Q&A – Post workout ‘shakes,’ my food needs more cowbell, and I don’t have a treadmill

I got some great questions, recently, and I thought I’d share some of my answers. Enjoy!

Post Workout ‘Shakes’

I’ve lost about 20lbs, since I started dieting, and have about 25 left to go. I’ve been lifting weights per your program, and since I started reading more about fitness and diet, I read about how important a pwo (post workout) shake is. Is it?

Also, mine don’t come out creamy and thick like a shake. did I buy the wrong stuff? I bought a container of vanilla whey at Target and use Gatorade powder according the recipe on a bodybuilding forum. It doesn’ t taste bad, but it’s not really like a shake.

1. If you’re trying to lose weight or lose fat, then I don’t typically recommend a post workout shake. PWO shakes are a good strategy for athletes who plan to train again the same day or for people training to gain muscle. Dieters should maximize their solid food intake, instead.

2. If you’re eating 3-4 meals a day, then there is enough ready energy and protein building blocks at your body’s disposal at any given time to meet it’s recovery needs.

3. Assuming you actually trained hard and long enough to deplete your glycogen stores, you have until your next workout to refill them. Is it today? No? Don’t worry about them. There’s no need to refill them immediately unless you plan to use them immediately. The 75 to 200 grams of carbs you will be eating over the next day or so will do the job nicely.

4.I’m not sure who decided to use the word ‘shake’ for this stuff. Maybe because you typically put it in a bottle, add water, and shake it? It just leads to confusion. Unfortunately, unless you buy expensive powders that are designed to thicken, use ice and a blender, and keep the liquid to a minimum, the cloudy Kool-Aid looking shake is what you are going to get, and it’s what bodybuilders, gymrats, and athletes actually drink. They aren’t delicious, but they aren’t nasty, either. They are designed to be drinkable, hydrating, and ‘nutritious,’ and that’s it.

5. If you still want to have a pwo shake instead of your next meal (convenience?), make it a real shake, using quality protein powders, healthy fats, and maybe a banana. There’s simply no need for ‘high glycemic carbs’ and ‘fast acting proteins’ in the average dieter’s diet.

6. Here’s an example of a healthier pwo shake. The key is to make it good enough and big enough to be a meal, otherwise you’re taking in extra calories and extra food, and that’s not going to help with fat loss. Also, if a shake leaves you hungry in an hour and wanting to eat again before it’s eating time, then it’s time to reconsider the shakes entirely.

Healthier ‘PWO’ Shake Example

  • 1-2 scoops vanilla whey powder
  • 1 small to large banana (for best results, use a previously sliced, frozen banana)
  • 100-150 calories worth of coconut milk, coconut cream, avocado, nuts, or nut butter
  • ice (optional)
  • water to thin

Blend until smooth.


My food needs more cowbell

I’ve been dieting for months now, and the fat is coming off. I’m getting tired of all the boring paleo food, though. Chicken breasts and broccoli were fine at first, but since I can’t afford grass-fed beef I’ve been sticking to the basics of lean chicken, fish, and veggies, using olive oil and flax seed oils when needed. It’s a bland existence, and I just think it needs more cowbell!

There are a couple of problems here, the first is that you need grass-fed to eat right. Yes, grass-fed is better than traditionally raised beef, but it’s not an all or nothing thing. Eat beef. Try your best to find sources that are humanely raised if you like and buy grass-fed ground beef when you can (ground is more economical).

Paleo isn’t about supposed to be about lean anything. Sure, you can eat the lean cuts, but eat the fattier cuts (dark meat poultry and marbled steak), too. In the early days of paleo dieting, there was an avoidance of saturated fat, but that’s been debunked, but the myth and practice lingers on the internet. For a more up to date and modern take on things, look to Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint or 21 Day Body Transformation. You can check out Mark online at MarksDailyApple.

As to “more cowbell,” this is where I’m torn. I believe that one reason we are in this mess (the modern health and obesity mess) is because modern, industrially produced food is so palatable, ‘delicious,’ and rewarding. However even though it might be harder, you can still get fat on healthy food, whether it’s low carb, paleo, primal, vegan, vegetarian, organic, or fed to you in the tiny doses that a lapband restricts one to.

There’s certainly a place for delicious and satisfying food, but taken too far, we can eat too much and get (or stay) fat. Delicious? Maybe. Satisfying? If you need to keep going back for 2nds or 3rds, it apparently wasn’t all that satisfying, now was it? 😉

I’m not saying to eat the equivalent of chicken and broccoli to keep losing weight, but I would suggest making just a few meals more special so you don’t get bored and frustrated by a Spartan diet. To a large degree, food is fuel, or a tool. You are fueling your metabolism and using your food  as a tool to lose weight. Keep using the right tool for the job and you will succeed, just make sure to intersperse enough pleasure into your diet to keep on keeping on.

By the way, Mark’s Daily Apple has plenty of recipes that you can use to shake things up!

Here’s where the “more cowbell” reference comes from, in case you don’t know.


I don’t have a treadmill

I don’t have a treadmill and most programs have intervals prescribed. I don’t have a good palace to do actual sprints. Do you have a suggestion?

You don’t have to do sprints in a palace to be effective. In fact, most royalty goes outside. 😉 Assuming you meant place, I do have suggestion, but the simplest comes from trainer and coach Mark Young.

Treadmill Replacement: Lie down on your stomach making sure the chest touches the floor. Get up. Do this 20 times consecutively. Rest a couple minutes and do it again. Repeat as many times as desired.

I just saved you $3000 on a treadmill. Please feel free to mail me a rather large cheque.


Have a question?

If you have questions that you’d like Galya or me to answer, let us know in the comments, through email, or via the contact page.




2 thoughts on “Q&A – Post workout ‘shakes,’ my food needs more cowbell, and I don’t have a treadmill

  1. Lisa

    Ha! This made me smile today. I suggest butter for the bland dieter – I mean the person with the bland diet. I know it’s dairy and some say “not paleo”, but a little butter on veggies and to finish off a simple pan sauce does wonders for chicken breast and broccoli.

    1. roland Post author

      Lisa, this is an excellent point.

      Some do say it’s “not paleo,” but Diane Sanfillipo, Robb Wolf, and Mark Sisson all say butter is fine if it doesn’t cause you issues. I suggest grass fed butter, which actually DOES taste better than your typical butter, and is available in virtually every supermarket, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s now; Kerrygold.


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