Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Eight greats

After a run or workout... well, actually after a run since that's all I do (I hate weight lifting), I usually have some sort of snack afterward, within 30 minutes. Usually it's a fruit and it alternates between oranges, apples and bananas.

An apple used to be standard but then I started getting burned out on them so I threw in other fruits.

But I always wonder what the best foods are to eat after workouts. I just assume fruit is good because that's what I've seen athletes consume after workouts or training sessions or whatever. But I don't know for sure.

Well, The Mag has a list of eight good fitness foods, foods to eat after workouts that target specific needs.

Here are the foods and what they help in:

Pineapple and Papaya - Muscle recovery
Salmon - Cardiovascular fitness
PB&J or Pasta w/Meat Sauce - Muscle building and repair
Pork Tenderloin - waist-trimming
Eight ounces of chocolate milk - Hydration
Coffee - Pain relief
Cold Water - Endurance
Green Tea - muscle recovery

There is a bit more info on each on the link above, but I wanted to focus on my own specific needs. I'd say of the eight things above, I am most interested in cardiovascular fitness and muscle recovery, followed by endurance and hydration.

Of course, I do not like salmon. Which is a shame. According to the article, an Australian study "found that cyclists who took fish oil for eight weeks had lower heart rates and used less oxygen during intense bicycling than a control group did."

Lower heart rates are great. I'm fascinated by heart rates and I firmly believe that if you get to know your body and get to know the way your heart rates alternate during workouts, you will maximize your workouts and they will be more effective. I know my heart rate well enough to know when I am close to exhaustion, when I have more to give and exactly at what point I hit the wall. Usually, the wall is at about 185 for me, if I've been running for a while. During a long and sustained run, if I climb up to 182, 183 I start to feel it but when I get to 185 - WHAM - hello wall. My max heart rate is 187 is my max heart rate so it's pretty close to that.

Anyway, you want lower heart rates during workouts. This is a good thing. It builds up your stamina, allows you to work out for longer periods of time and drives weight loss.

The article says that the good stuff from fish oil is incorporated into heart cells, thus providing the added boost. It suggests taking fish oil pills on a daily basis to do the same.

As for muscle recovery, I don't drink tea but I like pineapple. The pineapple and papaya have enzymes that break down protein for digestion and have anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Unfortunately for me, I don't necessarily have a lot of pain issues. I guess it comes and goes, and when it comes it's nipple pain. Coffee apparently helps reduce muscle soreness. Still, it's good to know that I can have coffee after a run and it will be beneficial. Usually after a run I drink lots of water but sometimes I'll drink coffee once I've quenched my initial thirst.

As far as the cold water, the article says this: "cyclists who drank about 30 ounces of a chilled drink in the half hour before riding in a hot, humid environment-and smaller amounts as they rode-were able to bike 23 percent longer than riders who downed lukewarm liquids. Drinking cold water may be the most direct way to reduce core body temperature, so it takes you longer to heat up and slow down."

That makes a lot of sense. I wonder if the same holds true for runners. But 30 ounces in a half hour? That's a lot of water! Not only would I risk feeling bloated and maybe hearing the water swish around inside (that's always fun) but it might make me feel like going to the bathroom. I don't often get that feeling when I run but when it happens, it's terrible!

Still, cold water on days like today, even in the mornings (Wednesday is supposed to be 73 degrees at 8 am, with temperatures topping at 97 degrees between 2-3 pm), it might be good to down a really cold glass or three of water before heading out on the run.


Angie Eats Peace said...

I have heard the chocolate milk is the best recovery drink. It has the perfect balance of carbs and protein.

Amanda said...

Great info. I love a whole wheat english muffin with 2 egg whites inbetween and some fruit. Gives me great energy and doesn't ruin the work I've just done. :)

Lissaloo said...

lol, know I know why I've been craving coffee! :)

Willoughby said...

Great info, Luis! My son is playing football this year and he never seems to want to eat after practice because he's hot and tired. I'll have to show him this list. I wonder, too, what the best food to eat before a game would be. Pasta, maybe, for the carbs?