Exercise! - Post-Run Workout Shake

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02-16-2014, 07:20 PM
Hi guys

I was wondering if anyone has idea about what recovery, low-calorie powder/something to put in my post-run shake to improve my performance, gain more muscle, lose fat etc? My sister is a gym rat but her protein powders are hundreds of calories a pop :eek:

I love experimenting with fresh fruit and other ingredients in my shakes so I've gotten a little curious about what I could add to mine to improve my results without sacrificing my daily caloric intake or exacerbating my PCOS symptoms. My sister she's tried to educate me on ketosis etc but that stuff is way beyond my comprehension and she's always been underweight so we come from different places.

Currently, I'm on the treadmill for 6-7 days a week for around 30 minutes (longer or shorter depending on what my app tells me). This is usually what goes in my shakes...

1 cup Almond Breeze
1/2 cup frozen berries
1/4 cucumber
A few spinach leaves
1/2 banana
1 tsp psyllium husk (I have a screwy digestive system)
1 tsp green tea extract (I dunno, I just had it lying around so why not)

Any suggestions would be appreciated! :carrot:

Edit: Sorry about this post being miscategorized. The whole running=post-workout shake connection made sense in my head so I just stuck it in the workout section

02-16-2014, 07:46 PM
So, I'm biased here, but I don't really like nut/soy milks; you could try cold brewing caffeine-free tea, and use that water as a liquid instead. (Also, I'm cheap and almond milk is expensive ;)). Plus, I find that 'workout nutrition' often packs in many extra calories, and some people add in more than they planned to, for their total daily kcal. Switch the milk with tea/water and you 'save' those 40-60kcal.

As far as protein powders go, the decent ones will usually be ~20-30g protein/120-150kcal, depending on what kind (remember that 1g protein = 4kcal). Up to you if you want to jump down that rabbit hole. :) I like to get unsweetened, unflavoured whey protein (not isolate) - I can use it in tea/coffee/smoothies/cooking/etc and it pretty much just tastes like milk powder (though obviously has more protein).

If you are focusing on treadmill as your first/only method of exercise though, there will be a limit to how much muscle you can put on. And a recovery drink is only as good as the workout it follows. :p Some people just gulp 250-500ml of chocolate milk and call it quits (technically, it has an ok protein/carb ratio for post-workout nutrition, but I'd rather make it myself so I know exactly what goes into it).

Personally, I see a lot of merit in adding in strength training to pretty much ANYONE's workout regime; unless it's directly contraindicated due to a medical reason. But again, that's up to you if resistance training is something you want to look at/include.

Try not to stress about it too much; at 30min of running daily, you're asking your body to move, but not overexert, so a recovery drink is a bonus but not always a necessity. Have fun! :hug:

02-16-2014, 08:00 PM
Thanks for the quick response, Defining.
I have used green tea before but the green tea extract with green tea seemed like overkill (I'm running out of the extract soon though lol). I don't mind the taste of almond breeze and my mum buys six-packs from CostCo anyway so I'll start switching it up from time with the tea.
I'm not big on weight lifting. I do try to do a couple of reps every day with an ankle weight because I am prone to knee injuries- I'm trying to get my hips and thighs to shape up as a prevention method. I practice yoga for fifteen minutes first thing in the morning every day and I wish I could say that was enough to count as strength training but frankly, I'd like to stick to what I like. Whenever I've tried to add something I don't, I just stop working out completely. I have a lot of admiration for people who lift... like my sister. It's crazy to see such a small person lift so much.
Thanks so much for the advice! :) xx I'm popping over to the shops now so I'll look up some whey protein. And unflavoured is perfect for me! I noticed that my sister had watermelon, chocolate etc but I love the taste of berries... and honey! I forgot to add that in my list- sometimes I go without but sometimes I add a teaspoon. I like to know what's in my shakes too :)

02-16-2014, 10:54 PM
I'm not big on weight lifting. I do try to do a couple of reps every day with an ankle weight because I am prone to knee injuries- I'm trying to get my hips and thighs to shape up as a prevention method. I practice yoga for fifteen minutes first thing in the morning every day and I wish I could say that was enough to count as strength training but frankly, I'd like to stick to what I like. Whenever I've tried to add something I don't, I just stop working out completely.

That's completely legitimate! I think it's important to A) be healthy and B) do something you enjoy. After that, it's all about personal preference - so if you like to run and hate to lift; run, don't lift!

Apparently, women are often prone to knee injuries, more so than men, because of the shape of our pelvises. Glute/abductor movements/strength could help with that; you could even try using bands instead and see if that's something you might enjoy. If you're curious:

Like I said, don't make yourself too too crazy about your post workout shake; sounds like you're already doing everything right! :)

02-16-2014, 11:26 PM
When I lost weight on a restricted carb/calorie plan, my coach told me to have the extra food BEFORE the workout. In maintenance, I still keep carbs low. I'm wondering what others think of when to have that extra energy food. Thanks!

02-17-2014, 12:49 PM
:D mars735, way to open a can of worms ;)

The short answer is: it depends.

Some people digest protein a bit slower, at which point they may benefit from a pre-w/o meal as opposed to post. The idea is to reduce muscle catabolism, and activate insulin/anabolic metabolic pathways - to do this, you only need 20g of protein (you might enjoy eating more than that, but in terms of anabolic response, nothing extra happens past 20g). Often, the easiest recommendation is to simply eat a bit of protein before working out, and bit more afterwards (with maybe a few carbs thrown in).

Most of us are not athletes, are not pushing our bodies to the limit, and are not working out multiple times a day. So we have little to no need for additional carbs after a workout (technically). This is because the most recent research has shown that the metabolic advantages from working out stick around for up to 24hrs afterwards. Unless you're going to be pushing your body hard, in less than 8-10hrs after your first workout, it doesn't really matter when you eat. That is to say, as long as you eat within 24hrs after working your body, you'll most likely get the same benefits.

I generally say 'do what works for you'; experiment a bit with pre/peri/post workout nutrition, and see what protocol works best for YOU! :)

Here are a few links about the topic:


Have fun! :hug:

02-17-2014, 12:56 PM
Thanks for the thorough answer, defining---that's just the info I was looking for. :)

02-17-2014, 12:58 PM
;) My pleasure, babe

02-17-2014, 07:03 PM
Thanks Defining! I'm finding this really helpful too- I've always wondered whether the food I eat has been hindering my weight loss efforts.

This just poses another question though: The first article you posted stated that extra carbs may be needed after the workout if the carbs you've consumed prior to the workout are insufficient. And now I'm wondering... am I not having enough carbs in general and is this bad?

I usually run an hour after breakfast and for breakfast, I have...
Egg white omelette (or just a fried egg)
1 slice of weight watchers multigrain bread (100 calories, 9 carbs)
1/4 cup of cottage cheese with 1/2 tsp dried blueberries (sometimes activia yogurt)
1/4 cantaloupe (I'll replace with 1/2 a banana and nuts if I'm out of melon)

If I run later in the day, I'll have two slices of the same weight watchers bread with either cheese or some sort of nut butter.

And then the shake above afterwards... I'm on a 1200ish calorie diet and I do practice carb limitation but I'm wondering whether this is enough for a 30 minute run even though I try to eat a lot of protein before.

Because the second article says "In fact, a pre-exercise meal can help ensure that your insulin levels remain elevated up until your workout is over. " I should technically know what this means because I have PCOS and my dad is diabetic but.. I'm assuming that here elevated insulin levels are supposed to be a good thing and he also says that "even if you don’t eat carbs before a workout and skip them in the time period immediately after you train, as long as you eat carbs several hours later your body will still recover"- so maybe even if those post and pre-workout windows don't exist... what if I don't eat carbs after or eat minimal carbs? Then my body won't recover at all? In short, I the idea I'm getting from these articles is what you said: it doesn't matter when you eat carbs, as long as you eat them. But how many carbs exactly? Are a couple of pieces of toast enough okay?

Sorry about dumping these questions on you. I just always assumed that I could have minimal carbs in the morning to give me an edge to work out... and then limit them for the rest of the day. I appreciate your help! I get very confused about sports nutrition and it's difficult to find information that is directed at weight loss instead of bulking up.

02-17-2014, 07:24 PM
Hahaha, it's all good; to be perfectly transparent, I am usually asking Google before I post info on here, and often share the links because the authors explain (and understand!) the subject much better than I do! I'm not a doctor, dietitian or fitness pro - I just read too much. ;)

The short answer to your question about sufficient carbs is: I don't know. The easiest suggestion is to ask 'is it working for you?' - if it is, then keep with it. If you're experiencing fatigue or are having difficulty recovering from your workout, then it might be worth experimenting with your nutrient timing/amount. Your body makes and stores glycogen pretty efficiently; 2-3 starchy servings a day will often be sufficient for the average non-athlete woman - but again, it all depends. Depending on whom you speak to/the study you look at, in general, insulin during workouts is good because it acts as a 'permissive' hormone, to signal to your body to 'shuttle' nutrients/energy into your cells, which helps preserve muscle. However, many find good success with limiting their carbs around workout for fat loss; it all depends on what you're doing, and what your goals are at the end of the day.

EDIT: another specific link for workout nutrition - Part 1 http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/peri-workout-nutrition-part-1/ Part 2 http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/peri-workout-nutrition-part-2-to-carb-or-not-to-carb/

I don't enjoy the debate about the merits or side effects of low-carb diets. It works well for some people, and not for others. Same as pretty much any other food ethos out there. ;)

I will admit, I'm surprised that you're eating at 1,200kcal for maintenance; at a glance, I'd wonder if it's a bit low. But I'm not in your body, and I don't have all the answers - it might be worth taking a look at your long-term nutritional/fitness balance/goals though. Maybe even have a quick chat with a doctor or dietitian. :p

I just read an interesting article about long-term calorie restriction, actually:

It may be food for thought. But in general, my last word is always: keep researching, make educated decisions, and always experiment to figure out what works for you! :hug:

02-18-2014, 12:34 AM
No worries! You seem to be a boss at accumulating all this information.

I'm currently unemployed so, to be honest, I don't usually feel tired because I'm sitting around at home all day- I think I eat more than enough to keep going. 1200 does seem very low but it's the highest I can go still lose weight thanks to PCOS and a history of yo-yo dieting. I've gained a couple while I was away for two months (and away from my beloved treadmill) so right now, I'm attempting to get my body back into the shape it was in December. I guess I'll pay more attention to how I feel throughout the day- maybe I've been cranky and moody all along but haven't noticed :p

Thanks for the article! It was a good read but I'm not half as hardcore as the girls experiencing the female athlete triad- although the symptoms are dangerously reminiscent of a close friend's habits. My bum knee is due to a reoccuring runner's knee brought on by bad running technique, improper stretching, a family predisposition to knee problems and a host of other things that I take blame for because I'm an amateur but I can see why you were worried :hug:

I usually go off calorie restriction once I get back into maintenance and focus on eating healthy, whole foods... which is another problem with counting calories.. you can justify eating anything so long as you end up under the limit. Not so with a regular, clean-eating plan :nono:

But I'll read the nutrition articles tonight. Hope they talk in layman's :?:

Thanks Defining!

02-18-2014, 12:58 AM
Just call me 'queen of the Google search engine' ;) I actually really enjoy compiling information - sometimes I almost wonder if there might be something wrong me, I enjoy it so much.

It sounds like you already have a great idea of how your body responds to different variables; paint me impressed, and kinda jealous.

Glad I could help, and best of luck with shaving off those last few lbs again!

02-18-2014, 01:11 AM
Just call me 'queen of the Google search engine' ;) I actually really enjoy compiling information - sometimes I almost wonder if there might be something wrong me, I enjoy it so much.

Well, if there IS something wrong with you, the rest of us are certainly benefiting! Your information is helpful & interesting. :)

02-18-2014, 01:28 AM
Well, if there IS something wrong with you, the rest of us are certainly benefiting! Your information is helpful & interesting. :)

Aw geez, thanks! That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :hug: - actually! (not even being sarcastic, for once ;)).

04-04-2014, 09:04 PM
Sorry to revive an old thread, but this article was just published today:


Which effectively tells us that as long as you are eating sufficient protein (~1.5-2g protein/kg bodyweight), it doesn't matter so much WHEN you eat it. So.... we don't really have to worry at all about workout nutrition. Try it if you like, but if you're eating properly it most likely doesn't matter. :p

The only additional consideration I'd love to see addressed by some of these more educated authors would be specific nutrition timing for fat loss (ie. during moderate calorie restriction). But, that's a rant for another day.