Why Runners are Obsessed with Chocolate Milk (How Runners make the Post-Workout Simpler)
Heart pounding, legs burning, a runner reaches the final stretch of his race. With an all out burst of speed he crosses the finish line. His legs are rubbery as he stumbles to the scoring table and then off to a cooler in the team tent. Thrusting a hand into the cooler, he grabs up his post-run beverage—chocolate milk.
Runners have a long-standing history with chocolate milk that is actually supported by nutritional science. A pint of chocolate milk contains about twelve grams of protein, thirty grams of carbohydrates, and a few grams of fat. This is an adequate balance of macronutrients after a workout.
Building muscle and recovering requires the body to synthesize proteins. Proteins are large molecules in our systems that perform vital functions. Some of the building blocks for proteins, amino acids, are naturally created in our bodies. The rest are salvaged from the protein we eat.
Carbohydrates serve a dual function. The first function is replenishing energy stores. Carbs are broken down into sugars during digestion and stored as glycogen, a starchy molecule readily available to once again become sugar when our body needs energy. The second function is helping proteins enter our cells to be used. The presence of sugar in the bloodstream triggers insulin release. Insulin signals cells to take in sugar, take in amino acids, and synthesize more protein.
Fats are equally important for recovery, but they are required in much smaller quantities. Fats are composed of lipids. Lipids serve as transportation molecules and give structural strength to cells. Fats can also be used as a slow, sustainable energy source. A few grams of fat are plenty for a post-workout snack.
Getting nutrients after a workout doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Take a page from the runner’s playbook and grab a chocolate milk.
By Brock Crystal
What do you think of when you hear the word “electrolyte”? Most likely what comes to mind is sugary, expensive and popular sports drinks. They claim to provide us with necessary electrolytes to power us through workouts and keep us hydrated. But what is an electrolyte? Why do you need them? What happens when we have an electrolyte imbalance? Let’s dive in!
An electrolyte is a chemical in the body that regulates bodily functions. They include sodium, calcium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium. Your nerves and muscles depend greatly on these chemicals doing their job and staying in a normal concentration range on the inside and outside of your cells!
Essentially, these electrolytes are responsible for maintaining fluid balance in your body, they play a vital role in muscle contraction (including your heart!), and some also play a role in building protein. This is why you need them. Without calcium and sodium, your muscles will not contract, and you definitely won’t be having a very good workout that day if that’s the case.
So what causes an electrolyte imbalance? Generally a loss of fluid will be the culprit. Loss of fluid can be from sweating or from being sick. This can lead to muscle spasms, weakness, lethargy, and some other serious side effects. Not good!
The good news is, if an electrolyte imbalance occurs due to working out, it’s relatively easy to restore your body back to normal. Yes, those sports drinks will help, but they aren’t the BEST source to replace electrolytes. Food such as bananas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, and pineapple are all great sources to maintain electrolytes.
We take in a lot of these electrolytes every day through the food we eat. Imbalances happen but if you maintain a healthy diet and constant fluid intake throughout the day, with small sips of water or sports drink during your workout, your electrolytes will be balanced and happy!
By Jared Bradford
It’s no secret: exercise can make you feel better. It can boost your mood, confidence, self-esteem, and can help you achieve personal goals and challenges in your life. That being said, what if exercise could alleviate, halt, and reverse, depression and anxiety?
Exercise works to ease depression and anxiety by releasing and enhancing the effect of endorphins. Endorphins improve immunity, reduce perception of pain, and improve mood. Over 19 million people deal with depression ranging from mild to severe. Can we use exercise to turn this around?
A study was done in 1999 and was published in Archives of Internal Medicine. It divided 156 men and women with depression in to three groups. One group took part in regular, structured exercise, a second group took an SSRI (Anti-Depressant), and a third group did both. After 16 weeks, depression had eased in all three groups. Their scores on a depression rating scales were essentially identical. What could this mean?
The study suggests that if you wish to avoid drugs, exercise may be a suitable alternative. The study also proved that SSRI’s such as Zoloft worked quicker to alleviate depression in comparison to the group that only exercised. However, a follow-up study showed the effects of exercise on depression lasted longer. That is, those who stopped taking their SSRI were far more likely to relapse in comparison to those who stopped exercising.
Exercise can be anything from lifting weights, running, playing sports, to walking; as long it is structured and repeated routine. This could be why CrossFit is such a powerful tool. Not only do we use all forms of exercise, we do it in a supportive, loving community in which every person can do the same work out and feel that same satisfaction at the end of the work out.
By Jared Bradford
Do This Exercise To Be More Explosive
For every barbell movement, a level of explosiveness needs to be present. You need to be able to explode out of the bottom of a squat, to perform a deadlift or to perform a power clean or snatch you need to have explosive hips. Nearly all of our power and explosiveness comes from our hips. So, to get more explosiveness and power for your power clean, for example, you should do more power cleans at increasingly heavier weights. That’s true, but let’s talk about an exercise that will greatly improve explosive power, and it doesn’t require touching a barbell!
Let’s continue using the power clean example. In a power clean, there’s an aggressive extension, followed by an immediate flexion in your hips. Those same movements in your hips are present in a box jump, just without a barbell. You can train explosiveness without worrying about the technique of performing a clean!
There are tons of different box jump variations. You can just do them bodyweight, you can wear a weighted vest, start from a seated position, or even hold dumbbells. By holding dumbbells, the arm swing is taken out of the movement and you rely solely on hip drive and leg power. What is most important is that you follow a progressive program. Start by finding a 1RM box jump, then in the following weeks perform 6 sets of 3 at 75%, and then 5 sets of 2 at 85% before retesting a 1RM.
Jumping is the foundation of explosive power. If you want to see improved barbell movements, performing box jumps may give you an extra boost!
By Jared Bradford