Recovery Nutrition; Goodness Shakes
Okay, it's time to 'fess up here. I don't normally do
recovery drinks. As "up-to-date" as I am with all the latest
scientific training thingy's, power meters and statistical analysis, I'm
old school when it comes to recovery nutrition.
I fuel up before a ride, I fuel up during a ride and as
soon as the cool down's complete, within five minutes of getting through
the door, I have a chicken or tuna sandwich with a cup of tea.
It's then run the shower, download the SRM and Strava
info, kit off (apologies to our sensitive readers), shower, pat dry, and
off to analyse the day's data.
An hour later, it's a hearty, carb fuelled lunch to
pre-load for tomorrow's ride, followed by the cyclists power nap!
However, all that may be about to change...
Tomorrows Ride Starts Today
We've spoken about this before in other factsheets, so I'll
quickly gloss over it here.
If you're riding at a training camp, a stage race, a multi-day
sportive, an endurance charity event, or as I type, coming
to the end of a five day super-compensation training block, you need to
make sure you can sustain the effort for the full duration that your event or
In a couple of days time, there's no point riding for four hours, if you should be
training for four hours. Four hours averaging 220 watts, when it
should be 250, isn't making you stronger. It's making you more
tired, not a good long-term prospective.
Riding requires nothing more than mental fortitude and
inner hardness. Training, and the ability to over-reach the bodies
current fitness levels, requires fuel for the engine in a body that's as
recovered as it can be from its previous exertions.
On day one, say you had a hearty evening meal the night
before, and have fuelled up with 100 gms of carbs for breakfast.
ready to go. You're fresh, you're fit, you nail the session or
event, and you come back pleasantly fatigued. The process of becoming a stronger, fitter, faster cyclist
on your journey towards local notoriety has begun.
If only it was that simple.
Fast forward to day four, of your training camp, stage race, the Haute Route, Raid Alpine or whatever other similar
endurance-fest you're undertaking. Without a tried and tested
recovery strategy, you're now tired, possibly exhausted. You're
getting slower each day and your legs hurt. This messes with your
A great ride starts in the head, not the legs.
You eat 100 gms of carbs and you end up, due to muscle
fatigue and motivational issues, riding to survive rather than compete.
Your endurance ride is now something you are having to endure rather
than enjoy. You might even actually start to put on weight as you
eat more and more to fuel your perceived lack of energy.
Each day you become more fatigued and each day you have
to battle with the brain that's telling you this is madness. It
doesn't have to be this way.
Rewind ~ Exercise 101
I'm sure by now you are all familiar with how your body goes
through the "breakdown-repair-stronger" cycle of getting fitter.
You can recap on the detail, if you have the time, right here...
Intensity v Volume
For every action, punishing your body, there is a
reaction; damage, fatigue, repair. The outcome being an increase
in fitness. To demonstrate this, below is a section of my
Performance Management Chart from WKO+, from Christmas Day to today
June 6th, D-Day. The day after a
five day endurance block.
The Blue Line, traces
my chronic fitness level across the timeframe. The
Pink Line tracks the acute training stress
(a combination of weekly intensity and volume) and the
Yellow Line is the level of residual
fatigue, tiredness and damage to the body.
Your job as a cyclist, and my job as a coach, is to
maximise the return on your training investment. What's the
maximum SUSTAINABLE benefit for the minimum of quality input? In
the succinct words of our American cousins, "getting the most bang for
Early January, sees the infamous flamme
with four pink peaks on the trot. High
intensity, high volume, high damage. The yellow line drops, showing pain, and the blue line climbs slowly, indicating fitness
February comes and we level out volume and go for
intensity and speed work with the
Classics Circuits. The pink lines stabilise to a mid point
and the yellow fatigue lines come up to meet them. This is our
consolidation phase after four months of intense preparation. The
blue line reflects this with our first "designed" plateau of the season.
March arrives and the trek from base camp begins, onwards
and upwards. With races coming thick and fast and training blocks
fitting in around them to prepare for the
Couliannaise at Le Mans.
At 07/04, you can see a big block of training in
preparation for the
Tro Bro Leon
Cipollini events, then a further
consolidation (back off intensity for volume) before the first of two, five day
training blocks. The quality (and benefit) of the second block is
determined by the quality of the recovery from the first.
The higher the pink line, the harder you've trained in
the last seven days. The higher the blue line, the fitter, faster,
stronger you're getting. The lower the yellow line, the more
damage you've done to yourself, the more important a recovery strategy
is for your continued progression.
Which brings us to our subject in hand.
Line one of my Slackers Charter ~ "Either you factor in
recovery for yourself, or your body will do it for you, and not in a
Recovery is good. Recovery is a vital part of your
training. If you don't believe me go and train for 30 straight
days and let me know how you get on. Please don't do it, it's a
If recovery is vital to your success, shouldn't you be
putting as much thought and effort in to recovery as you do in to your
training and interval sessions?
Shouldn't you be looking to make that recovery process quicker and more efficient?
Time is a precious commodity, time is money, time is important.
The better, faster and more efficient your recovery, the
sooner you can go again and get back on it. The higher the quality of your
recovery, the higher the level of work you can perform than would of previously been
the case. Further
advancing your fitness.
Exercise, at the levels we undertake, induces substantial muscle trauma; micro-tears in the
muscle fibres, inflammation, the dreaded DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle
Soreness) lactate build up and, if you've done it properly, makes you just plain tired.
It also, as we've
discussed previously, has the capacity to create an
imuno-suppression effect on the body. To be honest, it's not good
for you doing all this damage to your body! Unless you manage it
We've covered this loads of times before, but again, I'll
just do a quick recap.
The body provides us all, with a golden twenty minute nutrition window, where
we can maximise
our bodies intakes of nutrients and minerals. During this time,
your body takes on sponge like absorption qualities. Don't let this opportunity
pass you by, ever.
That's why it's: have a proper cool down on the last ten
minutes of your ride. Drink carb drink on the way home while
you're cruising. Never get
home with anything left in your bottles. And as soon as you hit
the door, get some quality nutrition in to yourself.
Before now, it was my sandwich of choice. Having
tried the Goodness Shakes recovery drinks, I'm now going to rethink how
I do things. And here's why.
Sandwiches (chicken or tuna) are brilliant as you get a
quick, tasty, textured, combination of carbs and protein in to you.
Which is relief in itself after eating and drinking sugars in drinks,
bars, gels and fruit all ride. Unfortunately, I
can't eat a sandwich without mayonnaise or butter. No low-fat spreads in
But the problem with a sandwich is you don't really
know what's in it at a macro or micro-nutrient level. I know it's
better than nothing, but I'm not sure what it's doing, it just tastes
nice and I like it.
Better Than Food?
Goodness Shakes, at a macro level, contain a 3:1 mix of carbs to protein.
They have around 55 gms of carbohydrates (depending on flavour) and
16gms of protein, which is made up of a mixture of whey and casein.
This is important because of the disparate, yet complementary, properties of these two elements.
Whey, is a "fast" protein, it gets in to your system
quickly to maximise the speed of muscle repair. Casein, is the
"slow" protein, which is absorbed over a greater time period to minimise
catabolism and protein breakdown. Between them they also provide
the nine essential amino acids that your body can not produce itself.
Not sure how many of these are in a tuna butty!
The 3:1 mix of carbs to protein is also important as
trials have suggested an improvement to exhaustion when this mix
is used. I've also covered this under a
Chocolate Milk study, this product is the next level up.
Hydration, or to be exact, re-hydration is as important
as food when trying to recover. We train, we sweat, we lose fluids
and we lose minerals. Now I do love my post-ride cuppa but to be
honest, there may be anti-oxidants in a cup of Tetley's but I doubt
there's the electrolytes, sodium, potassium and calcium I need to get me
up and at 'em the next day. Even with the compulsory chocolate
This product has a vitamin list as long as your arm and
is made from biologically, food-sourced ingredients. So it
shouldn't cause any gastric distress or adverse reactions. It's
suitable for vegetarians, but not vegans and comes in the usual four
flavours of Banana, Vanilla, Chocolate and Berry.
Finally... It's quick, you throw a sachet's contents in
bottle and add water. It's convenient, it's pre-measured and you
make it there and then, even at the end of an event. It won't go
off and become bacteria ridden sitting in a hot car for seven hours!.
It tastes like melted
ice-cream, isn't too sweet or sickly and really hits the spot after a
It comes in sachets or tubs, or premixed in 500 ml
cartons. If you're doing a big event (especially the Haute
Routers), then these (or similar
products) should be part of your post-ride, training, competing, recovery regimen.
As I've said above, there are lots of
recovery drinks and powders on the market and at some point or another
I've bought them, been given them or been asked to try them. I've
tried them all.
The fact that I'm thinking of replacing
my real food with this product, when I've never been convinced before, is
why I've produced this factsheet. I've seen recovery drinks with
aspartame in them, I've tasted some horrible concoctions, and I've
suffered "gastric distress" with others. With one
product, I was scared to sneeze for two days!
In my opinion, these taste nice, work
well, and are convenient. I'm also willing to put my hand in my pocket
and buy them myself; which is why they're on this page here. The objective
of this site is to give you the information to help you become a better
rider. I believe these shakes, used in the right way at the right
time, can do that.
Why not give them a try in your training
period to see if they're for you. And as with all things, DO NOT
use them for the first time during your event or critical period.
Test everything first.
Now you won't want to be using these for
every ride. I still think there's a place for "proper" food but if
you're on one of our WWPP
programmes and are entering your amber or red weeks, then these
should be on your list. Especially if you're doing the
60 sec Killers or
If you're riding Saturday and Sunday,
then absolutely take one immediately post-ride Saturday. On
Sunday, if you're taking Monday as a recovery day, stick with normal
food, although with the taste of the vanilla one, it might be a bit hard
If you're doing a multi-day event, grab a
handful of pre-measured sachet's and make consuming one of these the first thing
you do when you stop your bike. Come day three you'll really feel
the benefits kick in as the cumulative fatigue appears to be under
control and you start riding away form the non-believers.
They may seem a tadge expensive, but when
I look at the value of the bikes around me on a ride, what people spend
on wheels, power metres and heart monitors, then around £1.40 a shot on
a recovery super food, that will help you go faster, sooner, for
longer, has to be an out and out bargain.
Where can I get some?
If you're in Jersey, see the boys at
by clicking the link on the right, visiting the shop, or calling them on
01534 729 900. They'll sort you out.
If you're anywhere else in the world,