Category: Recovery

How Sleep Affects Your Athletic Performance and Recovery

Performance and Recovery

Sleep, or the lack of sleep, has a major impact on athletic performance, among other things. While many athletes are focused on things like finding the right energy bars to fit in with their caloric methods, they might be neglecting things like sleeping for the right amount of time.

What Does Sleep Do?

Sleeping is the body’s way of repairing itself and managing the information for the day. It’s like the late night filter that tosses out all the things you don’t need so that your body and brain aren’t full of useless information. It also helps repair tired muscles so that they can perform at their best on the next day. The recommended amount of sleep a person gets is 7-9 hours, but athletes in training should plan on sleeping more hours than that, since their bodies will need more healing and rest.

Performance Issues

Stanford University recently conducted a study to see how sleep affected performance in athletes. When athletes slept for 2 more hours than they normally did, their speed increased by 5%, while their free throw accuracy increased by 9%. Another study revealed that athletes who got a full night’s sleep experienced enhanced performance in the afternoon as opposed to the morning hours. While these studies touched on different details, it’s easy to see that sleep has a measurable impact on the performance of athletes, as well as an impact on what time of the day their performance is optimal.

Suggestions for Athletes

Just as athletes adjust their diets to include things like low-carb protein bars, they have to adjust their sleep schedule as well. If you are in training and therefore more active than usual, plan on going to bed a bit earlier. Remember that the body has to rest and repair while you sleep, so you need to give it ample time to do just that.

Avoid Sleep Aids

Sleep aids can impact the way you sleep and what your body does while sleeping. Instead of using sleep aids, consider developing a pattern that tells your body it’s time to go to sleep. Do the same thing every night to prepare your body for rest. You can even adjust your diet for this purpose. Just as you might eat energy bars to increase performance, consider drinking teas with natural relaxers to help relax the body and prepare it for sleep. Chamomile tea is one suggestion, but there are several other teas that also aid in relaxation.

Performance and Recovery

Sleep deprivation can reduce your level of performance, while added hours of sleep can increase it. You should always get a good night’s sleep, but when you are in training, it’s even more important to make sure you add a bit extra to compensate for the extra effort your body is putting forth. It’s especially important that you avoid chemicals that can impact your sleep at this time, like alcohol and caffeine. Treat your body right by giving it the proper sleep and nutrition it needs, and it will treat you right by performing to the standards you require.

Promax Nutrition gives people who want better bodies the protein, vitamins, and minerals they need in delicious, gluten-free, vegetarian snack bars.  To learn more about Promax Nutrition products, check us out online.

The Importance of Proper Form and Posture

Proper Form

Nutrition, a proper sleep schedule, and keeping hydrated are all important elements of maintaining a healthy body. A good meal can go a long way, but sometimes you need to tweak it and add a protein bar or something similar to your day to boost energy. Just like you tweak your diet, you may need to tweak your form and posture while exercising, not just so you don’t hurt yourself, but also so that you get more out of your workout.

Importance of Posture

Poor posture is not only unattractive; it can also be bad for your health—and not just your back. The structure of your body was developed the way it was because it has a specific function. Yes, it allows you to do specific activities, but it also protects you at the same time.

Consider your rib cage. It is designed to protect your internal organs from injury. Since the human body is so amazing, it doesn’t just rely on the rib cage, but other elements as well. For instance, when you go into shock, your limbs get cold because your body senses an emergency and is diverting everything to your organs. Likewise, when you don’t use good posture, your organs may be facing unnecessary pressure. That means you aren’t going to get the right amount of oxygen, blood flow, and other things that your body is trying to do to keep you healthy.

When you exercise, bad posture leads to improper positioning of the organs, so it may not just be your back that you are straining. When it comes to exercise, proper posture helps your body evenly displace weights and pressure so that the areas you are trying to work on get the maximum benefit rather than causing injuries.

Importance of Form

Consider your posture to be the foundation of everything you do, and your form to be the management of all the details in between. When you work out and your trainer tells you to adjust your form, it isn’t just to be strict, but to make sure that you get the benefits you’re looking for. For instance, squats might seem easier when your knees turn inward, but, if anything, they need to be facing more outward. This allows the weight to fall where it needs to, rather than making your back and knees take all the pressure of the squat.

One common mistake that people make is locking their joints. This is dangerous for several reasons. For one thing, there are major arteries in those areas, so that if you lock your knees for too long, you may pass out or lose vision. At the very least, you’re putting an unnecessary strain on your heart. It also means that the weights or exercises you are doing are putting a strain on the joints rather than working the muscles.

Before your next workout, have a chat with your trainer. Ask for tips on improving your form and your posture in general. Every activity you do can benefit your body if your form and posture are correctly managed. And don’t forget to supplement your newly improved workout with a delicious Promax protein bar while you’re at it.

The Deal with Sugar: Why It Isn’t as Scary as You Think

various types of sugar

If you look around the web these days, you’ll often see a lot of forums devoted to being anti-sugar. If you’re in a bookstore and browse the health section books, you’ll likely see several books devoted to revamping your diet to be void of all sugar. But why? What is society’s beef with sugar, anyway? The truth is, that there are some sugars that are good for you. In fact, there are some sugars that you need in order to properly recover while training with hard workouts.

What are the different kinds of sugar?

Let’s start with the basics. Not all sugar is created equal and so we want to review with you what each kind of sugar is and where it comes from.

Fructose: This is the natural sugar that is found in fruits. Each time you eat an apple or sprinkle some berries on top of yogurt, you’re treating yourself to a lovely dose of fructose.

Lactose: This is the kind of sugar that comes from milk products. Whether you’re drinking milk or eating cheese or yogurt, the sugar occurring in these items comes from lactose.

Sucrose: This is your general white table sugar. Raw sugar isn’t white like this is. The reason this sugar is white is because it’s been processed. This is the type of sugar that is considered bad because it spikes your insulin levels. When people talk about sugar being a leading cause of Type 2 Diabetes, this is the kind they’re referencing.

Each of these sugars is considered simple sugars or simple carbohydrates. Fructose is a monosaccharide, meaning it contains one molecule of sugar. Lactose and sucrose however, are disaccharides, meaning they contain two molecules.

So, are they bad to consume?

The short answer to this is no, but like everything, it’s best to be conscious and consume sugars in moderation. We advise people to stay away from processed sugar, like sucrose. However, natural simple sugars that come from fruit or milk products, fructose, and lactose, are perfectly safe to consume, and you need them.

Wait, I need sugar?

Yes, I know. It’s hard to believe. But, your body needs sugar, especially if you’re training and weight lifting. We’ve talked before about pre and post-workout nutrition and how protein and carbohydrates are important. Most people think of carbohydrates and sugar as two different things but really they are one in the same. Remember, simple carbohydrates are simple sugars.

When you work out, you’re using up your body’s glycogen, or stored energy, that your body has worked to keep aside for when it’s needed. The way that you obtain that energy is to eat simple sugars.

Because we want to make sure we’ve always got some energy in storage, it’s smart to eat something with sugar (or carbs) before your workout to prepare your body. But after your workout, you’ve used up a lot of that energy. After a workout do you ever notice that you feel a bit light-headed? This is because your body’s glycemic index is low. Everyone’s body reacts differently to amounts of sugar, but that’s why it’s a good idea to include some sugar with your post-workout snack or meal with your protein—so you control your insulin levels.

Head to the Farmer’s Market

Because summertime has arrived, it’s a great time to take advantage of natural sugars and incorporate more fruits into our diets and pre and post-workout regimented snacks. Here’s a list of what’s in season. Of course you can’t always get fresh fruit to fit sugar into your diet post-workout and if that’s the case, try taking a Promax bar with you on the go. If you can take advantage of fresh fruits though, we encourage you to try mixing up your routine by adding some new things you haven’t tried before.

Analysis and Use of Recovery Bars

Recovery bars are simply protein bars used for recovery after a workout. Though you could have anything with protein in it and dub it a recovery product, certain ingredients are proven to aid recovery more than others do. This is why eating recovery bars after a hard workout can be helpful when you are trying to build lean muscle. There are many factors to consider when choosing protein bars for recovery. If you decide to do this, you’ll need to carefully consider the nutrition of the bar and what you eat afterward in order to lose weight and build muscle effectively.

  1. Look for bars high in protein, and choose the amount of carbs based on your workout. For workouts that are high intensity or long in duration, you’ll want a bar with a higher percentage of carbs to provide glycogen to your “damaged” muscles. For low intensity workouts you’ll want to choose a bar that is lower in total carbs. Additionally, once you’re your workout is over, your muscles need the nutrition that a protein bar can provide..
  2. Do not eat a regular meal after a workout in conjunction with a recovery bar unless your calorie needs dictate it. This is where you need to choose. Eating a recovery bar, and then dashing off to eat a full meal, could sabotage your diet and workout. After a big workout eat a recovery bar immediately, then plan a real food meal 1-2 hours later.
  3. between How’s this: Strategize the size of your recovery bar based on the size of your workout. Bigger, harder and longer workouts demand more calories in your recovery bar. It’s also important to consider your overall daily caloric need when choosing your fuel. If your diet or workout demands fewer calories in your recovery meal, aim for approximately 150-300 calories. Bigger workouts can often demand more than 300 calories in order to promote optimal recovery.
  4. A 2010 study published in The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests that you need at least 20 g of protein after a workout to fully recover. When you choose a recovery bar, keep this number in mind.
  5. For post-running recovery, or recovery from a strenuous workout, make sure the recovery bar offers a 3:1 carb to protein ratio. This would suggest that you should look for a protein and carb-rich bar. However, after a normal workout, you should consider looking into a lower carb/protein ratio. For smaller workouts look for a 2:1 or 1:1 carb to protein ratio, like a Promax Original bar.
  6. The amount of calories you consume has a large significance. To lose weight, you must keep track of the calories going in and out. Calories going in include all of the calories in everything you eat and drink. Calories going out include the ones that you burn during regular activities and during a workout. Always choose your protein bar based how many calories you burned during the workout and your overall caloric goals.

For more information about recovering after a workout with one of our bars, contact us at Promax Nutrition.

excerise
Photo courtesy of pippalou @ morguefile.com