It’s no mirage – every once in awhile, you will see a container of powdered Tang sitting on the counter at CrossFit Unbroken. It’s not an accident. In fact, Tang can be one of your best friends during and after a workout.
(If you don’t like Tang, Gatorade, fruit juice or other sports drinks will also get you into this particular gang.)
As you progress through a workout, you deplete your glycogen stores. Glycogen is really a two-dollar word for stored carbohydrates, and the fuel that gives your muscles the energy to move. By the time your workout is finished, you’re typically pretty low on glycogen and you want to replenish it. As well, after a tough lifting session, your muscles need protein.
We encourage our athletes to fill a shaker with about 30 grams of protein powder, Tang and water. It’s a better choice for workout optimization than either water, a straight sports drink or a protein drink. Why? The carbohydrates stop your glycogen levels from becoming fully depleted and this boost also helps maintain your insulin levels as well. The drink also acts as a vehicle to get some protein into your muscle tissue, which gets broken down when you work out. The soreness you feel after an intense workout is due to tiny tears in your muscle fibers, which naturally get rebuilt (literally, this is how you build muscle). Feeding your muscles a that bit of protein during a workout helps minimize the soreness afterward.
If this sounds familiar to you, you definitely should consider investing in a shaker and trying this out (Hint: ask us about the CrossFit Unbroken shakers – they actually have a separate bottom compartment for your powder and Tang mix.)
Drink about a third of it during the workout and finish the rest post-workout. You’ll see a difference in how you and your muscles feel after the workout and the next day as well.