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Real Food vs. Energy Bars and Sports Drinks

Here's a little food for thought: the biggest difference between eating engineered energy sports foods and real foods after your workout is convenience.

There are many "recovery products" on the market right now; scientifically researched products designed to deliver carbs and protein to muscles depleted after long training sessions. While it is true that muscles do need carbs and protein after exercise to repair themselves, many researchers believe the window of time to feed the muscles these macro nutrients is any where from two to four hours. This is ample time to find yourself a kitchen and make yourself some good old fashioned food.

To see how much protein and carbs you should eat during your recovery time,


The amounts of both nutrients are rather small. Muscle repair only requires about 10 to 15 grams of protein, the equivalent of two eggs. In terms of carbs, the body needs about one gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight (for us metrically challenged Americans 2.2 pounds roughly equals 1 kilogram) – I need about 60 grams of carbs. I can easily find that amount of carbs in an apple (31 grams of carbs), two slices of whole wheat toast (24 grams of carbs), and 6 ounces of vanilla flavored Greek yogurt (14 grams). Scramble up two eggs to go with my carbs and basically, I have a healthy breakfast, which is perfect after a long run.

Sometimes after a workout though, you just don't have the time or resources to make real food. In those cases, a Power Bar can come in handy. My point being, don't fall for the gimmicks and think you have to drink an Accelerade. Choose real food when you can. It is cheaper and less processed and tastes way better.


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