My last post was about nutrition labels, so I thought I’d get back to my true passion and discuss some things about sports nutrition that bother me. I’ve been wanting to do this one for a while now. It is not going to be a series of negative rants on various topics. Rather, I’d like to rearrange your thinking about what we’re told we should do in terms of refueling our bodies post exercise, what fluids we should be taking in, and general sports nutrition information that quite simply, does not apply to most people.
Misconception # 1: We need to replenish our liver and glycogen stores within 30-60 minutes after exercise with sugary-ass beverages. Wrong. Here’s why. This is certainly a good recommendation for athletes performing multiple workouts each day so that they can keep their intensity up for each session and get the most out of them. You, however, are likely running 45 minutes on the treadmill to lose weight (If you aren’t and are seriously training for a big event then right on, disregard this). Also, jogging for 45 mins really doesn’t burn that many calories. I’ll get to this in my next post. I’m assuming that at some point between this workout and your next (probably tomorrow or the day after) you will actually ingest some carbohydrates. You will in all likelihood do a fine job of replenishing your carbohydrates stores at your meals, so don’t fret it. Adding in a really sugary beverage after your workout is only adding the calories that you were trying to burn. This is not to say however, that a post-workout shot of protein won’t be beneficial. I recommend 20-30 grams of high quality, rapidly absorbing protein such as a whey isolate. Opt for the hydrolysate if you want to illicit an even greater insulin response or if you have some GI issues with concentrates or isolates. The exception to this is if you’re going to have a meal within an hour or so after your training session. In that case, just throw down some water, go shower, and eat your meal as usual. NOTE: Don’t make that meal be McDonald’s.
A far better approach overall is to space your meals 4-5 hours apart and have them be composed of the macronutrient distribution that’s best for you that includes 20-30 grams or so of a high quality protein.
Misconception # 2: If you’re exercising, you need Gatorade. Damned if those commercials for Gatorade aren’t inspiring, but that’s marketing at it’s best (also, am I the only one who gets pumped up by the new Dick’s Sporting Goods commercials?). But back to topic. Hydration is absolutely vital to performance and even a 2% loss of body water can lead to a decrease in it. I could talk hydration until I’m blue in the face, so I’ll save that for a separate blog all together. The truth is unless you are getting after it for 90 minutes or more, are in an extremely hot and humid environment, or started your training session (aerobic, long distance) in a completely fasted state, then good ol’ H20 is all you need. As an added bonus, it’s free! Many of us consume too many simple sugars as it is and as I eluded to in Misconception # 1, I’m assuming you’re exercising not just for your health, but to burn calories as well. The Water Boy was right…. and his mama was too. Medulla Oblongata what?
Misconception # 3: You need pre-workout energizers and fat burners to break through your fitness/weight loss plateau. Well, mama’s wrroooong again (sorry, it was on TV last night). Look, the N0 explode crap that’s out there, just leave it on the shelf. It’s loaded with a bunch of junk that I don’t trust. If you want a pre-workout pick-me-up, have a cup of Joe 1 hour prior to your training session. The reason for the 1 hour prior is because that’s about when the caffeine effect is at it’s peak. As for the fat burner thing, I’m hoping that no one reading this actually takes that stuff. It’s all bull and only has the potential to harm you (CLA might have a case, but that’s debatable). Here’s the thing, even if these things did work (which they don’t or we’d all be ripped) they would only do such a minimal amount that you’d likely not even notice. If you want to break through your plateau, don’t look to pills. Look to your lifestyle. Are you getting adequate sleep? Are you stressed? How’s your diet look (yes, even on the weekends)? Have you been doing the same workouts over and over now for months? The supplement stuff is the ultimate example of putting the cart before the horse. It’s the absolute LAST thing you should be considering.
So there you go, a few more myths dispelled. I’m sure I’ll get a comment from someone about the no carbs post-workout thing. Probably somewhere along the lines of, “but the body is primed at that moment to…..”. Remember, I’m talking about fat loss as that’s what most folks are looking for. Hope it didn’t come off too negative, I just wanted to get it out there! Have a great day you beautiful people, you.
Til next time…