As runners, we tend to focus (some would say obsess) on carbs and whether we are getting enough of them for running. Sure enough, they are extremely important to avoid stuff like, bonking, which can be a bad thing. But I have often found that runners don't pay much attention to protein and more importantly, the crucial role it plays in recovery and even during runs and hard workouts.
Here's the Clif notes (see what I did there?) version of protein and working out. A lot of people think that when they work out (lift weights, run, etc.) they are building muscle but they'd be wrong. You are actually breaking down muscle fibers during your workout. After you are done, your body starts rebuilding those fibers. Do this enough times and your body eventually figures out that it has to build them stronger and thus, stronger and bigger muscles. Yay!
Now, a bunch of people a lot smarter than myself figured out that if you feed your body protein right after working out, preferably within 30 minutes of doing so, that process of rebuilding muscle fibers is greatly enhanced. This helps with a whole bunch of things like muscle building, avoiding soreness and proper recovery.
Which brings us to Clif Builder's Bars. Along with a nice 30 grams of carbs, they also contain 20 grams of protein. Now, what sets Builder's Bars from other protein bars out there is the quality. You'll notice a lot of people prefer protein shakes over bars post-workout. Mainly because protein bars use low quality protein that is not optimal for use at that time. Clif Builder's Bars on the other hand have soy protein isolate as their first ingredient. The isolate part is important. Unlike say, eating a steak after your long run or eating something with protein concentrates which is what you'll find in other protein bars, protein isolate has been processed to work faster on your system so you can really take advantage of the 30 minute window post-workout.
Since Clif Bar Company was gracious enough to send me plenty of Builder's Bars to share, I made sure to put them to good use and get an overall reaction to the product from runners aside from myself. So, I showed up at the finish line of the Lola Challenge Weekend Half Marathon with a bag full of goodies. The Lola Challenge is a 5K, 10K and Half Marathon done over the course of three days. Who better to take advantage from the recovery benefits of these bars than runners who had gone through that gauntlet?
So, my friend Indiana and her running group, the Diva Moms, became the "test group" for this post. They all loved the flavor, especially the chocolate peanut butter and the reaction I got every time I said "protein" or "recovery" was priceless. "Just what I need right now!" was a common statement. I also gave bars to as many finishers as my bag allowed and I can tell you, I think Clif has really struck the right chord with this product.
|Some of the Diva Moms reveling in their success... and recovery,|
As for myself, regular readers of this blog know I am currently training for the Goofy Challenge, where I will attempt to run a Half Marathon followed by a full Marathon the next day. This means double long runs on the weekends to get the body used to the actual conditions I will be facing. Proper recovery is important after a long run. Can you imagine how important it is when, after completing a long run, you go right back out the next day for an even longer one? Yeah, I would say it is.
So I have been using Clif Builder's Bars after my long runs and after cross-training on non-running days. The combination of a Builder's bar along with some sports drink right after a long run is pretty hard to beat and puts me on the right track to get ready for the next one. On cross-training days, it is a lot more convenient than a protein shake. No powder, no mess, no shaker bottles and no need for refrigeration. Just unwrap and consume.
|Attempting to cross-train...|
Disclaimer: Clif Bar Company provided me with some product along with Clif-branded gear for promotional purposes through my affiliation with Fitfluential. All opinions on the product are my own.