Where do I begin? When I came across the new performance protein powder on the Vega website, I looked at the ingredients and they all jumped out at me because they've been mentioned individually as the pillars of recovery. I had never seen them all in one product though. Tart cherries. Probiotics. BCAAs. Turmeric. Glutamine.
I'm a big proponent of recovery. I had been using the Vega Recovery Accelerator after every hard run workout but with the performance protein, I felt that once a week was enough.
We live and we learn and deep down I knew I wasn't quite getting enough protein for my workload. Even worse, when I returned from a recent trip to Australia where I had only run but not taught much personal training, I noticed that after working with clients and a first class doing "Cardio Cross Training", my upper body felt pummeled. I had only done leg work but no push ups, dumbbell work or other resistance training for the upper body. It was embarrassing how weak I felt and how sore I got.
This was when I decided to give the Performance Protein a shot and incorporate it several times a week while I also upped some lower leg strength work to be more injury prone for my runs and more explosive in shorter distances.
The new performance protein comes in several flavours: vanilla, chocolate, berry and mocha. I personally like vanilla the best but that's just a preference. I really like berry and chocolate depending on what I mix it with. Mocha for that bit of kick from the coffee taste.
I have noticed a few things in the past few weeks immediately:
- I've been recovering very well not just from my runs but from the daily demands on the body that come with being a personal trainer and traveling around town with a backpack full of equipment.
- This may or may not be related but my constant battle with plantar fasciitis has improved a ton. As mentioned above, I've incorporated some strength work which may have helped with that. But knowing that my legs can handle more impact, without pain is a feeling only former PF sufferers will understand.
- My immune system has survived 60 hours of travel in a short window of time and not only did I manage to sleep a lot but also hopped off the plane in Australia and got on with my running program like no big deal. On the way back, I had to adjust to a temperature drop from 102F/ 39 C to 22 F or -3 C. That has always been when my body broke down but not this time.
I have since also recommended the performance protein to the demographic that I work with: new mothers. Often they find it hard to prepare meals for the day while they are nursing and burning more calories. Smoothies are such a great way to blend vegetables, fruit, almond milk, chia seeds, any other supplements and extra protein in one go. Then they can sip it as the day goes on.
In case you are unaware of what the above mentioned "pillars of recovery" can do for you, here's a breakdown:
- Tart cherries: they are expensive in juice form but tart cherries contain nutrients that have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. regular consumption of tart cherry juice may accelerate post-workout recovery, increase overall training capacity and enhance performance in races by reducing muscle pain.
- Probiotics: I've been telling all my clients to incorporate a probiotic into their diet to help with digestion and keep their gut happy. Happy gut, happy life.
- Turmeric: traditionally found in many South East Asian dishes, it's actually a spice that goes well with many dishes and has a multitude of health benefits: Turmeric offers anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and even anti-carcinogenic properties. It can aid digestion and assist in reducing bloating and abdominal cramps, among many other things.
- Glutamine and BCAAs: Supplementing with additional BCAAs and glutamine may help keep skeletal muscle and plasma glutamine elevated and decrease the oxidation of BCAAs, therefore preventing muscle breakdown.
There you have it. As usual the smart minds at Vega have come up with a fantastic product that everyone regardless of their nutrition, can enjoy. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo and omnivores alike.
Give it a try and let me know in the comments how it worked out for you. Check my Instagram for smoothie inspiration.