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Post-workout shake: Science or silliness?

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5ksandcabernets: Post-workout shake: Science or silliness?


Friday, June 13, 2008

Post-workout shake: Science or silliness?

When I was exclusively a weight lifter 10 years ago, I always bought into the fact that after a workout, you needed a protein shake with the right amount of carbs and protein to "refuel" our muscles.

Now that I am a runner _ and as a competitive as I am I am always looking for an edge _ I have bought into the same mantra: After a tough workout in the heat or a run of more than an hour, I make myself a shake with the magic 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Well, I don't actually make it. Endurox or Accelerade makes it.

I've never had a way to figure out of this stuff has ever helped me. But I figure that since its touted all over the running and fitness magazines and promoted in the running stores that it must be a good thing.

And maybe all that hocus-pocus doesn't do squat, says a recent high-brow story in the New York Times titled Real Thought for Food for Long Workouts. The writer talks to two researchers who do not regularly use protein bars or shakes. They just eat real food. They say athletes get caught up in all the marketing and think protein shakes are magic.

One of the scientist quoted in the story who studies muscle metabolism and was once a competitive swimmer says, "It does seem to me that as a group, athletes are particularly gullible."

The bloggers the Science of Sport have been debating that very point (Success in a pill: As athletes, are we really gullible?. You can get most, if not all, of the nutrition you need from eating regular food. Yet, the bloggers wrote, "...if an athlete truly believes that taking these pills will enhance their performance, then they probably will, and again this is the placebo effect, but an effect nonetheless."

Head scratch. Nose wrinkle. Sigh.

I like placebos. Especially when they are lemon-lime or fruit-punch flavored.



Blogger rundangerously said...


happy friday the 13th! i just posted reply to your tag:

June 13, 2008 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger rundangerously said...


regarding the post, i read the article in ny times last week. i do buy into what those guys concluded from their research.

as a calories in, calories out kinda guy, my view is to replace fluids lost asap, then add in the calories. not sure how important it is to focus on the actual mix of carbs/protein.

as long as our bodies replenish the energy stores, it's a good thing!

June 13, 2008 at 3:06 PM  
Anonymous Nat said...

I love my post workout shakes -- I know it would be better to eat real food. But they are so damned tasty! :)

June 13, 2008 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I tend to only use "fake" food as fuel when I'm actually in the process of running (gels, shot blocks, sports beans, etc), and that's only because it's hard to carry a baked potato with you while you run!

June 16, 2008 at 9:47 AM  

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