When it comes to nutrition, we preach a common theme: If you put the right fuel into your body, you will perform better. It's that simple.
Until now, STACK has primarily focused on the success stories of professional athletes. But recently, an amateur (me) had the opportunity to train like the pros at Athletes' Performance (AP) in Phoenix, Ariz., while also getting a taste of G Series Pro, Gatorade's new products, which are designed specifically for athletes who want to advance their training levels.
Read on to find out how I stacked up against the pros.
Recently, I visited Phoenix to observe the intense Combine prep of AP's 2010 NFL Draft class. If you happened to watch this year's Draft, you may have noticed that AP's athletes impressed a lot of people. Every member of the class was chosen by a top-rated team.
Jermaine Gresham, TE from Oklahoma, and Demaryius Thomas, a former Georgia Tech receiver, went back-to-back in the first round, selected 21st by the Cincinnati Bengals and 22nd by the Denver Broncos, respectively. Golden Tate, Notre Dame's top receiver, was next, chosen in the second round, 60th overall, by the Seattle Seahawks. Kevin Thomas, USC cornerback, was picked by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round, 94th overall. Finally, Alterraun Verner, cornerback out of UCLA, the last AP athlete to go, was picked in the fourth round, 104th overall, by the Tennessee Titans.
Having observed these athletes' AP workouts earlier, I had a clue or two on what my training would be like: intense. But with Gatorade's new products, which help athletes perform better and recover more quickly, my two-day boot camp was not as bad as I had anticipated.
John Stemmerman, AP's performance and general manager, wanted to give me a taste of what every athlete goes through when they walk through AP's doors each day.
I started with a series of tests to determine whether I was fit enough to compete. Answer: yes, because at STACK, we're always looking to better ourselves. Among the tests were range of motion, VO2 max and body fat percentage. Although a couple of red flags went up (I had run a 50-mile trail race the week before), I was still cleared and declared ready to work out.
The first day was all about functional movements and proper running mechanics. After a rigorous warm-up, which had me reaching for a quick squirt of Gatorade, I performed Box Jumps, Med Ball Throws and Resistance Running. Stemmerman covered a wide range of movements, making sure I focused on controlling my body and performing every one correctly (attention to detail is a key AP value). The day ended with Rope Battling followed by conditioning.
The second day's workout focused on functional training and took place in the weight room. After another sweaty warm-up, the session consisted of supersetting exercises to simultaneously work complementary muscle groups with Kettlebells, TRX straps, Keiser machines and Power Plates. Stemmerman gave me a taste of various exercises that used each piece of equipment, so I could achieve a total body workout, similar to what their pro athletes do to gain an edge.
The workouts completely exhausted me from head to toe, but at the end of the two days, I was still able to walk away with no injuries and no soreness.
The G Series Pro Effect
In my opinion, I could not have survived the AP regimen without the new Gatorade G Series Pro. Lacking the right amount of fuel, I probably would have passed out near the end of conditioning on both days; water alone just wouldn't have cut it.
On my first training day at AP, I had the chance to share my test results with Dr. JohnEric Smith, a senior scientist at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. He was able to analyze and determine how much fuel my body needed to perform at its peak.
Pre-Activity: The G Series Pro offers three products—a nutrition shake, nutrition bar and carbohydrate energy drink—that can be consumed before a workout to provide the body with the fuel it needs. Depending on your diet, you don't need to take all three, but Smith recommends getting at least one in your system. Each product offers a different amount of calories, electrolytes and carbs, along with vitamins and minerals—including Vitamin A, C and D, calcium, iron and others needed for an active lifestyle.
STACK's Take: When I first woke up, I downed a tasty shake to prepare for the workout. It was about 11 ounces and definitely filled me up. I ate the nutrition bar on the way to AP. It didn't have a dry, chalky taste like other bars; it basically tasted like a granola bar and was packed with a lot of key nutrients: 10 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrates and 430 milligrams of potassium. I consumed the third product, the energy drink, about 45 minutes before the workout began, and I felt like a new athlete, ready to roll.
The products definitely gave me a base fuel level with which to start my training. All three tasted great and didn't feel forced down, which is a big plus and concern for most athletes.
During Activity: Next, I was given a choice of drinking three different types of Gatorade: G2, G Series Pro Endurance Formula, or the traditional Gatorade we all know and love, Thirst Quencher. All offered a variety of flavors and varied in calorie and electrolyte content. The drinks offered more benefits than water, proving to be essential for training so intensely at AP.
STACK's Take: Though I'm a big G2 guy, I tried a bit of everything. On a few occasions, I reached for something to quench my thirst and found that all the products did the trick. Depending on how much you sweat, you may want to opt for a higher electrolyte-count product, like Gatorade Endurance Formula or G Series Pro Gatorlytes, both of which have more electrolytes than the regular products. All the products quenched my thirst and gave me substantial fuel throughout training.
Post-Activity: I finished refueling my body with the G Series Pro Protein Shake. It's ideal to consume within an hour after a workout. The shake has enough calories and vitamins to replenish the body and help prevent muscle cramping and soreness.
STACK's Take: This isn't a thick, bulky shake that sits in your gut and makes you feel bloated. I definitely needed some fuel after each workout, and this shake hit the spot. It was easy to drink and renewed my energy for the rest of the day. Also, I didn't cramp up after the workout, which is a personal problem that had often occurred in the past.
The Result: For two days, I had the opportunity to train like the pros. With the help of the G Series Pro, along with my already-in-shape stature, I survived training and recovered quickly. All the products tasted great and quenched my thirst.
As for the training itself, I definitely appreciate why AP athletes routinely outperform their competition. Now I understand why the best athletes in the world travel from everywhere to train at AP's facilities.
The Gatorade G Series Pro will be available May 1 in all GNC locations. Consumers will be invited to sign a contract to "Go Pro," thereby gaining exclusive access to Gatorade's new online training system, Pro Training System (PTS), and entering the "Train Like a Pro" sweepstakes—with a grand prize of training with the pros at Athletes' Performance.
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