Tag Archives: endurance

When Post-Workout Fueling Matters Most

If you’re like a lot of people, you might not feel like eating soon after an especially long or hard workout. And then you might well find yourself struggling on a much easier workout a day or two later, and wondering how you suddenly got so out of shape.

That’s because you didn’t take advantage of the recovery window—the period immediately after a workout when your body is most receptive to refueling. “Eating soon after a workout will support, strengthen, and protect the body’s ability to adapt to training and demand more out of training,” says Jackie Dikos, a sport nutritionist in Indianapolis and a two-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. Let’s look at when paying attention to the recovery window is most important, and how to easily take advantage of it.

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Fluids First

The top priority after any workout is rehydrating to replace the fluids and electrolytes you lose during even the shortest, easiest workout. Quickly returning your body’s fluid status to normal ensures good functioning the rest of the day, and a better workout tomorrow. Elite athletes such as this year’s Boston Marathon champion, Meb Keflezighi, are dedicated to immediate post-workout hydration. It’s the sort of habit that might not seem crucial on any given day, but that, over time, has a significant effect because of how often you feel better than you otherwise would have.

The First 30 Minutes

After long and/or hard workouts, you’ll recover more quickly if you take in some calories, and the sooner, the better. Research has found that, in the first 30 minutes post-workout, muscles are extraordinarily receptive to refueling—calories in the form of carbohydrates are converted to glycogen, your muscles’ stored form of carbohydrate, with up to 300% greater efficiency during this short period. Muscles’ sponge-like properties remain elevated up to 90 minutes after a workout, but start falling off after the first hour. (Hence the term “recovery window.”)

The ideal food during the recovery window contains 300-500 calories and has a carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of 4:1. The small amount of protein helps to speed glycogen resynthesis.

Who Needs it Most?

Dikos says that, while anyone who works out can benefit from paying attention to the recovery window, people who work out twice a day or do ambitious workouts over consecutive days should be most interested in recovery nutrition. At the least, you’ll want to be diligent about post-workout calories after your longest aerobic effort of the week, during which your muscles’ fuel stores are most drained. Harder workouts, such as a normal-length bike ride at a higher intensity, use more carbohydrates than easier workouts, so they’re also a good time to focus on recovery nutrition.

Taking advantage of the recovery window is especially important if you’ve felt low on fuel (as opposed to just normally fatigued) over the last part of a long workout. This includes athletes who do depletion rides or runs, in which you purposefully start a long workout without much in the gas tank in the hope of teaching your body to become more efficient at burning available energy stores. Doing these workouts occasionally, such as once a month, can be an effective training tool, but require special attention to post-workout nutrition so that your recovery isn’t delayed.

Simple Solutions

Some sport bars are formulated in the 4:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio. But many people are deterred by sport bars’ cost, the idea that it’s better to eat “real” food or a lack of interest in eating something so dense so soon after a long or hard workout.

Many people like chocolate milk as a convenient form of calories with some protein. As an alternative, Dikos recommends low-fat kefir, a fermented milk. Like chocolate milk, kefir provides carbohydrate, protein and electrolytes, but in addition, she says, “kefir contains beneficial live cultures to support a healthy gut and immune system for potentially exercise-induced immunosuppressed athletes. In addition, it is 99% lactose-free and better tolerated by those who have trouble digesting milk.”

Other quick mini-meals Dikos recommends: fruit and cottage cheese or Greek yogurt; a bowl of cereal; chicken noodle soup with crackers; a sandwich and piece of fruit; or a sweet potato topped with plain Greek yogurt.

Wait: What About Weight?

If one of your motivations to work out is weight control, all this talk of post-exercise refueling might seem counterproductive. After all, don’t you want to create a calorie deficit? Isn’t the recovery window just an excuse to snack?

“Recovery nutrition doesn’t necessarily mean adding snacks or calories to the day,” says Dikos. Her solution, which works well for busy people scheduling their workouts in conjunction with their many other responsibilities: “I suggest for workouts to occur just before the next main meal, such as prior to breakfast, lunch, or dinner, as to not add a significant calorie load while supporting recovery and weight-management goals.”

5 Fun Facts: Caffeine

Many people equate caffeine with coffee. But, as any decaf sipper can tell you, they’re not the same. Caffeine brings physical and mental benefits regardless of how you consume it. Here are five of our favorites.

Nuun Energy provides 40mg of caffeine per 16oz serving.

Nuun Energy provides 40mg of caffeine per 16oz serving.

1. CAFFEINE CAN BOOST YOUR ENDURANCE.

Many of the studies showing athletic help from caffeine focus on time to exhaustion, or how long you can maintain a certain level of performance, such as 85% of maximal heart rate. These studies consistently show a time-to-exhaustion boost of 6-12%. A related benefit is that caffeine has been shown to lower perceived effort at a given intensity level. That is, your heart rate and other physiological markers might be the same as if you hadn’t taken caffeine, but working out at that pace will feel easier. Result? You’re more likely to stay out on the road or trail longer.

2. Caffeine doesn’t dehydrate you.

It used to be common to warn athletes that caffeine was a diuretic, or something that resulted in water loss from the body. That’s now known not to be the case. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), for example, has issued statements clarifying that, over the course of 24 hours, caffeine doesn’t result in dehydration if you’re used to consuming caffeine. ACSM has also stated that, because caffeine isn’t a diuretic, drinks containing caffeine count toward meeting your daily fluid needs.

3. Caffeine can increase your mental focus.

Any college student pulling an all-nighter could tell you how caffeine can help you stay alert. For athletes, what’s important here is the clearer thinking and quicker decision making associated with caffeine. In some endurance events, that could take the form of better being able to stay focused on your goals as fatigue sets in. In other events, it could mean that little extra bit of hand-eye coordination that elevates your golf game, or leads to staying in the saddle on a bumpy mountain bike ride.

4. Caffeine can improve your mood.

We don’t mean the well-known short-term pick-me-up long associated with caffeine. We’re talking about findings such as a Harvard study, in which women who consumed caffeine were 15-20% less likely to report incidents of depression than women who avoided caffeine. And caffeine need not act alone in this area: In one recent study out of Sweden, people who were given caffeine and light therapy during the winter reported greater mood improvement than their fellow sunlight-starved Swedes who received only caffeine or light therapy, or neither.

5. Caffeine can improve your memory.

In a study published earlier this year, people looked at random images, then were given either caffeine or a placebo. Twenty-four hours later, they were tested on how well they recalled the images from the day before. Those who had consumed caffeine scored much higher on correct image recall, suggesting that the caffeine had helped them to more accurately consolidate their memories.

Nuun Energy: B Vitamins and Performance

What sets Nuun Energy apart from the Nuun Active Hydration you know and love is the combination of caffeine and B Vitamins that we added to the recipe. We already talked about the role caffeine can play in enhancing and elevating an athlete’s performance, but what about B Vitamins?

During sustained activity B Vitamins help your body turn fuel into energy.

During sustained activity B Vitamins help your body turn fuel into energy.

B Vitamins can elevate your performance.

There are eight total B Vitamins that exist, and most play a role in efficiently converting food into fuel. In Nuun Energy we used a blend of five B Vitamins, that work specifically with stored fuel (carbohydrates and fats), and help break them down to be used by working muscles. Also, we chose certain B Vitamins to help increase red blood cell production, which in turn helps deliver oxygen to working muscles.  And at the same time staying true to our roots, and only giving your body what it can handle at any given time.

And B Vitamins ARE ESPECIALLY USEFUL TO THE BODY WHEN consumed while exercising!

B Vitamins are water-soluble, meaning excessive intake can lead to your body to excrete the vitamins (via urine) rather than absorbing them efficiently. When exercising, the metabolic pathways that require B Vitamins for energy metabolism are stressed. Therefore, theoretically the need for B Vitamins may increase during exercise.

Nuun Energy helps your body sustain energy without experiencing peaks and valleys.

Nuun Energy helps your body sustain energy without experiencing peaks and valleys.

Some Energy Products Do Have Higher Levels of B Vitamins than Nuun Energy. But Why?

Many energy drinks on the market are loaded with sugars (natural and added), caffeine, and inadequate ratio of B Vitamins. Not to mention they are often loaded with upwards of 200% of Daily Value (DV) of any given vitamin. And given the nature of the vitamins, your body will use what it needs and the rest will just go to waste.

Nuun Energy Contains:

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 30% (.5 mg)

Niacin: 111% (18 mg)

Pyradoxine (Vitamin B6): 100% (2 mg)

Cobalamin (Vitamin B12): 100% (6 mcg)

Pantothenic Acid: 100% (10 mg)

What are the functions of each B Vitamin?

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2):

  • Provides energy production from carbohydrates (stored) & lipids (fats)
  • CoEnzyme for redox reactions (serves as catalyst for many energy producing chemical reactions within the body)

Niacin

  • Energy production from carbohydrates (stored)
  • Energy production from the synthesis of fat
  • Required for energy metabolism

Pyradoxine (Vitamin B6)

  • Aids in Glycogen breakdown
  • Development of Red Blood Cells

Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)

  • Formation of Red Blood Cells
  • Metabolism of Nervous Tissue

Pantothenic Acid

  • Fatty Acid metabolism
  • Breakdown of carbohydrates & fats (energy)
  • Production of Red Blood Cells

Nuun Energy delivers optimal hydration with essential nutrients to aid in cognitive function (caffeine) and naturally use your body’s fuel for energy.

 Additional Resources:
Institute of Medicine: DRI for Water-soluble vitamins: http://www.iom.edu/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/DRI_Vitamins.pdf

Elevate Your Performance with New Nuun Energy!

We know that athletes demand the most innovative products to help them achieve their personal goals, and we’re excited to announce the launch our new product to boost your performance!

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Elevate Your Performance

Here at Nuun we are healthy. We don’t do high-fructose anything. We are athletes.  And we need energy too. Why? Because we woke before the sun to get in some human-powered mileage before dressing our kids for school.  We ate lunch at our desks so we could spend our lunch-break breaking a sweat.  And we spent our evening packing for our weekend adventure instead of recharging our batteries on a couch. (And thanks but no-thanks on growing wings (so not-aero).)

Nuun Energy was created with the athlete in mind; it contains a unique blend of B Vitamins, caffeine, and electrolytes.   It contains zero added sugar, has a light refreshing taste and provides a low calorie source for optimal hydration + energy metabolism.

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Introducing Nuun Energy

Nuun has always been about hydration first; convenience, portability and environmental responsibility next.  But Energy has always been on our minds.  We’ve always wanted to deliver that extra boost to our athletes, while staying true to ourselves.  Now we’re here to tell you that we’ve done just that.

We‘ve taken our essential electrolyte mix and elevated it with a caffeine boost, and energizing B Vitamins.  No Sugar.  No space program. No 2000% of anything.  Nuun Energy provides the essentials for performance through balanced hydration and sustained energy.

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Why Use Nuun Energy?

HYDRATION: The electrolytes you need to make the most of your water

FASTER FUELING: B Vitamins to turn carbohydrates into accessible fuel

GET A LIFT: Caffeine levels energize your mind and body without the crash

LOW CALORIE: Zero added sugars, under 12 calories per serving

TASTE: Light and refreshing

PLANET-FRIENDLY: Available in our signature and environmentally friendly recyclable container

Nuun Energy is available in three flavors: Cherry Limeade, Wild Berry, and Lemon Lime. It comes in the same effervescent tablet as our other lines of product, and one tablet is recommended for 16 oz of water.

Look for future blogs on the benefits of B Vitamins & Caffeine, and how they can enhance your sport performance.  And for more information visit our product page to learn more!