Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Recovery Drink

As most of you are aware, I commute approximately 50miles a week and also like to experience some more entertaining mileage off road :p My regular, twice daily hack has been a great help acquiring a base level of fitness but the downside is that by the end of the week my legs really struggle to crank. I usually start to feel heavy, tired legs around Thursday and some Fridays can take a real effort to haul my lardy commuter back home :x I initially thought that my body would adapt to the mileage but after several years without a car, it appears not :(

Diet; I've tried to ensure that I was chowing plenty of fish (protein) and pasta/spuds (carbs) but these "regular" foods just don't seem to provide any benefit. I still had plenty of energy so figured that my diet was ok, but my thighs still ached. Having a regular (mundane) and repetitive routine means that I can try altering something and see what happens over the subsequent weeks. I've even backed off charging into/back from work which helped a little.

Recovery? During a dull moment, I decided to "Google" and after digesting (no pun intended) a number of sport journals they seemed to suggest that perhaps I wasn't giving myself sufficient opportunity to recover. I typically sleep 7-8hrs a night and perhaps I should try to get a a little more but you know what it's like when you get into a good book, magazine, movie, etc. I figured that "recovery" might be the key 'cos if I'm out of the saddle for a wkend, I often feel fully recharged for that dreaded Monday morning blat into the office. Anyhow, I checked out the High5 Protein recovery drink that a few MTB'ers appeared to rate over on the STW forum. - which appeared to offer a more level headed approach rather than biased marketing blurb.

Hijacked from the High5 website; "Exercise initially weakens the body, depleting energy stores and damaging muscle & connective tissue. Recovery is a re-building process, where your body is re-fuelled and damage to muscle & connective tissue is repaired, making it stronger in the process (adaptation). Improvements in fitness are not made during exercise, but during recovery. Maximising Recovery is crucial to reaching and maintaining the highest level of fitness."

I've been sceptical about energy drinks since my gut doesn't seem to be able to process them and any taken during excercise typically give me cramps :( However, this recovery mix is taken after excercise and at the end of a particularly heavy legged wk I was encouraged to place an order.

Tasty? The mixture doesn't look very appealing but the "berry" mix tastes pretty good, even when stirred into water. I was also relieved to discover that there's also no bitter after taste or nasty sweetness. Their other flavours appear to require a milk base but I figured water based meant that I could better control the dreaded calorie intake.

Does it work? After a few wks dutifully glug'g the mix after my MTB rides, I think it's safe to say that I'm now experiencing hardly any thigh ache :) Sure I know that I rode hard or far the night before but nothing like before. I even managed a ballastic evening training ride last wk, tearing minutes off my previous best and tens of minutes off my last, lack lustre ride over the same course - without any aches or pains. After the mega climbing experience of the recent Peaks, my legs weren't at all wobbly on Monday mornings commute :thumbu

I suppose it's possible that my current "feel good" factor could be purely down to something else but I'll keep ya posted over the coming wks...