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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

4. Ferguson-Stegall L, McCleave EL, Ding Z, Doerner PG, Wang B, Liao YH, Kammer L, Liu Y, Hwang J, Dessard BM, Ivy JL. Postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation improves subsequent exercise performance and intracellular signaling for protein synthesis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011;25:1210-1224.

5. Ferguson-Stegall L, McCleave E, Ding Z, Doerner Iii PG, Liu Y, Wang B, Healy M, Kleinert M, Dessard B, Lassiter DG, Kammer L, Ivy JL. Aerobic exercise training adaptations are increased by postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2011. Epub.


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.


I was in Starbuck’s recently and a young man in a suit caught my eye. His eyes were so wide and bright, his smile from ear to ear, his posture so upright. He could barely contain his excitement for what lies ahead. He was obviously fresh out of college and on an important job interview. He was effusing his positive attributes and his ambitious outlook on life and his career. I watched his enthusiasm with wonderment. I remembered those moments when I was that bright-eyed young adult ready to take on the world. In those moments, I felt like life was just about to begin and anything was possible. Only executive titles, riches and nice houses, cars, and vacations and happiness were in store for us as college graduates.

And I thought as I watched this young man…when did we lose that enthusiasm, that optimism, that hope for an amazing future? I thought…well, life is hard and this boy doesn’t even realize it yet. But yes, life IS hard. Life’s obstacles can beat us down. OR, they can make us stronger! 

What if we tackled life’s obstacles like we tackle those famous mud run or Spartan Race obstacles? There is no way we are going to let those obstacles get us down? What if we tackled life’s obstacles like we tackle every Cycle class? There is no way anyone is passing you on that leaderboard!

There is that moment in your cycle class when you feel like you can do anything, that no obstacle is too hard for you, and the struggles of life disappear. What about when you want to scream out with excitement because you passed someone on the leaderboard after killing yourself to catch up to them? YOU did that! YOU persisted and pushed. YOU overcame that obstacle. Walking out of that room, you know you can overcome anything life throws at you. That is the power of Cycleup! For those 45 minutes, you have become that young man/woman fresh out of college. You are optimistic about change and the world is yours for the taking!

Confidence is to be gained in each cycle class and with each revolution. Confident people say, “I CAN!” This thought then turns in ACTION. They think they can and they do! 

Self-efficacy is the strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals. Self-efficacy directly relates to how long someone will stick to a diet or workout regimen, or even whether someone might reach the top of the leaderboard. With each Cycleup class, you build your self-efficacy. At Cycleup, you will not only change your health and build incredible fitness, but you may even change the direction of your life and tackle challenges you never thought you could. Give it a test and just see what this newfound confidence and self-efficacy does for you!

What can you say I CAN to this week? I CAN…

  • ·      Get up and try a 5:15am class before work
  • ·      Cycle at Cycleup 3 times this week
  • ·      Hold 100 rpm at Gear 4 for a complete minute
  • ·      Hit 200W (300W, or 400W) power output
  • ·      Drink water instead of soda or juice
  • ·      Take my family on a bike ride to Concert in the Parks instead of driving
  • ·      Try a healthy recipe for dinner this week
  • ·      Ride my bike to work
  • ·      Walk during my lunch break
  • ·      Go out for a job interview that I haven’t been confident enough to apply for
  • ·      Hike the big loop at Towsley Canyon
  • ·      Say no to some things in my life that are causing me stress
  • ·      Sign up for the Santa Clarita Marathon/Half-Marthon/5K
  • ·      Sign up for a Spartan Race
  • ·      Sign up for the Castaic Triathlon

New Team training groups will be forming soon. If you are interested in training for an event, please contact Heather Flebbe at fastbikermom@gmail.com.


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.


Have you ever wondered what cycling shoes can do for you? Or do you think only serious cyclists can use them? The benefit of cycling shoes is significant, even for novice cyclists. The nice thing about being indoors is that your bike won’t fall over with you still clipped in! (Not that I would know anything about that!)

Be ready to get a lot more out of your Indoor Cycling class!



  1. Cycling shoes have a stiff sole, which allows you to apply more force while pedaling. More force applied means a higher power output which means more calories burned! Yes, investing in cycling shoes will help you burn more calories!
  2. By connecting your shoe to the pedal, you will utilize more muscle groups throughout the pedal stroke. Activating and recruiting more muscle groups will bring about greater changes in fitness, strength, and endurance. More muscle groups will be “stressed” or worked during the session. That means more muscles will be adapting to the workload. Adaptation is what brings about greater fitness. Just watch your power output increase each week!
  3. In addition to increasing force output, the stiff sole of a cycling shoe allows you to transfer power more efficiently from your feet to the pedals. The lack of support in tennis shoes allows the foot to collapse through the arch while pedaling. This may cause arch pain, tendon problems, or burning under the bottom of the foot. A rigid cycling shoe protects your feet from the stress of pedaling.
  4. Studies have shown that the use of Cycling shoes leads to a reduced incidence of knee injuries. Modern day clipless pedals now offer varying degrees of rotational float (0° to 15°). These free float pedals allow the knee to travel in a more linear motion while pedaling thus reducing the stresses on the knee.
  5. Cycling shoes allow you to maintain more control while accelerating or when standing during climbing. The stability offered by the cycling shoe will give you more confidence as you feel more control on the bike. Soon you will be hammering up those climbs and sprinting faster on those flats. And that means more calories burned too! 

So what type of shoe do I get? My favorite brand of shoe for Indoor Cycling is Specialized. I find them the most comfortable and they have several different price point options. Shimano, SIDI, and Pearl Izumi are excellent choices as well. You can search on sites like www.jensonusa.com and find great deals. Or, visit Performance Cyclery in Santa Clarita (www.performancecyclery.com) and let their experts find the right shoe for you. You can spend anywhere from $29.99 to $100+ for a cycling shoe. Find the right price point for you and the most comfortable shoe. If you are only going to cycle indoors, you may not need the most expensive shoe. The lower priced shoes may be more uncomfortable, however, so it might be best to try them on.

A road cycling shoe is best for stiffness and stability, but a mountain bike shoe will work as well and may be more comfortable. There are even cycling shoes that look like tennis shoes!

The pedals at Cycleup Valencia accommodate both SPD®(Shimano Pedal Design) or LOOK cleats. Cleats are sold separately from the shoe so make sure you also pick up a pair of cleats. SPDs are recessed into the shoe and allow you to walk on any surface. Looks are not recessed and make walking more difficult.


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.


"I'm training to be a bad ass!" WHAT ARE YOU TRAINING FOR?

It seems like nowadays everyone wants to be a “Bad Ass” and I love it! The empowerment people achieve through exercise is the reason I have been training people for over 20 years. I love when people cross the finish line of an event or even a fitness class and feel like they can do ANYTHING! We are given one precious life with plenty of time to reach or miss goals and I know I want to make the most of every second.

So what are you training for? What are your goals? Do you know how you will get there? Have you made a plan? 

A woman in class recently told me she wants to lose 50 pounds by next July. I was excited for her and we pushed through the class with that goal in mind. After I saw how hard she was working in class, I told her she will reach 50 pounds before July!”

But just saying I will lose 50 pounds by July is not enough to get her there. She needs a clear, calculated plan to reach that goal. I can dream of being a millionaire but if I do nothing towards that goal, it will only be a dream. I don’t want this woman to wake up next July saying well, I lost 20 pounds but I’m still working toward the 50. NO! She CAN lose 50 pounds by next July! There are 52 weeks in a year. If she made a plan to lose 1 pound per week, she could lose 52 pounds by next July!

Whatever your goal is, you need to plan the steps to get there. SMART Goal setting states that we are more likely to achieve our goals if the goal is:

  • ·      SPECIFIC
  • ·      MEASURABLE
  • ·      ACTION BASED
  • ·      REALISTIC

Specific goal: I want to lose 50 pounds


Measurable: I will lose 1 lb per week

Action based: I will cycle at Cycleup 4 days a week

Realistic: It is realistic that I can lose 1 lb per week and that I have the time to cycle 4 days a week

Time Constrained: 1 year to achieve goal

Now, one year to achieve the goal is a long-term goal. To be more successful, we will BREAK IT UP into smaller goals. Take this goal and break it into one-month increments.


·      It is July 7, 2014. By Aug 7, 2014, I will lose 4 pounds.

·      I will have to exercise 4 times a week for 16 total classes

o   Purchase either the 20 ride package summer special, or why not the Unlimited Monthly?

·      I will lose 1 lb per week.


TRACKING the goal will increase her likelihood of achieving the one-month goal. She will record her exercise sessions. She will make a log sheet with days attended, minutes of exercise, and calories burned. The MY STATS program will make this very easy for her to log and record.

To lose 1 lb per week, one must create a 3,500 calorie deficit via exercise or diet or a combination of both.


If our female exercises 4 days a week, she would need to expend 875 calories per session to reach the 3,500 calories per week. Since she is new to cycling, we will set her caloric expenditure goal to 400 kcal and we will include a 275 calorie restriction in her diet in order to reach the 3,500 calorie deficit by the end of the week. Riding 12mph for a 155lb person will burn 298 calories in 30 minutes so she will easily be able to reach 400 calories in 45 minutes. 1 pancake at IHOP equals 275 calories. 1 Soda at 150 calories and 1, 1-oz bag of Doritos at 140 calories equals 290 calories. Cutting out a few unhealthy snacks or reducing portion sizes at each meal will help her easily reach a deficit of 275 calories.


And her plan would be as such:







































This is the schedule for Month 1. As our female becomes stronger and more fit, she will be able to expend more than 400 calories per ride (pedaling at faster than 12mph or increasing the resistance). Therefore, like I predicted, she will reach her 50-pound weight loss before July! She will need to adjust her plan every month and keep tracking to keep her accountable.


What else can she do to make sure she reaches her goal?

  • ·      Look at it – Make a vision board, post a picture or motivational statement in a highly visible place to continually remind her of the goal
  • ·      Tell People – And she is already doing this! She told me and now I will keep asking her how she is doing. Tell everyone you know so you are held accountable.
  • ·      Break it Up – Month by Month set the plan with smaller steps toward the long term goal
  • ·      Set a date – July 7, 2015 my new target weight will be <insert weight here>
  • ·      Commit to yourself – You and only you can make this happen. Commit to doing this for yourself. It’s important to you. We don’t get to turn back the clock and we don’t get any time back. So set your plan, commit to it, and just do it!

WHAT ARE YOU TRAINING FOR? Is there a “bad ass” inside of you?

Take the time to sit down and set a personal goal for yourself. Then, take the important next steps and MAKE A PLAN to get there! Cycling with the best instructors at Cycleup is your first step to maximize caloric expenditure, weight loss, muscular endurance, and cardiovascular health all with low impact to the joints!


Let’s all achieve big things with Cycleup!

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.