One of the things which many of us do, quite rightly, before exercise is to go through our warm-up routines. This might involve a little brisk walking, a quick few miles on the stationary bike, or a nice steady slow-paced jog, to get the muscles warm and to quicken the pulse, so your body is ready for action. A few stretches to loosen everything up – although some experts say that stretches should only be done after training – and you’re ready to run. But what about after your training session? If you train as a group, it’s easy just to hang around and chat with your friends about your run or cycle session. The truth is, though, that this period is extremely important for all athletes, in order to recover properly. Doing a cool down and some deep stretches can help your muscles flush away lactate and remain flexible; but nutrition is also important. I drink ‘For Goodness Shakes’ recovery drinks as soon as I can after a hard session to help with hydration, and replenish muscle glycogen stores.
When To Drink Protein Shakes
For Goodness Shakes are basically protein shakes, containing whey and casein protein, which deliver fast and slow release of amino acids into the blood respectively. The amino acids help you to build and repair muscles broken down through strenuous training, and they are the same ingredients you will find in milk, so there’s nothing unnatural about them. These high protein shakes, each containing 16 grams of protein, also contain substantial carbohydrate content in order to re-energize you after long sessions – I normally only drink one after a training routine lasting longer than 1 hour. The combination of protein and carbohydrate has been developed for optimum recovery (3:1 carb/protein) and should be consumed within 30 minutes of exercise for best results.
It is hard for many people – myself included – to dive straight into a meal after a gut-churning super-hard workout. Unfortunately this is precisely the time when our bodies are screaming out for nutrition to feed the muscles. It is also worth bearing in mind that nutrient timing is crucially important if you are exercising to lose weight too. So, eating a meal within an hour of exercise redirects our body’s energy partitioning towards muscle protein and glycogen synthesis. Eating the same meal at another time of the day is more likely to lead to our body storing the energy as fat. Definitely something to bear in mind, so you can schedule your daily meals for after short workouts.
Are Protein Shakes Good For You?
Some people shun all sports nutrition products, claiming that they are gimmicks, or that protein shakes are bad for you. But often they don’t have a lot of evidence to back up their assertions, and in many cases, these products are developed by companies with huge amounts of support from sportspeople and sports scientists and nutritionists.
It is true that some claims of sports products can be slightly ‘over the top’. For example, many supplements for muscle-building probably leave us thinking that if we guzzle enough of it, we’ll end up rapidly doubling the size of our muscles! However, and this also applies to For Goodness Shakes, much of the protein content in many supplements will not end up being used for muscle protein synthesis. In fact, in Western societies, most of us already eat enough dietary protein to do this job for us.
What is important is to eat – or drink – protein with carbs very soon after exercise to ensure we are not laying down yet another layer of fat on our bellies. Increased protein increases feelings of satiety – quelling hunger – but is also much more difficult for the body to convert to fat than is carbohydrate. So employing a shake such as one of the For Goodness Shakes products directly after exercise is a good way to help stay lean…as long as you don’t then wait two hours and have a huge meal! I generally use my shake as a meal in its own right, together with some fruit and a small handful of nuts.
For more detailed information on nutrient timing and a host of other great information about getting and staying lean, I highly recommend that you read Racing Weight by triathlete and endurance sports nutrition expert Matt Fitzgerald (also available from Amazon UK).
Why For Goodness Shakes?
My first contact with the For Goodness Shakes range was when I bought a copy of Runner’s World magazine, and there was a free sachet of the powdered version included. I thought I’d give it a try after a 10K training run, and found that, even though the banana flavored drink didn’t taste very much like a real banana (these drinks never do though!) it also wasn’t vile. In fact, I enjoyed the taste, and having seen some of the lumpy concoctions you get from other brands where you mix a powder with milk or water, I was extremely impressed that the FGS sachet mixed to a smooth drink with just a couple of shakes.
To be fair, I have never tasted any of the other protein shake products, so I don’t have a comparison; of course FGS say in their sales patter that often, these drinks were foul, which is what prompted them to develop their range of very tasty options. I usually buy the bottled liquid versions these days, and mainly aim to get the superberry flavor, which is delicious. I had previously also tried the choc-malt version and although I found it really sickly the first time round, I have given it a reprieve this week, after two hefty reverse-brick training sessions which left me absolutely gagging for drinks, and choc-malt came to my rescue.
The only flavor I haven’t tried yet is the vanilla one, and since I normally buy my supplies at local supermarkets, I might not get to have a go on that one, since the store only seems to sell the superberry and choc-malt flavors.
Better Than Plain Milk?
One of my running buddies told me that the FGS superberry always seemed to upset his stomach, and since I suspected it was all in his mind, I told him that it was no different to flavored milk! He has continued to drink them, so maybe it was all a figment of his imagination.
But on a more serious note, you can definitely get protein and carbohydrate from milk, but you need to be a little bit careful because of the fat content. I tend to drink skimmed milk after a mini-session, so at least there’s very little fat content. But what you also get from For Goodness Shakes is the NutriMIX formula of vitamins and minerals, all designed to help athletes’s bodies recover properly from a monster sesh on the track or bike, and leave them ready for the next day’s graft – or as FGS likes to say: “Bring On Tommorow!”
You can find out tons more about their range, how it was developed, and the scientific results on the For Goodness Shakes website.
Of course, if you are not in the UK, it might be more difficult to find FGS products, and if you require ‘on the go’ powders rather than bottled liquid versions, then I have never seen the sachets in the supermarkets yet. In both these cases, Amazon may well be your saviour. Sachets and tubs of powder can be found on Amazon UK, and while at the time of writing no FGS products are available on Amazon US, they do occasionally show up there, so it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled, if you want to try them out.