27560 Newhall Ranch Road Suite 311 Valencia, CA

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What is the Afterburn Effect and how can I keep burning longer?

Did you know you could get a greater return on your workout investment?  The work you put into each exercise bout can lead to a larger payout than you thought.  After your exercise bouts, you can sit back and smile as your body burns more body fat while you rest!  This exercise afterburn, or the Afterburn effect, is scientifically referred to as EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. After an exercise bout, the amount of oxygen consumed can be measured. For a period of time, oxygen uptake remains elevated about resting levels during exercise recovery.  This increase in oxygen consumption comes at an energy cost. How does your body pay that cost? With your stored body fat!

“I want to invest in that,” you say? Well, with any investment, one wants to know how do I reap the greatest rewards?

What factors affect EPOC and lead to a greater post-exercise caloric expenditure?
Looking at the charts below, you can see a comparison of Light, low intensity exercise vs Heavy, high intensity exercise.

light exercise heavy exercise

The blue portion of each chart indicates the oxygen consumption that occurs during the exercise session. The orange portion of the chart indicates the oxygen consumption that continues during the post-exercise recovery. You can see that both light and heavy exercise elicit an EPOC response. However, notice the larger magnitude and longer duration of the EPOC response following the heavy exercise session. You can also see that the heavy exercise session elicited greater oxygen consumption during the session. So, not only did the subject expend more energy during the session, they also expended more energy after the exercise session.

What contributes to EPOC and why is EPOC greater following higher intensity exercise?
Oxygen consumption remains elevated post-exercise as the body replenishes depleted energy sources, restores muscle and blood O2 levels, converts lactic acid to glucose, and provides the energy for an elevated heart rate, breathing rate, elevated body temperature, and increased metabolic rate. Higher intensity exercise magnifies all of these things. Higher intensity exercise leads to:
  • Higher body temperature
  • Greater amount of energy and oxygen depletion
  • Greater amounts of circulating epinephrine and norepinephrine which increase metabolic rate
  • Greater amounts of lactic acid
  • Higher heart rates and breathing rates
The intensity of the exercise bout has the greatest effect on EPOC.
Bahr and Sejersted (1991) found that exercise at 75% VO2max for 80 minutes resulted in the largest post-exercise calorie expenditure at 150.5 calories. It also resulted in the longest duration of EPOC at 10.5 hours when compared to exercise at 29% VO2max (18 minutes of Afterburn) and 50% VO2max (3 hours and 18 minutes of Afterburn). 150 additional calories is equivalent to cookies, a soda, a Vanilla Latte at Starbucks, a bag of chips, or ½ cup of mozzarella cheese.  It may not seem like a lot of calories but if we consumed an extra 150 calories of food each day, it would lead to an extra 15 pounds of weight gain per year!

You can see that it pays to put more work into your workouts. With higher intensity work, you will increase the rate at which you burn fat after you complete a workout.

Intensity is one factor that leads to an increase in the number of calories expended after an exercise bout. Research shows that it takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours to fully recover to a resting state.  That’s a long time to burn excess body fat!

The magnitude and duration of EPOC depends on the duration of exercise as well as the intensity.
Increasing exercise duration significantly increases EPOC. Chad and Wenger (1988) investigated the effect of exercise duration on EPOC (30, 45, and 60 minutes at 70% VO2max). They found that EPOC was greatest with the longer duration.
  • 30 minute duration elicited 33 calories over 2 hours and 8 minutes
  • 45 minute duration elicited 74.5 calories over 3 hours and 24 minutes
  • 60 minute duration elicited 165 calories over 7 hours and 35 minutes
Interval training yields a larger Afterburn effect than continuous exercise and heavy resistance training can also result in a significant amount of exercise Afterburn.

The fact is that any additional caloric expenditure following exercise can add up over time and may contribute to long-term weight management.

So what does my Afterburn Investment portfolio look like?

  • Focus on improving your training status so you are able to perform higher-intensity exercise for periods of 30 minutes or more.
  • Regularly incorporate interval training workouts, as this type of training positively enhances EPOC.
  • Add Resistance training to your workout program twice a week. This should be high intensity or circuit resistance training.
Which Cycleup classes will help me achieve a larger Afterburn?
  • Monday and Wednesday 8:30am Watts Up with Robert
    • 30 minutes of high intensity interval training that will have you burning for hours afterwards.
  • Tuesday and Thursday 9:30am Ride and Ripped with Heather
    • 30 minutes of high intensity cycling followed by 30 minutes of high intensity circuit resistance training for a double bang EPOC effect!
  • All standard Cycleup classes offer 45 minutes of high intensity tempo training, continuous interval training, and supramaximal interval training focused on improving your training status and increasing your fitness to handle higher workloads.
So the next time you are sitting in the lobby at Cycleup after your killer fun class, smile and thank your instructor (and yourself) for pushing you so hard because now you can burn baby burn without even working!

Heather Flebbe, M.S., ACSM holds her Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and is a lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles as well as College of the Canyons. Heather also presents for the American College of Sports Medicine certification workshops. She may be reached at fastbikermom@gmail.com.

You know that feeling after your Cycle class. You aren’t hungry at first. But then an hour or so after class, it starts…that gnawing feeling of hunger that nags at you incessantly. “Feed me, feed me!” your body seems to scream! And if you’re not careful, you’ll satiate that sudden intense hunger with whatever is instantly available, even though it may not be what your body really needs. Like cookies, chips, candy or soda. How do we "restock" those calories without powering down foods that are not necessarily the best for us? The attached article has some great advice.


We all know the feeling of dragging ourselves into a spin class feeling depleted, sluggish, and overwhelmed with life only to walk out at the end of a Cycleup class feeling empowered, energized, alive, and maybe even forgetting what got you down in the first place. The secret elixir and therapeutic benefits of cycling continues to draw us back in. Just like a great night of sleep, a 45 minute Cycleup class refreshes us, renews us, and improves our mental alertness, memory, and mood.

Research on the mental and emotional benefits of cycling reveals powerful improvements in many areas with as little as 20-30 minutes of cycling. 

Top Mental and Emotional Benefits of Cycling

  • Cycling grows the brain! Like fertilizer for your brain, cycling increases the number of blood vessels increasing blood flow to the brain. With more blood flow comes more oxygen and nutrients improving function of the brain.
    • Several studies reveal increased concentration, memory, reasoning, and planning after 30 minutes of stationary cycling
    • Cycling builds new brain cells in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory.
  • Cycling elevates mood! Feeling down? 20-30 min of exercise per day works as well as psychotherapy and antidepressants in the treatment of depression. 20-30 min/day can even prevent depression.
    • Researchers found elevated serotonin and dopamine levels which are our feel good neurotransmitters, leading to improved mood and lowered anxiety levels.
    • With > 20-30/day, endorphins levels were increased, further boosting energy levels.
  • Cycling reduces stress and increases stress resistance! 
    • Those who regularly exercise have reduced cortisol levels and have better stress coping skills. Elevated cortisol levels wreak havoc on our metabolism.
  • Cycling helps you sleep better! With 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, cortisol levels are also reduced. Better sleep has been shown to improve mood, energy levels, memory and concentration and with lowered cortisol levels weight loss is enhanced. A sleep deprivation study revealed that appetite increased with increased cortisol levels. Missing your cycling class may have larger impacts on weight loss than you thought.
  • Cycling improves creativity! As you cycle in a regular rhythmic pattern, your mind begins to wander. Letting your mind wander is an important aspect in creativity. Many creative ideas emerge from these focused periods. So go ahead and release your mind during class and let those creative juices flow.
For all the benefits above, the sweet spot seems to be 30-60 minutes at 75% HRmax or a 7 on a scale of 1-10. So the next time you are feeling pulled down by life, take the best medicine and get in to Cycleup. Shore yourself up with some stress resistance, feed your brain, and cycle your way to happiness! 

Heather Flebbe, M.S., ACSM holds her Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and is a lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles as well as College of the Canyons. Heather also presents for the American College of Sports Medicine certification workshops. She may be reached at fastbikermom@gmail.com.

Feel Happier in 15 minutes!

Happy in 15 minutes? Yes, it can be done!
Get up out of your chair right now and start with 10 jumping jacks, 10 squats, and 5 push-ups. Now do 15 jumping jacks, 15 squats,and 10 push-ups. Keep going with 20 jumping jacks, 20 squats, and 10 push-ups until you reach 15 minutes. Do you feel the euphoria? What a difference 15 minutes can make! I bet you feel happier even if you only did 5 minutes!

Research shows a direct link between exercise and happiness. People who exercise on a regular basis tend to be happier over the long term. Not only do you get an immediate boost of endorphins (AKA happy!), but exercise can make you feel happier for a year!

  • People who exercise are more resistant to diseases = happy
    • Exercise can increase antibodies of the immune system by 300%
  • Exercise increases serotonin levels and endorphins = happy
    • Exercise with a friend or music and you get an even bigger boost = more happy
    • Increase your exercise intensity and increase endorphin levels = more happy
  • Walk for 10 minutes and increase your energy for 2 hours after = happy
  • 30 minutes of exercise has been shown to improve sleep = happy
  • Grow new brain cells pivotal to memory with exercise  = happy
Cycle with great friends and great music at Cycleup and feel happier every day!

Heather Flebbe, M.S., ACSM holds her Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and is a lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles. Heather also presents for the American College of Sports Medicine certification workshops. She may be reached at fastbikermom@gmail.com.


What is my healthy body weight?
Weight loss is something on the minds of many these days. We are, in fact, in the midst of a major national health problem with 35.1% of adults who are obese, and 69% who are overweight, including obesity. Those are alarming statistics. Being overweight or obese increases the prevalence of many chronic diseases. The more you weigh, the more likely you are to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, breast cancer, colon cancer, and other certain cancers. On the other hand, maintaining a healthy weight has many benefits. In addition to lowering your risk of disease, a healthy weight brings vitality, energy, and self-confidence that make you feel good about yourself. With a healthy body weight and renewed energy, you may find yourself experiencing new things and living a full life.

Sometimes, a healthy body weight can get distorted by idolizing others with very low, unhealthy body weights. So, what is your healthy body weight?

We can determine this with two simple methods.
Body Fat and BMI.
• Body fat can be measured by several methods. It is a measure of what % of your body weight is composed of Fat Mass compared to your Fat Free Mass.
• BMI is a measure of your body’s surface area. It is your Weight/Height2. Fat takes up a larger volume so it is assumed that if your surface area is larger, you are overweight or obese.
Body Fat
o A healthy body fat range for women is 20-32%
o A healthy body fat range for men is 10-22%
o Once you know your body fat %, we can calculate a healthy target body weight for you. Contact Heather Flebbe.
BMI – Calculate your BMI using this link: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm 
o Underweight: BMI < 18.5. Being underweight can lead to heart and reproductive problems. Gain weight to achieve at least a BMI of 18.5.
o Normal weight: BMI = 18.5–24.9. You are in the HEALTHY weight range. Great! Try to maintain your body weight by continuing healthy eating and exercising.
o Overweight: BMI = 25–29.9. Do not gain any weight. Have your risk factors for disease assessed and modify your behaviors to reduce your risk.
o Obese: BMI = 30 or greater. You need to lose weight. Lose weight slowly—about ½ to 2 pounds a week. See your doctor or a nutritionist if you need help. Or, add more Cycleup days to your routine.
o Follow this link to find the body weight that will move you into the Normal Weight Range. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmi_tbl.pdf 
BMI will overestimate in individuals with higher muscle mass and underestimate in the elderly.

If weight loss is necessary to achieve your healthy body weight range, the best method to lose weight and body fat is to combine exercise and healthy eating.

HEALTHY EATING does not consist of starvation methods. Healthy eating includes behavior changes that can be maintained for life.
• Every meal should emphasize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
• Add lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts to your plant products above
• A healthy plate is low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars
• Portion sizes should be controlled
Increased portion sizes are a significant contributor to our weight gain. Portion sizes have increased throughout the years and our perception of what is filling has become distorted. Transition to smaller portion sizes by using smaller dinner plates and ordering only half the portions when eating out. Share meals with friends or pack up half the plate before consuming the other half and make 2 meals out of 1! And TRACK YOUR CALORIES! My favorite app is My Fitness Pal. It is important to achieve a balance between calorie intake and calorie output.

MOVE YOUR BODY! The more you move your body, the more energy we expend. At the end of the day, that higher energy expenditure aids weight loss by increasing our metabolism, increasing lean body mass, and utilizing our stored fat reserves.

Set goals for your daily physical activity.
• 30 min a day, every day, is recommended to improve health and quality of life
• Get out and walk the dog with your family
• Meet a friend for a Hike rather than coffee
• Ride your bike to dinner or the movies
• Take stairs rather than elevators
• Get up out of your chair every hour at work and walk a lap around the building
• Book your bike at Cycleup! 3-4 days a week.

Set goals for nutritional behavior changes.
• Eat out less during the week
• Plan meals and lunches that are prepared ahead of time
• Track your calories on My Fitness Pal
• Drink more water and replace your sodas, juices, starbucks, etc. • Add more fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks
• Try new recipes and cook at home more often.
These are my favorite recipe sites:

Most importantly, live life and live it to the fullest! A healthy body weight should bring joy and adventure to your life. When an unrealistic body weight becomes an obsession, we start to lose the joy of health. Make sure your body weight goals are realistic, achievable, and maintainable.
Let CYCLEUP help you achieve your healthy body weight goals! Get in and RIDE BABY RIDE and you will LOSE BABY LOSE! Look forward to joining our next Cycleup and Weigh Down in the Fall.

Heather Flebbe, M.S., ACSM holds her Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and is a lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles. Heather also presents for the American College of Sports Medicine certification workshops. She may be reached at fastbikermom@gmail.com.

BOTTOMS UP! DRINK!! (Summary of FIT FOUNDATIONS: The Sweat Ride power point)

Why should I care about my Sweat Rate?

Dehydration decreases power output which means LESS CALORIES BURNED!

Dehydration and Performance

Dehydration decreases exercise performance, including maximal aerobic power
The greater the dehydration level, the greater the performance decrement
Dehydration reduces anaerobic performance

Dehydration and Core Temp

Dehydration causes increase in core temp
For every 1% drop in body weight due to dehydration, core temp elevates ~ 0.2°C

How much do we sweat?
Average person sweats between 0.8 to 1.4 liters (roughly 27.4 to 47.3 oz.) per hour during exercise.
Smaller bike water bottles typically hold 0.6 liters (20 oz.)
Larger bottles hold 0.7 liters (24 oz.) of fluid
Most of us do not even empty the water bottle we bring during the class. Even if we drank the full 24 oz water bottle, we would still not have replaced what the average person loses in sweat.

The Sweat Rate Test
Take your nude weight before exercise
Complete your exercise session (30 min – 1hr sufficient)
Take your nude weight after exercise
1 kg body weight lost = 1 Liter
1 lb body weight lost = 16 oz

Must add any fluid consumed and subtract any fluid excreted

Be sure to record the heat and humidity conditions in your sweat test.
Repeat the test in cool and hot conditions.
Repeat the test for swimming, running and cycling
Sweat rates vary with each sport and environmental conditions.

Knowing your sweat rates:
Drinking enough fluid will help replace the fluid lost in sweat
Maintain hydration -->Maintain your power! --> Burn more calories! -->Maintain intensity! -->Top of the leaderboard!

Calculate Sweat Rate
L/hr = [(Weightpre(kg) – Weightpost(kg)]/exercise duration (hr)

Example of a 30 minute test:
L/hr = (56.69 kg – 56.24 kg)/0.5 hr

L/hr = 0.9 L/hr
Convert liters to ounces = L/0.02957
0.9/0.2957 = 30.44 ounces per hour

How much to drink?
30.44 ounces per hour
Divide by 15 minute intervals
30.44/15 = 2.03 or 2 ounces every 15 minutes
8 ounces in 1 cup
2 ounces = ¼ cup

2 ounces = 2 full gulps
3 ounces = 3 full gulps

Example in pounds
145.6 lb Start Weight

143.5 lb End Weight


2.1 lbs = 33.6 ounces (2.1 lb x 16 ounces)

Drank 20 oz + 20 oz + 14 oz = 54 ounces consumed
54 oz consumed +33.6 ounces lost = 87.6 sweated / 2.25 hours = 39 ounces per hour

39 oz per hour/15 minutes = 2.6 ounces every 15 minutes

What do I need to drink?
< 60 min workout, WATER is sufficient
Drinking a Sports Drink increases your caloric intake. If weight loss is your goal, you are adding calories when you are trying to burn calories
> 60 min workout, Water and Carbohydrate/Electrolyte drink is necessary to replace lost sodium in sweat and to supply carbohydrates to maintain the work output.

Now that you know your sweat rate, be sure to set a timer or reminder to drink your specified amount every 15 minutes. It's easy to forget to drink during class. And it has been proven that if left to our own voluntary rehydration, no one ever drinks enough.

Replace any weight lost after your workout
Once your workout is over, if you have still lost weight, that weight lost needs to be replaced with fluids post-workout. So, if I did my best to rehydrate during the workout, and I still lost 1 lb. I will need to replenish with 16 ounces of fluid post-workout.


Heather Flebbe, M.S., ACSM holds her Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and is a lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles. Heather also presents for the American College of Sports Medicine certification workshops. She may be reached at fastbikermom@gmail.com.

CORE 101


Most people think the core refers to only the abdominal muscles and how we can get a "six pack." In fact, the abdominal muscles are only a small part of what makes up the core. To build a strong core, you must exercise a variety of muscles from your hips to your shoulders. The core muscles are responsible for stabilizing the spine and the pelvis and creating a solid base of support. When we have a strong core, we are able to generate more powerful movements of the extremities. 

The core muscles are what make it possible to stand upright and walk on two feet. These muscles help control our movements, transfer energy from our core to our arms and legs, shift body weight, and move in any direction. Dynamic core strength should be the goal. Dynamic core strength allows us to stabilize our spine against different forces, maintaining a neutral spine during the movement. A strong core also helps distribute the stresses of weight-bearing amongst the many muscles of the core, protecting the back.


A strong core reduces back pain
Imbalances in strength and flexibility of the core muscles are linked to low back pain. Weak core muscles result in the loss of a neutral spine and can lead to swayback posture. The tighter hip flexor muscles tilt the pelvis anteriorly while the weak gluteus maximus muscles cannot counterbalance to tilt the pelvis back to neutral. Weak back extensor muscles are not strong enough to erect the spine against gravity to maintain an upright posture. A stronger, balanced core helps maintain appropriate posture and reduce strain on the spine
A strong core improves athletic performance
All powerful movements originate from the center of the body out, and never from the limbs alone. Because the muscles of the trunk and torso stabilize the spine from the pelvis to the neck and shoulder, they allow the transfer of power to the arms and legs. The more solid and stable the spine and core, the more power can be generated from the extremities. Power can be generated to the arms to throw a baseball, hit a golf ball, or stay on your feet while wrestling. Power can be generated to the legs for sprinting, jumping, and cycling!
A strong core improves postural imbalances
Postural imbalances can lead to injuries. The biggest benefit of core training is to develop functional fitness: the type of fitness that is essential to daily living and daily activities. With a strong core, our daily activities will be performed with more control, less fatigue, proper posture, distributed loads, and less pain.


Core strengthening exercises are most effective when:
  • The torso works as a solid unit and both front and back muscles contract at the same time, as in the PLANK exercise
  • Multijoint movements are performed (such as a squat, lunge, or push up)
  • Stabilization of the spine is monitored
  • Abdominal bracing is emphasized (pulling navel to the spine)

  • Plank
  • Side Plank
  • Push Up
  • V-sits
  • Squats
  • Back Bridge
  • Reverse Crunch (Hip lift)
  • Oblique twist
  • Plank on a stability ball
  • Lunge with a twist
  • Supermans

Cycleup 30 Day Core Challenge Calendar



  • JOIN US ON FACEBOOK TO GET INSPIRED AND TO INSPIRE EVERYONE IN THIS CHALLENGE. https://www.facebook.com/groups/323839527794850/


Cycleup & WEIGH DOWN!

The Cycleup FALL INTO FITNESS nutrition and weight loss success program BEGINS OCT 5. 

It's the perfect time to increase our Physical Activity, burn more calories, and lose weight before the Holiday season!

The Holiday hustle and bustle makes it difficult to maintain our fitness goals. But our health, vitality, and longevity depends on how physically active we are. The best gift you can give your family and friends is a HEALTHY YOU!

The American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association jointly recommend that every adult complete at least 30 min of aerobic activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This has proven to reduce your risk of chronic diseases and help maintain a healthy body weight. ARE YOU MEETING THIS GOAL?

Cycleup’s Fall into Fitness program will motivate you to cycle at least 3-4 days a week; you will see improvements in your health; and you will cycle away those pounds! Enter the Holiday season feeling energetic and fabulous!

Learn the skills to improve your health, fitness, and body composition FOR LIFE with Cycleup and our fabulous trainers, THE HEATHERS!

Join our success program and receive Unlimited Classes for 60 days! Special Success classes, taught by Heather F and Heather D, offered only to Success participants will add Muscle Conditioning and Fun Team Challenges. The Heathers will motivate you, educate you, and provide you with nutritional guidance to maintain a healthy lifestyle for life.

For Only $199 you will receive:
• Unlimited Classes for 60 days
• Special Success classes, only open to Success participants
• Weekly incentives/prizes with opportunities for everyone to win!
• Nutrition education, including recipes and sample meal plans
• Personalized target body weight and weight loss program
• Pre and Post Fitness Assessment
• Accountability, tips and motivation from your Coach
Each member of the Winning Team will receive a 5-ride class package valued at $65
One Individual Winner from each team will receive 1 Free Monthly Unlimited package valued at $109

Our Two Teams will compete for the Best attendance, most body fat dropped, and most weight lost!
• Each member of the Wining Team receives a 5-ride class package valued at $65
An Individual from each team will win for most overall points in all categories –Attendance, bring a friend, % improvement in body fat, weight loss, and PTP fitness measurement
• One Individual Winner from each team will receive 1 Free Monthly Unlimited Ride package Weekly challenges and incentives give everyone a chance to win!

Have fun with your team; have fun with the Heathers; and watch your body change!

Information meeting to be held on Monday, September 29 at 7:15pm.
Pre-testing begins on Saturday, October 4 at 10:30am
Training begins Sunday, Oct 5
Post-testing will be on Saturday, Nov 22
Celebration event Sunday, Nov 23
**If other arrangements for pre and post-testing need to be made, just let your coach know**
60 day unlimited classes ends Dec 1.
Bring a non-member in to sign up for our success program and you can receive either a Free month or a 5-ride package for every person you sign up!
**Unlimited monthly members receive a free month for every non-member signed up
**Package riders receive a 5-ride package for every non-member signed up


You have been convinced that you MUST consume a post-workout recovery drink and you must buy a specific brand or you’ll never achieve your fitness goals. But is all this true? And what is the best recovery drink? And what is the purpose? Do I have to spend $50 a tub?

The answer is in your favorite childhood drink – CHOCOLATE MILK!


What is the purpose of a post-workout recovery drink?

The purpose of a recovery drink is threefold:
1. Replenish depleted muscle glycogen stores after a prolonged, intense workout

2. Inhibit catabolism, or breakdown of muscle tissue, and promote anabolism, or muscle rebuilding and growth by supplying a pool of amino acids

3. Rehydrate lost body fluids through sweat and restore electrolyte balance


Can Chocolate milk really do all these things? YES!

1.    Chocolate milk has the ideal 4:1 ratio of Carbohydrates to Protein proven to enhance glycogen replenishment

a.    After an exhaustive bout of exercise, subjects were provided with either chocolate milk or a carbohydrate replacement drink. On a subsequent exercise session, those who drank the chocolate milk took longer to reach exhaustion than those who drank the carbohydrate replacement drink. The study concluded that chocolate milk is an effective drink for recovering from exhaustion and depletion of glycogen.

2.    Chocolate milk provides the amino acids to promote anabolism

a.    Athletes given low fat chocolate milk produced less creatine kinase, an indicator of muscle damage, showing that chocolate milk is effective in muscle recovery and repair.

3.    Chocolate milk provides calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium needed to rehydrate

a.    Some research suggests chocolate milk may help you stay hydrated after exercise, more than some commercial sports drinks. 

Not only is chocolate milk very effective when it comes to recovery and refueling your depleted muscles, but it is also much less expensive than your other recovery options.

  • ·      A gallon of chocolate milk will cost you about $4.00/gallon.
  • ·      A 10-pack of Nesquick Ready to Drink bottles will cost you $7.98 a pack. If you workout 5 times/wk, this will last you 2 weeks at only $15/month.
  • ·      The alternative “Popular Brand” Results and Recovery Formula will run you $56.90 for a 30 day supply.

What does the “Popular Brand” have that chocolate milk doesn’t? Nothing!

Whey protein comes from milk. Chocolate milk IS whey protein. Chocolate milk is also fortified with vitamins and minerals. And this “high protein efficiency ratio” that the “Popular Brand” touts is nothing more than the 4:1 ideal ratio of Carbohydrates to Protein that chocolate milk has! This 4:1 ratio of CHO:PRO has been shown in research to yield the highest replenishment of glycogen post-workout when taken within 45 minutes.

When do I need a recovery drink?

It takes about 1 hour of high-intensity exercise to deplete 55% of your glycogen stores. It takes about 2 hours to almost completely deplete liver and muscle glycogen, specifically in the exercised muscles. The intensity of the exercise determines the rate of muscle glycogen depletion, with higher intensity exercise depleting glycogen and blood glucose at a faster rate.

Any high-intensity aerobic workout that is 1 hour or more would necessitate a post-workout recovery drink.

Walking at a slow to moderate pace for an hour does not significantly deplete glycogen and therefore, does not demand a post-workout recovery meal.

What is muscle glycogen?

  • When you eat Carbohydrates, these foodstuffs are broken down into glucose during the digestion process.
  • ·      Glucose is your cells’ preferred energy source.
  • ·      Glucose can rapidly be converted to ATP (adenosine-triphosphate).
  • ·      ATP is your cells’ energy currency that powers all cellular reactions such as, muscle contraction.
  • ·      Glucose is stored as Glycogen within the muscles and liver for a readily available fuel source when needed for physical activity.
  • ·      “Carbo-loading” is a technique used to supercompensate with muscle glycogen.

·      When the body’s storage of glycogen is at its maximum, a higher-intensity of exercise can be maintained for a longer period of time. When the body’s storage of glycogen is low, fatigue comes quick. Looking at the figure to the below, you can see that when in a carbo-loaded state, a higher workload can be maintained. In the Carbo-depleted state, you see the workload progressively declines. There is a reduced power output due to the slow rate of aerobic energy release from fat oxidation which now because a primary energy source. Sounds good to have fat as a primary energy source, right? But NO! What does this reduced power output mean to you? LESS CALORIES BURNED for the session and LESS ADAPTATION to increase fitness. Also note that in the carbo-depleted state, protein becomes a significant contributor as a fuel source (indicated by increased plasma 3-OH butyrate) . Protein breakdown for fuel use means loss of muscle tissue!



If an intense exercise session is followed by a quality recovery drink or meal, muscle glycogen will be maximally replenished. This means your next workout will be quality. You will be able to maintain the desired power output, burn the max calories, and push your body and its systems to the next level of fitness!

When do I need to drink my chocolate milk?

There is a window of opportunity during which you can optimally replenish glycogen stores. If taken within 45 minutes post-workout, you will get the max replenishment of stores. I suggest taking your chocolate milk with you to the gym. Have it in a cooler in your car ready to drink as soon as you get in. 

Why is the 45-minute window so important?

When food becomes available after exercise, 4 factors facilitate the cellular uptake of glucose:

1.    Elevated Insulin in response to Carbohydrate consumption

2.    Increased tissue sensitivity to Insulin improving glucose uptake into cells

3.    Low levels of Epinephrine and Norepinephrine which would facilitate the uptake of fuel sources rather than the mobilization of fuel sources when such levels are high (as they are during exercise)

4.    Increased activity of an enzyme called glycogen synthetase which promotes the storage of glycogen

These 4 factors have their greatest effect for up to an hour post-exercise.

Post-workout Recovery Guidelines:

Within 15 minutes after stopping exercise, consume 50 to 75 g (1.0-1.5g/kg of body weight) of high- to moderate-glycemic carbohydrates.  NESQUICK chocolate milk has 50g of Carbohydrates per bottle. CHOOSE ANY LOW-FAT OR NON-FAT CHOCOLATE MILK OPTION. Chocolate Soy milk also provides a good source of protein. 

Continue eating 50 to 75 g of carbohydrate every 2 hours until achieving 500 to 700 g (7-10g/kg/day) or until eating a large high-carbohydrate meal.

If immediately ingesting carbohydrate after exercise is not possible, an alternative strategy involves eating meals containing 2.5 g of high-glycemic carbohydrate per kg body mass at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 22 hours post exercise.


Nesquick Nutritional Information:



References for further information:

1. Lunn WR, Pasiakos SM, Colletto MR, Karfonta KE, Carbone JW, Anderson JM, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk & endurance exercise recovery: protein balance, glycogen and performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2012;44:682-691.

2. Karp JR, Johnston JD, Tecklenburg S, Mickleborough TD, Fly AD, Stager JM. Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2006;16:78-91.

3. Thomas K, Morris P, Stevenson E. Improved endurance capacity following chocolate milk consumption compared with 2 commercially available sport drinks. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2009;34:78-82

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Heather Flebbe, M.S., ACSM holds her Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology and is a lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles. Heather also presents for the American College of Sports Medicine certification workshops. She may be reached at fastbikermom@gmail.com.