Randon Hall, MD
The Philly Pretzel is Optimal Sports Recovery Fuel
When we are talking sports performance, proper nutrition has got to be at the top of the list. I am always looking for the best advice to give young athletes regarding refueling after competition, and the Philly Pretzel ranks up there as one of the best. Here is an in-depth breakdown on why this dense snack will keep you at the top of your game.
For most athletes fuel for performance can be covered with two sources, carbohydrates (CHO) and fluids. The problem is that no one ever tells you the why and how of sports nutrition. We are not talking about the typical weight loss or bulk up plan, just the right fuel to meet peak performance on the day of competition. It is a fact that that as the intensity of exercise increases there is a greater reliance on CHO. Once you pass 60-75% of your max effort CHO is your primary source of energy.
After a workout or competition, your sole focus should be on replenishing the nutrients you will need for the next round. Every effort should be made to do so within the first hour after intense activity as the body is at maximal refueling efficiency.
The “Golden Hour” concept is extremely important with multiple competitions or practices in the same day. Typical recovery recommendations include 1 g of CHO per every kg of body weight for the athlete. The addition of protein (PRO) at this time can have an additive benefit on muscle recovery with optimal consumption between 6 - 20 g PRO. Lastly sodium should also be replenished as it is lost through sweat and improves rehydration.
Let’s see how the classic Philly Pretzel stacks up. Containing 70 g CHO, that is great for the average 160 lbs athlete with the ability to scale up for heavier competitors. The Philly Pretzel also boasts 14 g of PRO which is perfectly in range for optimal post performance snack. It also has 280 mg of sodium which is comparable to the amount in a 20oz Gatorade and is very low in fat.
280 mg sodium
16 oz Chocolate Milk
16 g PRO
305 g Sodium
What I love best is its super cheap where one pretzel can sell for much less than a dollar. It portable and doesn’t have to be chilled or can be stored in a Ziplock in a locker or gym bag, especially for all day tournaments. Post-exercise recovery fueled by the classic Philly Pretzel definitely gives chocolate milk healthy challenge.