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Recovery drink is BS

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Recovery drink is BS

Old 06-20-15, 08:29 PM
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rousseau
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Recovery drink is BS

For MAMILS like, let's be honest, 95% of the posters on this forum.

I drank the koolaid for years. I'd finish every ride off with a chocolate milk, and, I'll be honest, some kind of muffin or pastry in accompaniment. If not a banana. Or two. Or whatever. I felt virtuous about getting those carbs in during that "post-ride window," and it tasted good, and hey, I loved that line about "riding as much as I do so I can eat as much as I like."

So I rewarded myself. After every ride. And never lost any weight.

To those who are seriously training, fair enough. But for those of us sitting around in offices who ride for exercise and fun, doing two and three-hour rides that are maybe 10% strenuous and the rest varying degrees of mild to moderate effort, three, four or five days a week, there is no reason that you can't just eat your three square meals a day, and maybe nosh on a granola bar during a ride where you're breathing heavier for longer periods.

Crikey, the reason my body has never really learned to subsist on my own body fat is that I never gave it a chance to. I don't train with power or use a heart rate monitor, so I don't take that side of it very seriously, but the eating part? The "recovery" part? I sure as heck took that seriously. Once those endorphins start rushing through your body and you feel high, all restraint goes by the wayside. And really, what's nicer than a tall glass of chocolate milk and a "healthy harvest" muffin after two hours on the bike? It's a glorious feeling, right?

But it kept me fat. No more, though. From now on I'll take a granola bar with me if I expect to be out there for three or more hours, or if there are lots of hills, etc. But after the ride, I'm just coming straight home and drinking water. And then having dinner an hour or two later (I eat late). That's it. Because I'm not racing or training. I'm just doing a little bit of exercise.

It doesn't require an IV feeding tube.
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Old 06-20-15, 08:58 PM
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I dunno about all that muscle building mumbo jumbo but a choc milk with a scoop of protein powder after a ride keeps me from emptying the refrigerator a few hours later.
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Old 06-20-15, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by znomit View Post
I dunno about all that muscle building mumbo jumbo but a choc milk with a scoop of protein powder after a ride keeps me from emptying the refrigerator a few hours later.
Add some fresh fruit into that mix - bananas, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
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Old 06-20-15, 09:34 PM
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You have to count your calories. You're never going to lose weight if your intake is greater that you outtake.

I lost 30 lbs this spring. 217 to 187. I bought a fitbit to keep track of my approximate calories burn during the day, added my bike rides in (went with a conservative 400 k/cal per hour, 1100km so far) and set my daily calorie deficit at -1000 calories, or 2 lbs a week. I lost those 2 lbs a week and then some. You have to measure all you portions. No guess work.

I switched my beer up to Molson 67, drank only water, and limited my fast food to Subway, ham on whole wheat, no cheese, all veggies and only mustard for sauce.

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Old 06-20-15, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by znomit View Post
I dunno about all that muscle building mumbo jumbo but a choc milk with a scoop of protein powder after a ride keeps me from emptying the refrigerator a few hours later.
I agree if I eat something right when I get home I tend to eat less later. If I don't, I find myself eating bigger meals later.
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Old 06-20-15, 09:42 PM
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I'm not one of those guys that watches everything he eats before/during/after rides, but I have found that drinking a bottle or two of Nuun after rides really helps preventing muscle cramps/spasms while sleeping.

Cheap, easy, and it works.
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Old 06-20-15, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post

It doesn't require an IV feeding tube.
Thanx for the visual.

If you ride beyond two hours, definately take a banana on the ride. Definately grab a protein source later, especially before bed. If you are "just" riding 2 hours, the need for a recovery drink is minimal unless it's a 2hr climb in the rockies (so to speak).

You have made an interesting observation in saying you werent letting your body to feed off it's own fat stores. I think you are on your weigh (sorry) to cutting weight effectively.
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Old 06-20-15, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by rbk_3 View Post
You have to count your calories.
I cannot count calories. I've done it once or twice in my life, and it was torture both times. Mostly because I plateaued after ten pounds, so I gave up in frustration.

I'm almost fifty. I know that counting calories is something that I cannot do for the rest of my life. I need to adopt positive and healthy eating habits, which I'm in the process of doing, and I need to cut out the daily chocolate milk and muffin, which I was justifying because of my riding.

It was stupid of me to do that. I freely admit it.
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Old 06-20-15, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
If you are "just" riding 2 hours, the need for a recovery drink is minimal unless it's a 2hr climb in the rockies (so to speak).
See, that's the thing. I was eating post-ride as if I'd just conquered Alpe d'Huez, as if my body would cease to function if I didn't ingest those 400 tasty calories within a half-hour of stepping off the bike. It was delicious and satisfying, but so very, very unnecessary.

I'm just learning this now. How are you supposed to allow your body to access your fat stores if you fill it with food all the time, especially if you're doing a lot of easier rides without too much heavy breathing, which by definition is the perfect time to get energy from fat instead of glycogen?
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Old 06-20-15, 11:20 PM
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nevermind.

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Old 06-20-15, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
See, that's the thing. I was eating post-ride as if I'd just conquered Alpe d'Huez, as if my body would cease to function if I didn't ingest those 400 tasty calories within a half-hour of stepping off the bike.
400 Cals of carbs isn't going to hurt you if you've just finished burning 1600 Cals. Even at a moderate intensity you'll still be burning carbs that need to be replenished. The problem is the chocolate milk and muffin you described is probably more like 600 to 700 Cals.


Eating immediately the ride isn't the problem, it's the other food you need to limit.
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Old 06-20-15, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
See, that's the thing. I was eating post-ride as if I'd just conquered Alpe d'Huez, as if my body would cease to function if I didn't ingest those 400 tasty calories within a half-hour of stepping off the bike. It was delicious and satisfying, but so very, very unnecessary.

I'm just learning this now. How are you supposed to allow your body to access your fat stores if you fill it with food all the time, especially if you're doing a lot of easier rides without too much heavy breathing, which by definition is the perfect time to get energy from fat instead of glycogen?
Unlike you, i do train pretty hard. I might be on the bike for only two hours but it could be two hours doing trainer intervals at 85% intensity which based on my power meter and assuming I have typical metabolic efficiency means I might burn 1000 cal in a 2 hour ride. Yep, I drink a recovery drink, in the morning it's a mocha made with skim milk. 125 cals. (I'm small) The ride is fasted, so I'm still getting a big calorie deficit from it. Who knows if I'm doing it right, everyone seems to remark upon how well I recover. Maybe it's what I'm doing, maybe it's just genetics. But if you're training, you're breaking down muscle and your body needs the stuff with which to rebuild it.

So the fact that you're not riding hard enough to warrant a recovery drink (I don't have one either after a recovery ride, say), does not make recovery drinks BS. It just means you were doing it wrong, using them inappropriately and compounding the error with a muffin.
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Old 06-21-15, 05:30 AM
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Rousseau, welcome to the real world. No training, dietary, or nutritional generic advice can substitute for your own body's experience. Now that you know what you cannot do successfully, it is time to find out what you can. Since you are finishing your rides not too long before dinner, there is no reason that a protein-rich main meal then cannot provide the building blocks for muscle rebuilding. Play the carbs and energy things by ear until you get it right for the remainder of the evening and have what it takes for the next ride. As for fat...what's that?
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Old 06-21-15, 05:39 AM
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If you're training to lose weight cycling is a great way to do it because you can spend so much time in the saddle, much more than, say, running. However, eating back those calories with a glass of chocolate milk and giant muffin is sort of a wasted effort. Yes, it's delicious and very enjoyable. But there's no free lunch here. You don't get to lose weight, get lean, and eat everything you want.

I think the beverage industry invented that recovery drink BS. Replacing your electrolytes? C'mon. Eat good food. And unless you can't chew your food you shouldn't be drinking your calories either.
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Old 06-21-15, 06:08 AM
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When I get to spend 3 hours in the saddle most days of the week I tend to loose weight what ever I do. I'm not hungry until about an hour after I go off the bike, but I'm thirsty and I can eat a banana or someting light. When I start on the fourth hour I tend to be tired, if I eat something then it helps. When I spend all day on the bike it's usually for the enjoyment as much as anything else, not pushing speed or time limits.
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Old 06-21-15, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I think the beverage industry invented that recovery drink BS.
I don't know if they invented it, but they certainly have capitalized on it. The OP makes some good points, but drops the ball in his conclusions.

Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post
...Who knows if I'm doing it right, everyone seems to remark upon how well I recover. Maybe it's what I'm doing, maybe it's just genetics. But if you're training, you're breaking down muscle and your body needs the stuff with which to rebuild it.

So the fact that you're not riding hard enough to warrant a recovery drink (I don't have one either after a recovery ride, say), does not make recovery drinks BS. It just means you were doing it wrong, using them inappropriately and compounding the error with a muffin.
Well said! I've done it wrong, and I've done it right. There is a mentality among those new to or marginally engaged in cycling, which is promoted by marketing, that to be a cyclist you need to ____________. This often get's translated into eating a lot more than necessary. That combined with previously well embedded (average North American diet) bad eating habits and you have what the OP is talking about.

Counting calories is a great way to get this in check for a lot of people, and with today's technology it is beyond easy. You can set up an account with MyFitnessPal to log an count your calories. You can link that with you Garmin account that will estimate calories burned from exercise--easy peasy! Accountability is a key for most people. You can track your caloric intake and weight side by side with the Garmin mobile app with hardly any effort. Accountability and motivation in one simple tidy little package.

Or, you can just rant on the 41...

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Old 06-21-15, 06:41 AM
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I thought this thread was gonna be about beer.

You should try it, works great.
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Old 06-21-15, 06:42 AM
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When I spend 3 hours in the saddle most days of the week it's for the enjoyment I get from pushing and testing myself. It's pretty hard work. Eating/drinking some carbs and protein afterward is relatively easy, so if it has the potential to help, why not?

Beer, like NSAIDs, suppresses the natural inflammatory response responsible for rebuilding muscles after strenuous exercise, so is contraindicated for max performance gains....unfortunately.
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Old 06-21-15, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
If you're training to lose weight cycling is a great way to do it because you can spend so much time in the saddle, much more than, say, running
As a long time runner and cyclist, cycling by comparison doesn't promote weight loss. Cycling is filled with a history of false notions and beliefs and the need to eat is one of those. Compare the food stops at a century versus a marathon. Cyclists are told to eat, eat, eat. On the other hand runners might consume one or two gels over 26 miles or maybe four hours (I'm considering serious runners here)

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Old 06-21-15, 07:12 AM
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Interesting thread. My only experience with recovery occurred several years ago. I was riding quite a bit, losing weight, but not improving in hill climbing or speed. Had a meeting with the Physical Therapist at work and went over eating habits. She had only one recommendation, consume a high protein bar or gel within 30 minutes after riding to prevent cannibalization of muscle tissue. OK, I tried it. It worked. So, yes I consume a protein bar after a ride. Otherwise, I use common sense and let my body indicate what works. Seems to be working.
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Old 06-21-15, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
As a long time runner and cyclist, cycling by comparison doesn't promote weight loss. Cycling is filled with a history of false notions and beliefs and the need to eat is one of those. Compare the food stops at a century versus a marathon. Cyclists are told to eat, eat, eat. On the other hand runners might consume one or two gels over 26 miles or maybe four hours (I'm considering serious runners here)
Im assuming you mean 26 miles? That's four hours for your average runner? Most cyclists can get away with barely eating for four hours too, if they're riding a moderate pace. But if a cyclist finishes a century around 4 hours, he/she is riding very very intensely & will need to eat.

Its very simple. It's not about whether you "should" eat while cycling or whether you "shouldn't". It's about the duration & intensity of your cycling relative to your personal max and the total amount of carbohydrate you have stored in your muscles & liver. How well-trained you are to the effort- the better trained you are, the more you will be able to metabolize fat.

Riding intensely for >3-4 hours: eat on bike, as much as you can (you still won't be able to keep up with calorie demands, maybe you can get 200-250 food cal/hr into you, beyond that digestion while riding is iffy). If you're sweating a lot, replace electrolytes. No matter what, replace water. Recovery drink afterwards no matter what the duration of the ride, the utility of a recovery drink relates to the intensity of the ride, ie whether you broke down muscle.

Riding intensely for <3-4 hours: eat if you're hungry. Replace electrolytes if sweating but you have a good amount of wiggle room & will probably get away with just water. Recovery drink post-ride.

Riding non-intensely you can eat & drink less. The longer the ride, the more any deficits will catch up with you.

Organized centuries may have a wide variety of foods but that doesn't mean you need to eat it all.
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Old 06-21-15, 07:45 AM
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Yes because you're unable to control yourself its wrong for everyone.
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Old 06-21-15, 07:56 AM
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I was in the team bus at the TdF and the PhD nutritionist was preparing the recovery drinks for all the team members. Now, that's serious riding that requires more than just a recovery drink. The rest of us, not so much.
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Old 06-21-15, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
As a long time runner and cyclist, cycling by comparison doesn't promote weight loss. Cycling is filled with a history of false notions and beliefs and the need to eat is one of those. Compare the food stops at a century versus a marathon. Cyclists are told to eat, eat, eat. On the other hand runners might consume one or two gels over 26 miles or maybe four hours (I'm considering serious runners here)
I guess I didn't expand on my point here. Most runners, myself included, don't run for five or six hours straight, or even two to three hours for that matter, unless you're marathon training, but I can spend four hours on the saddle, burning up 1500-2000 calories in one sitting, and then perhaps do it again the next day.

Physical activity is NOT the key to weight loss; your diet is. But any physical activity promotes weight loss, period. Yes running burns more calories per mile/hour, whatever, but you can't do it as long as cycling.
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Old 06-21-15, 08:37 AM
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My lay opinion, if you're trying to restore glycogen stores and stimulate an increase then it's most effective to have those calories right away. But more than 150 or 200 in the first hour after exercise is pointless. And of course some protein if you're building muscles. But really, these are two different things (though some overlap) and both different from losing weight. If I'm mostly cycling through my glycogen stores for example and topping those off with a little extra every time, I don't think I'd be losing much weight.

So yeah, I agree that the recovery drink thing is generally BS. Unless you have a power-calibrated structured training plan and it's part of the plan, and the discipline to resist rationalizing a extra helping of real or junk food after having it.
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