are killing yourself then thats where the recovery drink comes in.

    For lunch I take a stuff to into work as it's much cheaper and heathier than the salt and mayo heavy rubbish from the Pret or Eat chains. Pasta with chicken breast and salad, or poached salmon (in which case I'll pick a baked spud up from the cafe in our building). Sometimes just a mixed salad and I'll do baked spud and beans.

    What I don't do is go for processed white bread and certainly not 'diet crisps'. It's junk you don't need.

    Fruit in the afternoon is good, but make sure you eat 25gms or so of nuts or seeds with it. You need fat and protein to metabolise the sugars, otherwise you'll generate nothing but an insulin spike that encourages fat deposition.

    Most of my training is takes place in the evenings at the moment so if I've been scheduled a turbo session or night ride at the track I'll normally have a slap of bread pudding, or a non-fatty flapjack about an hour before I ride home. Then once back at the flat I try to start training so soon as I get in and I have 750ml of Energy drink whilst working.

    Your supper is sensible only if you're planning a long training ride the next morning. If you're eating those carbs in the Spag Bol and then not burning them off where is that energy going to go? To be laid down as fat.

    If I been on the turbo I generally don't finish until quite late so that's where my use of a recovery drink comes in. Else I'll go for a bowl of soup, or an omelette, or some stir-fry veg with prawns or more chicken breast. But I'll only go for a carb rich meal if I'm due an endurance day the morning after.

    The old chestnut of 'Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Lord and dine like a pauper' is actually true. Try and avoid carbs after lunch other than we you take then as fuel for exercise.
  • nmcgannnmcgann Posts: 1,780
    Crikey Gavin, I think you might be over-analysing there. I lost 3st on a diet and routine not too dissimilar to Ritch's (more brekky, no crisps or fat over 10% and training pre-evening meal). I now support a pretty heavy training schedule on the same, just bulked up to avoid a net kcal deficit.

    Neil
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Fruit in the afternoon is good, but make sure you eat 25gms or so of nuts or seeds with it. You need fat and protein to metabolise the sugars, otherwise you'll generate nothing but an insulin spike that encourages fat deposition.
    That sounds like a very sensible argument and is dressed up in enough science to hoodwink many. Except surely it just isn't as simple as that? If, say, your body is craving energy because you are hungry and you eat a piece of fruit to stave off the hunger, you are implying that in every case the insulin spike that is created causes an increase in body fat? (So you'd better eat some other food with extra fat to avoid that??? :shock: )

    I'm sure you're correct for certain circumstances/timings/situations, but not all, surely? What if your body needed the sugars in the fruit at that point in time? The very simple way I think of it is that if my body needs to replenish its glycogen stores (which seem to be perpetually empty in my case) then whatever carbs I eat are not going to causing any laying down of fat, whatever form the carbs take, fruit, porridge, whatever. Do you disagree?

    Ruth
  • richaricha Posts: 1,634
    Your supper is sensible only if you're planning a long training ride the next morning. If you're eating those carbs in the Spag Bol and then not burning them off where is that energy going to go? To be laid down as fat.
    Gavin, I thought the don't eat much after 6pm style diets had been disproven a while back. I come from the Total KCals/day In v Total KCals/day Out school of thought. But happy to learn more.
    Rich
  • I knew I was asking for trouble :lol:

    In the circumstances where you're feeding to replenish glycogen then there will be little or no insulin rise - the carbs simply get pulled into the muscles as you'll be in deficit. I've no idea what the GI of my Recovery drink is but I'd be surprised if it wasn't astronomical. And for the same reasons I'll be shoving a Marmite bagel down me tomorrow morning when I arrive wet and cold at the office.

    Loading however is very different to recovering. You'd probably get away with eating a handful of cherries without balancing them with a little protein & fat, possibly with an apple too - but something like pineapple chunks would certainly cause me a sugar rush. Anyhow, a small handful of nuts is going to Top Trumps a bag of diet crisps any day.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Loading however is very different to recovering.
    I'd never thought of the distinction being quite so clear-cut. I reckon my glycogen stores are pretty much depleted when I get up in the morning - so is breakfast about 'recovering' or 'loading'? Is there really a difference?
    You'd probably get away with eating a handful of cherries without balancing them with a little protein & fat, possibly with an apple too - but something like pineapple chunks would certainly cause me a sugar rush.
    It all sounds a bit dramatic to suggest someone won't 'get away with' eating a few chunks of pineapple mid-afternoon. Maybe the fact that weight has been falling off me recently (when I didn't have much weight to lose) is colouring my judgement here..........
    Anyhow, a small handful of nuts is going to Top Trumps a bag of diet crisps any day.
    No arguments with that one. :D

    Ruth
  • NJKNJK Posts: 194
    Righty then....

    Your diet seems to have an over-reliance on sugars and a lot of yoghurt. The timing also seems a bit off.

    I'd suggest starting the day with something a little more substancial. Porridge is ideal, or if that is too Scottish for you, an oat heavy museli (beware the sugary one). If possible you should eat this before your gym session.

    As a recovery feed - unless you are working at a very high intensity (which you shouldn't be for endurance and fat burning) then I'd suggest a ripe banana - but directly after your workout; remember the window is small. If you are killing yourself then thats where the recovery drink comes in.

    For lunch I take a stuff to into work as it's much cheaper and heathier than the salt and mayo heavy rubbish from the Pret or Eat chains. Pasta with chicken breast and salad, or poached salmon (in which case I'll pick a baked spud up from the cafe in our building). Sometimes just a mixed salad and I'll do baked spud and beans.

    What I don't do is go for processed white bread and certainly not 'diet crisps'. It's junk you don't need.

    Fruit in the afternoon is good, but make sure you eat 25gms or so of nuts or seeds with it. You need fat and protein to metabolise the sugars, otherwise you'll generate nothing but an insulin spike that encourages fat deposition.
    Most of my training is takes place in the evenings at the moment so if I've been scheduled a turbo session or night ride at the track I'll normally have a slap of bread pudding, or a non-fatty flapjack about an hour before I ride home. Then once back at the flat I try to start training so soon as I get in and I have 750ml of Energy drink whilst working.

    Your supper is sensible only if you're planning a long training ride the next morning. If you're eating those carbs in the Spag Bol and then not burning them off where is that energy going to go? To be laid down as fat.

    If I been on the turbo I generally don't finish until quite late so that's where my use of a recovery drink comes in. Else I'll go for a bowl of soup, or an omelette, or some stir-fry veg with prawns or more chicken breast. But I'll only go for a carb rich meal if I'm due an endurance day the morning after.

    The old chestnut of 'Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Lord and dine like a pauper' is actually true. Try and avoid carbs after lunch other than we you take then as fuel for exercise.


    I'm not sure a few pieces of fruit are going to cause a noticeable insulin spike and especially one that will lay down fat.

    I'm also not sure it is wise to avoid Carbohydrates after lunch unless you are going to be exercising. Presuming you are going to move at some stage throughout the rest of the day this may not be wise. In fact some people don't always have time to eat a big breakfast let alone making it the biggest meal of the day.

    Don't forget that people who train don't have to worry about causing a sugar rush as much as a sedentary person.
  • I prefer beans on toast in all it's scientifically formulated, nutritionally balanced glory. And sardines on toast. And poached egg on toast.

    Not sure how any of these would taste blended out into a recovery shake.
  • eheh Posts: 4,854
    Nothing wrong with beans on toast IMO (well maybe excess salt?), that was always my pre-race breakfast or some other Heinz tin on toast, much preferred it to some sugary ceral. I suppose porridge would be good but I can't stand it.
  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    There was an article in a magazine I read a while back (sorry can't remember which one..may even have been C+) by a couple of high class amateur runners who also happened to work at university specialising in nutrition research.

    They said that specialised recovery products had a place in a training regime but only at the top end of performance where athletes (usually will be pros) plan more than workout a day. Typically the first of these workouts will be the more intense and a recovery drink after this will help get the body ready for the second one.

    They said that for a "normal" training routine of max one session per day, the time between workouts would be enough time for recovery from the POV of nutrition, provided a balanced diet was eaten and there was no need to invest in specialised products. Both followed this routine in their training.

    This article caught my eye because, prior to starting "real" training I didnt know recovery products existed and never used them and felt fine. When started "real" training though I must be missing something and started with them through fear than anything else. Since reading the article stopped using them and haven't noticed any difference in recovery despite greater training load.

    As a general comment. As, with most(all?) aspects to training, recovery will have a psychological as well as physiological component. So regardless of the various theories in terms of nutrition if you believe a given recovery process does you good it probably will.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
  • mclarentmclarent Posts: 784
    BeaconRuth wrote:
    I'm sure you're correct for certain circumstances/timings/situations, but not all, surely? What if your body needed the sugars in the fruit at that point in time? The very simple way I think of it is that if my body needs to replenish its glycogen stores (which seem to be perpetually empty in my case) then whatever carbs I eat are not going to causing any laying down of fat, whatever form the carbs take, fruit, porridge, whatever. Do you disagree?

    Ruth

    I'd go along with that (although take your point that is slightly simplified - notice you didn't include chocolate ;) )

    One other thing to consider is the glycemic index of the foods you are consuming. General rule, high GI for recovery / glycogen top up (get the insulin going for better glycogen storage), low GI for pre exercise eating.
    "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not: I dropped him on the climb up to the motorway bridge'."
    - eccolafilosofiadelpedale
  • mclarentmclarent Posts: 784
    bahzob wrote:
    They said that for a "normal" training routine of max one session per day, the time between workouts would be enough time for recovery from the POV of nutrition, provided a balanced diet was eaten and there was no need to invest in specialised products. Both followed this routine in their training.

    Yep. If you have less than 24 hours between sessions, you won't have enough time for glycogen stores to recover from hard sessions, so getting your eating right post exercise is important.

    In terms of timing, glycogen storage is highest in the 6 hours post training, with the first 2 hours being optimal. And the oft quoted 20mins? Personally never seen an academic study referenced on this, but it is oft quoted...

    One other thing to consider - I commute on my bike, 25 mins each way. Clearly this uses glycogen, and when added to my turbo sessions means I need to focus a bit more on recovery.
    "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not: I dropped him on the climb up to the motorway bridge'."
    - eccolafilosofiadelpedale
  • I like the "for Goodness shakes" after a hard ride, but not every time. Just try to mix it up a bit. Don't miss breakfast whatever..
  • ducksonduckson Posts: 961
    eh wrote:
    Nothing wrong with beans on toast IMO (well maybe excess salt?), that was always my pre-race breakfast or some other Heinz tin on toast, much preferred it to some sugary ceral. I suppose porridge would be good but I can't stand it.

    Heinz reduced sugar and salt beans!
    I have scrambled egg with half a small tin of Heinz reduced sugar and salt beans on 2 pieces of wholemeal for my weekend breaky.
    I have last time during the week so have porridge.
    Cheers, Stu
  • richaricha Posts: 1,634
    Ok boys & girls, I have taken on board the advice and I am now having porridge for breakfast.

    Invested in some Quaker Oatso Simple. And to be honest really like the stuff. Given that I leave the house at 6:30 to get to the gym and then have breakfast at my desk I hadn't really considered porridge etc. But these have worked out a dream. 2 mins in the work microwave whilst I make my cuppa and I have Apple & Blackberry porridge (usually with a banana sliced in). The fruit and yoghurt has been relegated to just once a day at lunch.

    This has raised a question tho'. What are the benefits of porridge over fruit & yoghurt. Assuming that I have either:
    > 350KCals of Porridge & Banana or 350KCals, of
    > Fruit Salad (grapes, kiwi, satsuma, pineapple, rasberries) + Yoghurt

    Why is one better than the other. Both are delicious and low fat. So what is so good about porridge?

    Thks.
    Rich
  • mclarentmclarent Posts: 784
    Ok, my first question is, do you have 24 hours in between training sessions? If so, don't worry about it, eat either. However, if you are, then the content of each option is more important.

    Most people recommend porridge as a pre-workout meal, i.e. 2 hours or so before exercise. If you're eating the porridge post-workout, you're looking to replace glycogen, which comes from carbs, as well as a bit of protein. Check out the content of the yoghurt vs. the porridge (carbs, fat, protein) to see which one best suits your recovery goals.

    Looking at GI of those (on google), they both look low / medium, which isn't "optimal" for recovery (low GI for pre-exercise, high for post, see above), but I wouldn't worry about it.
    "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not: I dropped him on the climb up to the motorway bridge'."
    - eccolafilosofiadelpedale
  • I found that when IU wanted to shed some weight and was training first thing in the morning using one of the MRP such as the Reflex Progen worked really well, I was often compromised on time and could make one of these up with milk and it did the job nicely. The taste was good and it seemed to have a good spectrum on nutritional requirements.

    Not sure if that helps but only my 2 p worth!

    John.
  • I found that when IU wanted to shed some weight and was training first thing in the morning using one of the MRP such as the Reflex Progen worked really well, I was often compromised on time and could make one of these up with milk and it did the job nicely. The taste was good and it seemed to have a good spectrum on nutritional requirements.

    Not sure if that helps but only my 2 p worth!

    John.
  • richaricha Posts: 1,634
    I usally (currently) have 24 hrs between workout.

    This week my schedule is:
    M: Rest
    T: 18:00 > 45 mins gym (bike & cross trainer)
    W: 07:30 > 45 mins gym (bike & cross trainer)
    T: 07:30 > 45 mins spin class
    F: 07:30 > 45 mins gym (bike & cross trainer)
    S: 11:00 > 90 mins ride
    S: 09:00 > 180 mins ride
    Total: 7.5hrs

    But in a few weeks my training schedule will be move towards 10+ hrs per week and some days expect to do workouts both am & pm.

    The problem with solely having a recovery drink is that you don't get the sensation of having eaten breakfast. So whilst you may have consumed the right nutrients you still crave something to eat.
    Rich
  • BikerbaboonBikerbaboon Posts: 1,017
    Last year was my first on a bike for 10+ years. I as about 2 stone on the chubby side. I went about it all wrong Im guessing by some of the posts. I went out on the bike tuesday wednesday and thrusday for about 2+ hours and thne sat and sunday got 2 hours minumum and 5 max in the moment i got back fomr a ride was the bike down and drink a recovery shake, have a shower and cook the tea.
    Out on the rides i ws drinking water and 1 chew bar per hour out on the bike. ( that was what ever breakfast bar was on offer.)
    all through the summer i was eating like a horse and i still am. I did changed what i ate slightly moveing from refined foods and sweets to fruit and veg for my snacks. ( and cutting out coke)

    Im guessing i fall in to the more out than in =weight loss camp but on some days i think 4k calories passed through me. I think that when you start a new exersize reghime its hard to get in to your head that you do need to eat more to have the energy to exersize

    I have to say that even looseing only 2 stone over a 8 months my self asteem has gone through the roof.
    Good luck to all the people that are trying to lose weight.
    This summer is going to be looking at building speed and stamina now that im not carrying the bulk dalby forrest full red in under 2.30 is my aim.
    Nothing in life can not be improved with either monkeys, pirates or ninjas
    456
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