I mentioned early last week that I was embarking on the challenge of the summer! Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme. What really happened was that for one week I replaced my runs with Jennifer Cohen’s boot camp workout. I also tried out Muscle Milk after the workout to see how well it worked at helping me recover.
Although it doesn’t quite capture the title of “challenge of the summer,” parts of it were challenging. That being the boot camp part, not the drinking Muscle Milk part (that was a cinch). There were two very specific things about the workout that made it challenging.
1. For a majority of the week I completed the workout at 6 am. Now, 6 am is not foreign to me. You can find me hitting the pavement at this time every weekday morning. The difference is that when I run that early I can sleepily put one foot in front of the other until I am gradually awake. This boot camp routine did not allow for any sort of delicate awakening process. No, I was up and alert after the first swing of the jump rope.
The non-gradual waking up process of the boot camp turned out to have some perks. I typically am half awake during my runs, so I go whatever pace my groggy body can handle. That pace is usually… slow. And I rarely have the urge to push myself to go faster. During the boot camp workout, however, I was alert enough to give myself a challenge.
2. The final set always gave me trouble. I had that voice in my head telling me it would be okay if I let the lactic acid stop me, but this time I had energy on my side to help me deny those thoughts and keep on going.
My favorite thing about adding a speed, agility and body weight routine, like Cohen’s boot camp, into my workout routine is that I get to use muscles I’ve let atrophy. It’s awful and awesome at the same time. Case in point, the first exercise was jumping rope. After 20 seconds I was struggling. I had forgotten how difficult it was to jump rope! My arms and lungs were burning. It was like all the miles I had put in over the past year were meaningless. For a second, I wished I was my 6-year-old self again because it didn’t seem like such an exhausting task back then. The workout got a bit harder the second day but by the end of the week I was getting the hang of things. I could feel the strength in my arms, core and lungs return to me. What a fantastic feeling!
I think part of the reason the end of the week went so well was because I recovered properly. This is something I definitely have lost since leaving collegiate sports. My mornings are always rushed. After returning home from my run, stretching, showering and hitting the road for work I don’t have time to make something to fuel me back up. Muscle Milk made that part easy. Honestly, I cannot tell you how awesome it was to not have to blend my own protein drink, heat up oatmeal or cook eggs on the stove in order to get some healthy calories back into my body. The on-the-go bottles didn’t need refrigeration (until after they were opened), so I kept them sitting on my dresser so I wouldn’t forget them as I rushed out the door.
Back in the day, I would make a protein drink out of powder and milk/water. Although delicious, it usually turned out thick and/or clumpy. Then, after drinking the mix, I would have to down a glass of water to quench my thirst. Muscle Milk was different. It was the consistency of milk (although there is no actual milk in it…all you lactose intolerant readers can start rejoicing now) and was actually very refreshing. I didn’t feel like I was running for the bubbler (drinking fountain to all you non-Wisconsinites) and unlike other packaged protein drinks I’ve tried, this one didn’t leave a funky after taste.
The two flavors, Chocolate and Vanilla Latte, were awesome! I particularly liked the Vanilla Latte. It had just a hint of coffee flavor, which was perfect for my post-morning workouts. I must mention that the Vanilla Latte flavor was low calorie, so if you are watching calories this is a great option. Chocolate was delicious too. It was a nice way to get my chocolate fix, which seems to strike me mid-morning.
I tried both flavors cold and at room temperature. As I mentioned, it was nice to be able to bring the bottle to work without worrying about keeping it cold. On the other hand, having a few stored in the fridge for post-workout was a great idea. It was just a hint more refreshing after working up a sweat.
I’m taking a few things away from this week. First, the boot camp routine can be adjusted to fit with my normal running routine. Rather than do 4 sets of each exercise, I can do one or two sets after my run. This will give me the benefit of getting to wake up slowly (via run) and gain speed and strength (via boot camp). Finally, I’ll start drinking more Muscle Milk. Honestly, it was convenient (which is HUGE for me) and delicious. I think it would be a great snack to give me a pick-me-up mid-day too. I’ll be trying that next!
If you have questions about this challenge leave them below and I’ll get back to you.
Muscle Milk® is an ideal blend of protein, fats, good carbohydrates and 20 vitamins and minerals to provide sustained energy, spur lean muscle growth and help provide recovery after tough days.
“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Muscle Milk via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Muscle Milk.”