Many athletes are familiar with the perceived benefits of drinking dairy-based chocolate milk for recovery, but I am not one of them.
As an athlete who spends much of his time in the mountains ski touring, rock climbing and mountain biking I know a thing or two about exhaustion. After a long day on the rock, I can barley bring myself to make my favorite post workout drink. Knowing how it speeds up my recovery, I always muster just enough energy to get it done.
The purpose of post-workout recovery is to replenish glycogen (sugar) stores in the muscle and start the process of protein synthesis (muscle rebuilding) so that your body is ready for the next workout. Yes, dairy-based chocolate milk is loaded with carbohydrates and proteins to help with replenishing tired muscles, but where the problem lies is with inflammation.
Physical exertion creates inflammation. What is critical to enhance your performance is the ability to manage post workout inflammation. Using the right nutrient uptake is key to this occurring, resulting in more efficient recovery times and the ability to get back at your favourite sport being a little quicker and stronger.
In the world of high performance, whether that is sport or business, it is all about efficiency. If swapping out one ingredient for another makes you quicker or stronger, would you do it? I did just that over 8 years ago, swapping dairy based chocolate milk for the real thing. What do I mean by the real thing? 99.9% of the chocolate found in supermarkets across the globe are void of what once contained key recovery nutrients, with only sugar remaining. When something is void of nutrients, it acts just like a simple sugar and spikes insulin and can cause a rise in inflammation. Yes, it is critical to get a good dose of carbohydrates post workout, but ideally this does not come from a source that also compromises your results.
When I replaced real cacao and began making my own chocolate, dairy free, recovery shakes, my performance changed. What changed? I was less congested, had more energy, felt stronger and fitter and found my recovery times improving within days of the switch. Yes, you read that right. My results did not take years or months to achieve. Within days I felt the difference. I credit this with being less inflamed post workout. Yes, it had a lot to do with avoiding dairy (known in the plant-based athletic world to cause inflammation and reduce performance), but it was also the introduction of real chocolate, filled with key macro and micronutrients that gave me the results.
“So, if I add 75% or 80% dark chocolate into my shakes, that will boost my post workout recovery?” No. Just so we are clear, store bought chocolate bars labeled as 75% or 80% or even 90% dark chocolate are still heavily processed using a high amount of heat and void of most of it’s original nutrients. This is also true for cocoa as well.
What I am saying is to source out 100% cacao (not to be confused with cocoa) in powder, nibs or paste form and start testing your recovery by adding in small amounts to your recovery drink, until you learn the ideal amount for your body.
By ideal amount, I am referring to chocolates natural healing abilities that are best delivered when the right dose is administered. Have you ever heard the saying ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food? Like with any medicine, too little won’t get you the results you crave and too much can be troublesome. Chocolate in its real form (cacao) is medicine and needs to be treated with respect.
As one of the highest sources of antioxidants of any food known on the planet, cacao delivers a potent dose of ant-inflammatory polyphenols that can boost cellular health and aid in digestion. Cacao also contains a 3-1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. And incase you needed another reason to give cacao a try, real chocolate has the power to lift your mood by releasing the ‘happiness neurotransmitters’ – serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. So the next time you find yourself unmotivated to get off the couch to hit the gym or the hills, grab a glass of my chocolate recovery shake and feel the power!
THE REAL DEAL
Chocolate Recovery Shake
Ingredients: makes 4 cups
¼ cup almonds
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 drop of Vitamin D
3 pitted dates
3 cups water
¼ teaspoon sea salt
How to Prepare:
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend for 20 seconds. Drink 1-2 glasses within 30 minutes post workout. Store any leftovers in an airtight glass mason jar and consume within 24 hours for the ideal workout recovery drink.
About the Athlete
At 26, Adam Hart was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. Since then, he made a staggering life changing transformation that not only reversed his condition, but set him on a new path for life. Bestselling author, climber and husband, he is also the founder of Power of Food, a company dedicated to bringing abundant health and happiness into the world.
HOW WE REVOLUTIONIZED THE GYM BAG
Less is more. We’ve all heard the saying and for some of us it is a call to improve our lives, spend more time doing things well, and streamline our actions in a world of too many choices. In design, it is also a guiding mantra that led us to really focus on what’s important and needed in a product.
When we first began contemplating how to revolutionize the iconic gym bag, we knew we had to deliver a product that was built for athletes and looked after their needs. It had to be a reflection of their lifestyle and integrate with their lives 24/7. At first we had a long list of conditions that had to be satisfied – from equipment that had to be carried, to the parts of the day it had to used, and the ways and routes travelled to and from workouts.
Then we looked at how we could distil this down to its most base elements by priority. Number one was that it carries what was needed for a basic workout. Then we looked at the lifestyle and time that you would need to carry the packs. What we discovered in this phase was that we needed to design a pack that could be worn to work or play and would seamlessly integrate with your lifestyle. The bag had to be a reflection of our customer’s style, grace and intention.
That was when we added, “less is more” to the philosophy.
If we could make a pack that was internally well organized, and featured all the details needed to get you from home to workout to work and back, AND looked good enough to wear into the office or workplace, we would hit the mark.
Through a long process that included countless discussions, samples and prototypes, we kept stripping down the exterior of the packs to the clean beautiful lines that appear today, with a thoughtful internal construction that looked after all the details.
We feel that you can carry our packs through any of the environments you may encounter in the world of the modern athlete, and that you will look good and feel prepared for whatever may come your way.Athlete: Damien Kelly
Location: Squamish, Canada
Training:Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking
RYU Faves: TecLayr 2n1 Short, TecLayr Short Sleeve Crew Neck Tee & Locker Pack Lux
DO WHAT YOU LOVE. EVEN IF YOU’RE NO GOOD
Everyone knows you are supposed to exercise if you want to be healthy. Unfortunately, as a society, we have labeled exercise as a sweaty, stinky hour of your life that you need to sacrifice on a stationary bike next to some grunting meathead in a cramped commercial gym. Imagine, in order to hit your body weight goal you have to be a rat in a row of spinning recumbents with nothing to look at but the back of someone churning it out on the elliptical in front of you. Personally, I wouldn’t last long.
In my years of training I have discovered over and over that, even if you have the best intentions, if you are not having fun and not being challenged, you will quit.
If you like to run, run. If you like to climb, climb.
The successful people are those who find what they love and run with it. If you like to run, run; if you like to climb, climb; if you like to dance, dance! Now, here’s the kicker, you don’t have to pick one thing and become the best at it. Just because your friend is a runner, loves it, and doesn’t want to do anything else doesn’t mean that has to be you. People get a little too preoccupied with not being good at things and end up less willing to try new stuff, even if they might love it.
It’s ok to be bad at it.
After a whole lot of soul searching and experimentation I figured out that I am a football, volleyball, soccer, baseball, and tennis player, surfer, snowboarder, climber, hiker, biker, runner, weightlifter, dancer, and a bit of a yogi. I am not an elite level athlete in any of these domains but I am definitely an expert in movement. It has been shown time and time again that the body benefits most from a wide variety of different, dynamic movement types and exercise intensities. So if you can’t decide how exactly you want to get in shape, don’t worry about it, just try something, see if you like it, and go from there. It's ok to be bad at it!
Think back to when you were a kid, what sorts of active things did you like to do? Climb trees? Build forts? Wrestle? Jump on a trampoline? We did all these things because they were fun not because we were trying to get a workout. We weren’t thinking about how many calories we were burning or what muscles we were targeting. We were active because this was how we had fun with our friends. It just so happens that these years of play are some of the most important developmental years of your life both physically and socially. The things we crave as adults are no different. We crave fun; we crave community; and we crave success. There can be no success without challenge and no challenge without adversity. But that adversity doesn't stand a chance if you’re well supported and having fun along the way.
Rediscover your passion.
In the past few years alone, the types of exercise methods and fitness services available have absolutely exploded! There are leagues for every sport, there are clubs and social groups for pretty much every outdoor activity. There are even places where you can go for a 1hr cardio rave before work. If you haven’t found the kind of sweatyness that makes you tick, trust me, it exists, keep looking!
Written by Ben Carr
Professional Training Coach
Innovative Fitness, Kitsilano
The heaviest pull will always be our selves: Whether it’s pulling ourselves out of bed at 4:30am, pulling ourselves back up after we have fallen, pulling it together when we are behind and the clock is winding down, or pulling ourselves across the finish line when our whole system wants nothing more than to shut down.
We have all been there... flying at a new peak and every week is filled with new PR’s, new strength and time breakthroughs, new size gains or weight cuts. With all this comes hard earned satisfaction, as well as a new mental model. A new status. A new bar.
Then unexpectedly we lose our footing on the ride up. We hear an incredibly unwelcome pop while doing a box jump, find out we need major surgery because of the strain we have been able to endure for so long, or maybe life forcefully asks us shift our priorities for a while.
The progress starts to fade. The daily and weekly gains are no longer lifting our spirit. We’re sliding. The weight of the expectations we barely even knew we had, become shockingly heavy and add momentum in the wrong direction.
True Strength is in Surrender
Sometimes the strongest action we can muster is to let go. To create some space inside. To drop the crushing weight of our out dated expectations, our ego.
A lot of the time I measure myself and others up against times where I've confused greatness with the glamour of 'achievement'. But that's really just the surface... That is the effect of all the times we have had to dig deep, especially when things have gotten tough.
That’s why we clap for the last person finishing the WOD. Because obstacles are different for absolutely everyone all the time. And they are different for our own selves from time to time.
But greatness is always available in this moment. Sometimes not going backwards is greatness. Sometimes sliding backwards and still fighting to keep it together is greatness. Sometimes letting people help is greatness.
Whatever the circumstances are, it's the courage to fully accept the circumstances as they are, not how we wish they might be and the willingness to endure temporary (or maybe never-ending) pain for something greater than ourselves. To know that there is more to life, and to be willing to open up and make the choice to let it in: The places, the challenges, and the people.
I’d never write a review, much less an endorsement for a product I was not intimately familiar with. So when I was asked if I could talk about the new RYU TecLayr™ Long Sleeve Tech Tee I jumped at the chance.
This is actually a garment I purchased before Christmas. I usually gravitate to t-shirts or sleeveless tops, but after trying on this long sleeve Tech Tee at the RYU flagship store, I decided to give it a try.
First the high points. I look great in it. Yeah, that’s shallow, but it’s the truth. It fits so unbelievably well. It’s a relaxed athletic fit that delineates my chest, shoulder and triceps while draping nicely over my waist. It’s super comfortable and moves effortlessly with my body, not against it - no doubt due to the unique TecLayr™ fabric with 4-way stretch Spandex.
I typically wear it for work rather than working out, but that changed recently. A few weeks ago I overslept and didn’t pack my bag properly. Arriving at the gym I realized I’d forgotten my shirt. I had no option but to train in the Tech Tee I had on. I was surprised at how well it performed. It wicked the sweat away from my body quickly and didn’t inhibit my movements. I was worried how I’d feel working all day in front of a computer, but it dried really fast and best of all, I didn’t smell like an old sweat sock. I discovered that’s due to their use of used coffee grounds in the coating of the yarn, (yes, I said coffee grounds!) that permanently provides UV protection and effective odor control
It also has the coolest pocket feature that I didn’t notice until after I bought it. Hidden in the seam of the raglan sleeve is a place to stash a gym card, key or fob. Plus a handy locker loop on the inside collar so I can hang it anywhere.
Overall, the TecLayr™ Long Sleeve Tech Tee does everything RYU said it would. My only surprise was that it fit much better and was more comfortable than I expected a long sleeve training shirt to be.Athlete: Rik Klingle-Watt
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Training: Traditional karate, weight training, Yoga
RYU Faves: TechLayr Long Sleeve Tech Tee, OutLayr Insulated Jacket & RYU Classic Beanie
I say "I can't" a lot without realizing the negative effects that it has on me. Whether it be trying a heavy lift at Crossfit, trying to hold a handstand or getting through my morning meditations on days when shutting my brain off seems impossible... I say "I can't" as an excuse to stop on a bad day. It's my cop out.
I was at the gym recently with a friend of mine (I'll add in now that I've never seen him mad before). I was practicing a lift that I had been struggling with for a while. Picked up the bar... it was heavy. I laughed, put the bar down and said "too heavy, I can't". He was furious and said "Ally, you can't means you won't".
That hit me so deep. Those words have been sitting pretty hard on me these last couple of weeks. It's crazy how many barriers and excuses we create for ourselves. If you want something, do it. Set a goal or an intention, wake up and work for it... because saying "I can't" means you don't want it bad enough.
With 2016 just hitting us, it's a time of year that sparks a thought of reflection for most people; a time to refine your identity... aka you're making resolutions again. I want you to think of what makes you up as a whole (daughter, athlete, employee, photographer etc.) and how well you show up to each of those parts. Your whole self can only operate as well as you nurture each part.
You are a system. Own it. Commit to your system, commit to your growth. Know who you are and what you believe in. Continue this for as long as your system operate. Forget this "New Year New Me Bullsh*t". It's always you and you're always growing.Athlete: Ally Pintucci
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Training: Crossfit, Hiking, Yoga
RYU Faves: TechLayr Tough Tight, Long Sleeve OutLayr Henley & Locker Pack Lux
I trained hard at the gym this morning. But not like my life depended on it. When I biked to work no one tried to cut me down on my route. And despite my deadlines, stress and getting chewed out by my boss, I was never in any real danger as I performed my job.
Yesterday, my youngest daughter innocently asked me why we celebrate Remembrance Day. Her class was learning about the poem In Flanders Fields at school and she was curious why we choose to honour an event from so long ago. As I tried to form an answer that was both truthful and accessible for a 6 year old, it made me examine why this is such a poignant occasion for me personally.
My Gramps fought for Germany in WWI. He earned two Iron Crosses for bravery but never once spoke of his experience. My Grandpa was different. He fought for Britain. A wiry little Welshman, he loved to tell us how wounded soldiers cut down in no man’s land would call out their weight, rather than calling for help. The theory being a lighter man would have a better chance of being picked up and carried back behind the line by their comrades. At 135 pounds, he’s sure that’s the reason he was saved. Then there was my Uncle Fritz. I remember he always wore long sleeves, even during the hottest prairie summers. Years later I found out he had been captured by the Russians and wore long sleeves to hide the ominous POW number branded into the back of his hand.
Barely out of their teens when they were called up to face the horrors of war, my family members were lucky. They survived when so many did not. It got me thinking of the debt our society owes those brave individuals who paid the ultimate price and if the ceremony and minute of silence on November 11 is enough? Especially considering the retail frenzy that ensues less than 24 hours later as stores go full on bat shit crazy trying to squeeze out every last moment for their Christmas shopping blowout sales.
The freedom and security you and I (and those retailers) have today is because of sacrifices made by others. Men and women who were either drafted or who chose to leave their loved ones, travel to a strange land and risk their lives for future generations and those who stayed behind.
That tradition continues today with the people who serve in our armed forces as well as police, fire, search & rescue and first responders. The immeasurable contribution and sacrifice of these brave men and women can be directly attributed to the freedom, business and the very lives we enjoy today.
Why do we still honour the events from 1918?
Because courage does not have an expiry date.