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Sports Drinks Worth Sweating For
Low-fat chocolate milk (yes, the real deal -- we're not referring to fudge-flavored drinks) has been shown in studies involving cyclists, soccer players and runners to be just as effective as sports drinks in helping athletes recover. It provides fluids to help you rehydrate and carbohydrates to replace glycogen burned off during intense activity. This affordable treat also has protein that combines with the carbs to reduce muscle damage and hasten recovery, as well as an added bonus of calcium.
Those who enjoy the malty taste and carbonation of a cold beer after a hard workout will be happy to hear that a recent study found that the non-alcoholic version could help reduce muscle inflammation and the risk of respiratory infection (both common side effects of intense training). In the study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, male runners who drank a liter to a liter-and-a-half of non-alcoholic beer before and after training for a marathon reported fewer illnesses and less incidences of inflammation than the runners who chugged a placebo. The researchers think this has something to do with the polyphenols in the beer, which have been shown to help us fight off colds. Unfortunately, alcohol interferes with the beer's healing properties, so save the authentic pint for the Saturday night after the competition.
We're talking about the endless variety of smoothies that you can make with bananas, oranges, cantaloupe and honeydew melons. A half-cup of any these has more than 225 milligrams of potassium, which has been shown to work with sodium to balance fluids and electrolytes in the body. To avoid muscle cramps, toss a mix of potassium-rich fruit into a blender with low-fat yogurt and milk (or try this easy vanilla melon smoothie), and drink within 30 minutes to an hour of finishing your workout.
Earn your recovery beverage with Bob Green's Better Body Bootcamp workout.
This banana smoothie does triple-duty as a recovery drink, a breakfast or a snack.
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.