More Incentive for Intensity

Functional Aging

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  1. More Incentive for Intensity

    “Knowledgeable athletes train by doing a hard workout…”


    As a road cycling enthusiast, Gabe Mirkin, M.D. is always looking out for RBR’s readers. For years he’s shared useful advice and perspectives on performance factors such as exercise intensity and recovery.

    At age 75, the doc practices what he preaches when he says, “Knowledgeable athletes train by doing a hard workout that damages muscles, feeling sore the next day, and then doing easier workouts for as many days as it takes for muscles to heal.

    “We can tell muscles are healed when the soreness goes away. Obviously, the faster we can recover from hard workouts, the sooner we can do the next hard workout and the greater our gain in endurance, speed and strength.”

    And essential to quick recovery is post-ride nutrition.

    That’s no secret if you’ve been reading this newsletter (see “Glycogen Replenishment” in No. 451). To drive home the point, Dr. Mirkin explains one reason why immediately eating a meal high in carbohydrate and protein after a long or intense ride is so beneficial.

    “Sugar and other carbohydrates cause a high rise in insulin, which drives the protein building block amino acids into damaged muscle cells to help them heal faster, so we can ride hard again sooner.”

    That’s good, but it gets better.

    “When you exercise, contracting muscles remove sugar from the bloodstream rapidly without needing insulin,” Dr. Mirkin explains. “The harder you exercise, the more effective your muscles are in removing sugar from the bloodstream and the longer they can continue to do so.”

    Health benefits?

    “Intense exercise is far more effective in preventing and controlling diabetes than exercising at a leisurely pace. Furthermore, high-intensity exercise maximally improves every conceivable measure of heart function and heart strength.”

    The doc can cite studies to back up these statements. “The key,” he says, “is to take your sugar-protein meal when your muscles are most sensitive to insulin — during the last part of your intense workout or no longer than one hour after you finish that workout.” The sooner the better.

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Your Personal Best Training Studio
Doddridge Plaza
3765 S. Alameda, Ste 102
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
(361) 857-5087