Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The CrossFit recover with chocolate milk

So, last night I walk up to the counter at 24 Hour Fitness in Thousand Oaks, and I ask the man at the counter what recovery drinks he has on sale today.  He points out an indistinct product that I don't particularly like.  I frown.  The drink is expensive, and it contains only 35 grams of protein per serving.  I am not going to buy this one.

I mentioned the 50 gram product that I liked so much.  The fellow responded in a predictable manner.

"You know you're body can't absorb 50 grams of protein in one shot.  30 grams is about the limit."

"Yep, I am aware of that, but I am a special case.  I had gastric bypass 8 months ago, and I have to consume 50 to get 30.  This is the newly installed inefficiency of the system.  The code term is malabsorbtion."

He accepted that graciously, something others have not done, and said something that surprised me.

"If you ask me, all these post-workout drinks are a rip-off.  Everybody in the CrossFit movement drinks chocolate milk to recover after a workout, and that's the best you can possibly do."

"Chocolate Milk, you say?"  This was the second time that somebody had mentioned chocolate and exercise recovery in the past week. "Incidentally, what the hell is the CrossFit movement anyhow?"

The fellow looked stunned and hurt that I didn't know about the CrossFit movement.  Evidently, CrossFit grew out of the same roots as the P90X exercise program.  Doing a wide variety of exercise, aerobic, anaerobic, weight resistance, weigh augmented calisthenics, gymnastics, and yoga, these guys and gals try to reach the highest levels of fitness.  They have taken all of these training techniques and tried to turn it into an underground sport.  Evidently, they have gotten some attention from the ESPN.

Strangely enough, these chaps have embraced Chocolate Milk as the food of choice in their extreme subculture.  Apparently, they favor 16 ounces of 2% fat chocolate milk after a workout.  They don't like the full-fat 4% milk because they feel it suppresses the beneficial insulin reaction that aids in anabolism & recovery.  A 16 ounce serving of chocolate milk contains approximately 340 kcal and 26 grams of protein.  This is not far from the balance of other recovery drinks.  It is less protein to be sure.

As I mentioned before, this was the second reference to chocolate I had heard in the past week.  Consider the following URL which teach us about the glories of dark chocolate and a strange chemical compound called epicatechin.  Rumor has it that this chemical is actually a vitamin, and stimulates muscle development as much as exercise (in mice).

I decided to give it a whirl and dropped in at the Target next to my 24 Hour Fitness gym in West Hills at lunch.  There I acquired a 56 ounce bottle of Nestle's Quick Chocolate milk for something like $3.50.  I was quite surprised.  A single bottle of recovery drink (perhapse 16-20 ounces) costs $4.00 in this neck of the woods.  A single bottle of this stuff should provide 3.5 recovery drinks.  This means that chocolate milk is a 400% increase in value.  That is supposing they are equal in effect.  My new friend assures me they are not equal in effect.  Chocolate milk is better, he says.

I will let you know how this goes.  So far, the chocolate milk is inducing drowsiness.  Also, milk contains a paltry 13 grams of protein per 8 ounce serving.  This means the recommended 16 ounce dose provides a meager 26 grams of protein.  This means I need additional protein from other sources to supplement it.  I may mix in some powder.