Monday, March 30, 2009

Questions Answered

I had some great questions from my weekend post and wanted to reply right away on both of them.

Ron, here is the Accelerade website statement on recommended usage:

Accelerade should be used to rehydrate the body during exercise and also whenever additional energy is needed. The optimal amount of Accelerade to drink during activity depends on the type and intensity of activity, air temperature, and your body size and fitness level.
Before exercise: consume approximately 12-20 oz. of fluid 2 hours prior to exercise and 7-10 oz. of fluid 15-20 min prior to exercise
During exercise: as a general rule you should consume approximately 20-32 oz. of fluid for every hour of exercise. This should consist of ingesting several ounces of Accelerade every 10 to 15 minutes throughout activity. However, there is large variability between individuals as to their tolerance for fluid intake. Further, during many athletic events the frequency and volume of fluids available may be limited. Individuals are encouraged to drink as much as can be tolerated within the recommendation above without inducing gastrointestinal distress
Following exercise: consume approximately 20-24 oz. of fluid per pound of weight loss after exercise
As with any sports nutrition product, you should incorporate it into your daily training to determine what works best and not experiment with a new routine on race day.
While Accelerade is formulated especially for use before and during exercise, it is also an excellent source of recovery nutrition. Following a workout, the body needs water and sodium for rehydration, carbohydrate to replenish muscle fuel stores, and protein to repair muscle damage. Accelerade contains all of these important recovery nutrients.

I personally use Accelerade for a recovery drink only, especially on long or hard efforts. At our recent running clinic, Erin Hamman, RD reported that the optimal time to replenish your carbs is the first 45 minutes after exercise but within the first 3 hours is still ok. I have not tried the version with caffeine. Clay swears by consuming it during competition. Every person is different in what they can “stomach” during activity. The protein may be too much for some and ok for others. It is definitely a good idea to try different drinks during training to find out what works best for you.

The research I found shows improved glycogen resynthesis, increased fat oxidation, improved recovery and performace on same day 60 min exercise bouts. Chocolate milk has been found to be just as effective.

Berardi JM, Price TB, Noreen EE, Lemon PW. Postexercise muscle glycogen recovery enhanced with a carbohydrate-protein supplement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Jun;38(6):1106-13.

Berardi JM, Noreen EE, Lemon PW. Recovery from a cycling time trial is enhanced with carbohydrate-protein supplementation vs. isoenergetic carbohydrate supplementation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008 Dec 24;5:24.

Karp JR, Johnston JD, Tecklenburg S, Mickleborough TD, Fly AD, Stager JM. Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Feb;16(1):78-91.

Thomas K, Morris P, Stevenson E. Improved endurance capacity following chocolate milk consumption compared with 2 commercially available sport drinks. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009 Feb;34(1):78-82.

Here is a link to the Accelerade FAQ page.

Your question on recovery time after a half marathon is a good one. I agree with Tom on the 1 day of recovery for every 1 mile that you race, but there are other factors involved. First, how hard did you race? If it was an all out effort, then this 1 day for every mile holds true. If not then you should recover a little quicker. Everyone is different on how much they can take and how quickly they recover.

The biggest misconception I read in your comment was that this time after a race should be a recovery, and not a complete rest. If I raced all out on a tough half marathon I might take of the next 2-3 days completely resting with no running (swimming or biking would be fine), and then ease back into recovery running with easy mileage over the next 10 days. The “recovery” time just means no hard workouts. I also think the term “atrophy” that you used is inaccurate. Atrophy means an actual decrease in muscle mass or a “wasting away” of muscle tissue. The only way this could happen that quickly is if you lie in bed for the next two weeks and never get out! Although this sounds nice, space scientists with NASA found that complete immobilization for three days resulted in astronauts losing one-fifth of maximal strength. The effects of a sedentary lifestyle are not as dramatic as immobilization in space, but the space research supports the notion that ‘if you don't use it, you'll lose it’. Dan, I hope you are not going up into space any time soon.

Detraining means the “partial or complete loss of training-induced adaptations, in response to an insufficient training stimulus.” Loss of cardiovascular endurance is much slower and depends on your level of fitness. In one study, well-conditioned athletes who had trained for a year stopped exercise entirely. After three months, researchers found that the athletes lost about half of their aerobic conditioning. Another study had sedentary individuals start a bicycle fitness program for two months. During those eight weeks, the exercisers made dramatic cardiovascular improvements and boosted their aerobic capacity substantially. At eight weeks, they quit exercising for the next two months. They were tested again and were found to have lost all of their aerobic gains and returned to their original fitness levels.

From the research that I found, there are very little to no losses in maximal and submaximal cardiovascular (CV) fitness after 2 weeks of detraining. Some losses in VO2max and other CV changes begin between 2-4 weeks of detraining and even greater losses if the period of detraining lasts longer than 4 weeks. This applies if you have been training for at least a year. If you have only recently started training (last 2-3 months) you can loose all of your training effects after a period of 4 weeks of non training. Luckily, all these negative effects can be avoided, and current fitness maintained, by reducing training volume by 1/3 to 2/3 but not stopping completely. Strength gains, on the other had, were not lost until after 4 weeks of complete stoppage.

The moral of this story is for quickest recovery after a half marathon, drink 20-24 oz. of Accelerade per pound of weight loss 30min to 3 hours after your race. Then begin a 2 week recovery period consisting of rest days, cross training, and easy mileage build up before beginning higher intensity workouts.

Finally, congratulations to Dan Ham on his Cheseboro Half Marathon this weekend in 1:50:51 good for 15th in his age group.

Mujika I, Padilla S. Cardiorespiratory and metabolic characteristics of detraining in humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Mar;33(3):413-21.

Mujika I, Padilla S. Detraining: loss of training-induced physiological and performance adaptations. Part I: short term insufficient training stimulus. Sports Med. 2000 Aug;30(2):79-87.

Mujika I, Padilla S. Detraining: loss of training-induced physiological and performance adaptations. Part II: long term insufficient training stimulus. Sports Med. 2000 Sep;30(3):145-54.

Neufer PD. The effect of detraining and reduced training on the physiological adaptations to aerobic exercise training. Sports Med. 1989 Nov; 8(5):302-20.


Anonymous said...

Good job Karl, I do swear by Accelerade before, during and after competition. I also use Accelerade R4 after wards which is a good replenishing formula similar to chocolate milk. The product is quickly absorbed and does not leave the same UGH feeling as a gel.

Daniel said...

Thanks for the great reply, Karl! Very detailed and quite helpful. I will be starting my recovery session post haste. My time was a little bit faster than the official time posted on the Chesebro results. They have my chip time and gun time the same - and I definitely started toward the back of the pack. I actually broke 1:50:00, but barely, which was pretty good for the 1000+ feet change in elevation & majority of the race on uneven trails. Overall, Chesebro was fun & trecherous...not for the faint of heart. :)