Recovery Z3 High Octane Bars

This morning my running group and I ventured into the wind and cold for our Saturday long run and the 9 miles flew by! Why, you ask? Well for one, we took a totally random route in the search of rolling hills, and came across some of the most BEAUTIFUL old homes in the adorable neighborhood of Brookside.  And number D, I took my new Brooks Pureflows for their maiden voyage.  

They were great!  I didn’t feel any toe or side of the foot pain like I did in my old kicks.  Plus, they are SUPER light and breathable, while giving me the support and durability I need for my neutral gait. The right shoes are EVERYTHING when it comes to…well, anything. A job interview, a date, an ob-gyn visit, and of course, running. Trust me.  My ONLY complaint is that they aren’t black, like I typically prefer.  But this ladylike pink is all my running store carries right now because they are waiting for the new model to arrive.  However, my feet and knees were screamin’ for a new pair, so black kicks will have to wait a few months. Plus, my running buddy Kerry promimsed to help get them dirty sooner rather than later.  I think that involves a lot of running.  Eeeeek.

The great thing about going on a long run is that I get to eat a LOT that day!  Yay me!  After I got home, I whipped together a recipe that I have been holding on to for just the right moment, compliments of the awesome HyVee seasons magazine.  Z3 High Octane Bars.  And what better way to welcome my new Brooks to the family than cook for her?   Especially since I dragged her outta bed at 6:30 am on a Satuday…..

Created by Jenny Weber, head coach of USA Triathlon’s second-ranked youth and junior team program Z3, these bars are packed with healthy carbs to help athletes replenish blood sugars during recovery (recovery = sitting on your couch and or taking a nap). Not only that, but each 2×2 inch bar carries 10g of protein, 5g fiber and 6% of your daily iron intake. Plus, they are no bake.  Kazaam! (Yes, people say that).


Z3 High Octane Bars

2 cups quick oats

1 cup natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky – I used chunky)

1 cup honey

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup milled or ground flaxseed

1 cup vanilla whey protein powder

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until blended (I used my KitchenAid mixer because these dudes are thicker than snot).  Spread mixture into an 8×8 inch glass pan and refrigerate until ready to serve.  

To serve, cut into 2×2 inch squares.  Serves 16.  

I chose to refrigerate them overnight, then put each square into a separate ziplock bag, so I could keep them in my gym bag and car for a quick post-workout snack.  


Happy recovery!! HOLD UP – What’s recovery?  Here’s the quick facts:

After prolonged or intense exercise, your muscles need to recover.  You can help that process by fueling your body with a protein + carbs combo within 30-45 minutes of finishing your workout. Carb consumption stimulates insulin production, which aids the production of muscle glycogen (glycogen is the source of energy most often used for exercise). Wait longer, and you cut that glycogen production level in half.

Protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged during intense, prolonged exercise. It increases the absorption of water from the intestines and improve muscle hydration. The amino acids in protein can also stimulate the immune system, making you more resistant to colds and other infections.

I typically follow the 4:1 ratio (four grams of carbohydrate for every one gram of protein) for recovery.  If time is an issue, protein shakes or bars are great options.  Otherwise, whip up some protein pancakes or a yummy breakfast sandwich!

So like I said, HAPPY RECOVERY! What do you eat to recover? What shoes are you working out in these days?