Eating a natural, healthy and tasty source of protein and carbohydrate after endurance exercise, such as marathon running or cycling, speeds up your recovery, so you are ready for your next training session or race. It can fundamentally improve your performance and your ability to bounce back.
At Veloforte we are completely committed to making natural, healthy foods that support you in your active lifestyle and sport. Importantly to us, the bars we make are not just functional, they have to taste amazing and be easy on the stomach too... we believe every product we make must therefore be 100% natural, powerful & delicious
We know how important recovery is, especially if your endurance event runs over successive days, such as ultra marathon running, triathlon training, and cycling sportives.
Eating protein is a fundamental part of optimising your recovery but when we looked at what was on the market for cyclists and runners like us, the selection was disappointing and advice on consumption was conflicting.
There are many misconceptions about protein, high protein foods, and designated protein snacks, particularly amongst endurance athletes. Firstly, eating protein and taking protein supplements will not make you bulk up, unless you are also lifting heavy weights and following a strenuous gym programme. Simply put, eating protein does not equal big muscles.
What it does do, for those of us dedicated to long distance and endurance sports, is speed up your recovery between training sessions meaning less achy muscles and more productive training day after day.
Protein for recovery from running and cycling
Endurance sports are hard on our bodies, we expend a lot of energy during training and the physical challenge of events such as marathon running, Audaxes or 100-mile sportives leave us depleted of energy and our muscles sore and damaged.
The key timeframe for optimised Recovery is the immediate 30 minutes after finishing exercise, this is called the replenishment window.
The first 30 minutes afterwards
During this time, you need to eat both protein and carbs to refuel and repair your muscles. It is an opportunity for protein, along with carbohydrate, to work in a genuine and potent way, together.
During this first 30-minutes your aim is to consume 1g carbohydrate for each 2lbs body weight (0.91g per kg) and 0.3–0.5 grams’ protein per kg of body weight.
After this, eating small amounts of carbs every hour replenishes the energy you have expended and allows you to start loading for the next day.
Protein increases insulin production which aids the conversion of glucose (from carbs) to be stored as energy in the form of glycogen and is required to help repair and re-build the damage your running or cycling has done to your muscle fibres. In this second phase your aim is 1.2g carbs per kg and 20g protein over 4-6-hour window.
This is a very different approach to using protein to bulk up, as muscle synthesis needs over 20g of protein at any one time, that’s a lot of protein and only appropriate if you are looking for more bulk muscle.
Natural, healthy protein bars
In a world that is turning away from refined sugars the food industry is looking toward sources of protein - it has many positives: it is healthy, helps builds muscle and keeps you satiated so less likely to snack. But, because of the emphasis on high amounts of protein, many protein bars are dry, heavy, stodgy and very powder dense.
Typical off-the-shelf protein bars weigh 40g, where half has to be protein, that is a lot of dry, dusty powder to deal with and most have insufficient carbohydrate levels to meet the golden 3:1 ratio that is proven to be optimal for recovery from endurance sports.
Perusing shelves of protein bars is a real demonstration of synthesised powders and sweeteners. These dry, dusty bars are often covered in chocolate-style or caramel-type gloop laced with flavourings because they taste so revolting they have to disguise all the true flavours - these sweet, sticky coatings and layers are there to try to make the bars more palatable. They don’t look sporty or healthy!
Industry wide, protein is obviously a huge theme and has been growing for a number of years, but there isn’t much available if you want something tasty, natural and healthy. So we decided to make it ourselves!
Protein can be consumed in a number of forms but it is important to understand that all protein is not equal. To facilitate muscle repair your body requires a ‘complete’ protein, one which contains all 9 essential amino acids.
Here at Veloforte we really experimented to get this one just right, Lara Giusti, founder and expert baker, tested well over 30-40 recipes to find the right combination of flavours and protein source, she explains, “We wanted to avoid whey and soy protein as both are known to contribute towards bloating & stomach cramps. We looked at length at veg protein; brown rice, pea protein and hemp but in their most natural forms they all have a very distinct flavour and do not offer a complete protein profile for Recovery”
The final recipe contains egg white, a 'complete protein' that is readily recognised in both the baking and nutrition world. Egg whites are easy to digest, 100% natural with a deliciously savoury taste.
It has a Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score of 1.0 (the highest level)
Taste is always a top consideration for us and the Forza bar is a delicious combination of apricots, orange juice, agave & honey providing yet more protein and sources of carbohydrate. “Apricot is a naturally high protein fruit” explains Lara, "we only bake with un-sulphered Apricots as they contain no artificial preservatives and are naturally sweet, rich and jammy. We added in fennel seeds for a gentle hint of aniseed and contrasting texture from the almonds, the highest protein of all nuts.”
As company founder Marc Giusti explains “its really been an art and a science to find the ratios with natural products which does everything we want it to do. It is extremely well considered. The Forza has double the protein of our original bars and really meets the conditions needed for recovery perfectly. It offers something natural, focused on endurance performance, not bulk”
Eating for Recovery
The replenishment, or glycogen window, is your biggest priority. That first thirty minutes is when your nutrition can make the biggest difference. Having Forza bars to hand where ever your training session or race finishes is a convenient way to get the best possible start to your recovery. Keep them in your kit bag or desk drawer at work and have a stash at home for when time is tight.
A useful little trick is to keep one in your back pocket when cycling and eat it in the last 10-15 minutes of your ride, whilst warming down, this means that you aren’t ravenous when you walk through the door and less tempted to eat unhealthily.
Forza bars are a great natural source of complete protein and carbs for any time and are particularly useful when travelling back from events or training sessions to ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs between meals. The natural fibre and complete protein helps you to feel full when hunger kicks in, as well as being good for your body and your recovery
Our new Forza Bars are designed to work perfectly to aid your recovery and ensure you are in the best possible condition for your next session or race.
Tasty in your mouth, gentle on your stomach and with a carbohydrate: protein ratio of 3:1 and 12g of top quality complete protein per bar, the Forza will kick start your muscle recovery after every long and hard training session, marathon, Audax or sportive.
(Available in Packs of 3 and Box sizes up to 24 bars)