Ready Protein Water: The Perfect Workout Partner

– From the Desk of Ready’s Chief Science Officer, Kim Beals –

There is no shortage of Ready to Drink (RTD) beverages out there for athletes to choose from when it comes to things like hydration, energy, replenishment and recovery –  so it can get pretty confusing for people. Protein Waters as a category are promoted for use before, during and after exercise or even all day long to promote recovery, build stronger muscles, increase energy, suppress appetite, trim off excess fat and provide hydration. Lets take a closer look at our Ready Protein Water (Ready Water) and see what the science says about the why, when and how of using Ready Water to optimize performance and recovery from sport training and competition.

WHAT is Ready Water? 

It’s our unique formula that delivers 15 grams of high-quality protein, 5 essential electrolytes, 0 grams sugar and only 70 calories. We use whey protein isolate as our protein source due to its high nutritional value, neutral taste and easy and quick digestibility. Our pure filtered protein water has a complete mix of electrolytes that includes sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium – with a truly light & refreshing taste. In addition, Ready Water does not contain any artificial ingredients – no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no sugar alcohols and no added sugar.

WHY should I drink Ready Protein Water?

Whey protein, the protein source in Ready Protein Water, is one of the most studied ingredients in the world. Science has revealed many promising findings related to health and performance benefits of consuming protein, particularly whey protein.

Below are some of the ways incorporating Ready Water into your training nutrition strategy helps you train harder, recover quicker and achieve your body composition goals.

Recovery from Exercise

  • Muscle recovery is the primary driver behind the fascination athletes have with protein and with good reason. There is ample science to support the link between protein intake post-exercise and building stronger leaner muscles. Recovery is an essential part of the training process and paramount in maximizing training adaptations and improving performance. The American College of Exercise uses the 3 R’s (refuel, rehydrate and rebuild) to describe the fundamentals of a complete recovery nutrition plan.
    • Refuel:  Replace used energy stores (glycogen) during the training session by consuming 0.5 g carbohydrate per pound of body weight.
    • Rehydration:  Replace sweat losses by drinking 0.5 L per pound lost during exercise training or competition. Beverages with electrolytes and carbohydrates improve absorption and retention of fluids, improving post-exercise hydration.
    • Rebuild: Provide amino acids (protein building blocks) to stimulate muscle growth and repair following training sessions. Consume 20-40 grams of high-quality easily digested protein, such as whey protein.

Optimize Body Composition & Weight

  • There are several ways that consuming more protein can aid athletes in achieving their body composition goals.  Dietary protein uses more energy (calories) for digestion, absorption, and elimination compared to carbohydrates and fat, thereby increasing the body’s metabolism.
  • Since protein takes longer to digest and leave the stomach, it increases feelings of fullness (satiety).  Studies have shown that whey protein is more satiating than other types of protein including casein and soy.
  • When combined with resistance training, higher protein diets (0.7-0.9 g per pound of body weight) have been shown to promote gains in lean body mass and reduction in fat mass, as well as spare muscle mass during periods of reduced calorie intake.

Facilitate Endurance Training

  • Athletes quickly associate the importance of consuming dietary protein and muscle protein building post resistance training.  Not until fairly recently though, we are beginning to recognize the role protein plays in endurance training adaptations and recovery.
  • Endurance athletes may benefit from higher protein diets (0.7-0.9 g per pound of body weight) than previously thought for several reasons. Protein helps to repair muscle cells that have been damaged during endurance training sessions and stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
  • During longer endurance training sessions muscle proteins may be broken down to provide a source of energy to sustain muscle contraction.  Depending on the intensity and duration of training and how much carbohydrate fuel is left in the muscle “tank”, up to 10% of the energy required to power the training session may be provided from protein. Breaking down and using muscle proteins for energy is not necessarily desirable and thus it is important to consume adequate carbohydrates daily and during long duration exercise to reduce the amount of muscle proteins that are broke down for energy production.  Also, to offset and replace this loss of muscle protein or amino acids, it is recommended to consume high quality protein such as whey protein, after exercise training.

Slow Down Muscle Loss

  • Muscle mass begins to decrease after the age of 30 years by approximately 3-5% every 10 years and after 60 years the rate of decline greatly accelerates.
  • Research on aging has dramatically increased over the last decade, looking for novel and practical ways to slow down the effects of aging on physical performance in older adults.
  • Studies have shown that eating a higher protein diet and in combination with resistance training, improves muscle protein synthesis leading to preservation of muscle mass and improved muscular strength in older adults.

Stay Hydrated

  • Losing >2% body weight due to exercise-related sweat loss decreases performance by causing early onset fatigue, decreased power output, poor decision making, reduced endurance capacity, muscle cramps and more.
  • Given the impact of dehydration on performance, it is surprising then that the majority of athletes are training and competing in a hypohydrated state.
  • Ready Water contains filtered water and sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium.  Drinking Ready Water before, during and after exercise will help keep you hydrated and replace lost electrolytes without adding excess calories and sugars.

Replaces Sugar Sweetened Sports Drinks

  • Sugar sweetened beverages account for 39% of the added sugars consumed by Americans and are the largest source of added sugars in the diet.
  • High intake of added sugars contributes to weight gain, body fat, whole body inflammation, heart disease, certain cancers and metabolic syndrome, to name a few.
  • There are times when athletes benefit from beverages with carbs (sugars) as they are the main source of energy for working muscles during intense and/or long duration training.
  • There are also times when cutting out extra calories and added sugar would be beneficial. Times when an athlete needs extra protein, fluid and electrolytes but not extra calories from added sugars.  This is the perfect time to grab Ready Water to help with hydration and muscle recovery.  Cutting out unwanted added sugars from beverages also allows athletes to save a calories to consume more nutrient dense carbs such as fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains as part of a sound sports nutrition plan.

WHEN should I drink Ready Protein Water?

  • In order to maximize the effect protein has on muscle growth and recovery, spread protein intake throughout the day by consuming 20-30 grams of protein in meals and snacks. It is important to include high quality protein food sources such as lean chicken, pork and beef, seafood, milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, beans and other legumes.  Ready Water can be used to complement or supplement the diet with high-quality milk proteins from the whey protein isolate.
  • Before exercise, combining protein and carbohydrate increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis.  Combine Ready Water with an easily digestible carbohydrate such as fruit, low fiber cereal, bread, or sports bar.
  • During intense longer duration strength and/or endurance training, carbohydrates + protein (particularly essential amino acids) create an environment more conducive to muscle growth and reduces muscle breakdown, minimizes muscle damage and delays muscle fatigue.  Ready Water can be added for hydration and provision of protein to complement a carbohydrate electrolyte sports drink or carbohydrate gels, blocks etc.
  • After training, consume 20-40 grams high-quality protein, such as whey protein, that has plenty of essential amino acids and is a great source of leucine, the most growth promoting amino acid. This will maximize the rate of muscle protein synthesis, minimize muscle damage and lead to gains in muscle size and strength.  Make sure you also replaced the stored muscle energy (glycogen) used during training.  Consuming 0.5 gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight along with 20 grams of protein will help the muscle recover more completely.
  • Drinking Ready Water throughout the day, before, during and after exercise also helps contribute to total fluid intake and replacing lost fluids due to training.

HOW does Ready Water fit into a sports nutrition plan?

  • It is important to recognize the benefit of eating whole foods and drinking fluids as the foundation of a good sports nutrition plan. However, day to day, athletes may have trouble consuming a well-balanced, nutrient rich diet. In times when consuming 20-30 grams of protein at meals and snacks is difficult, Ready Water offers a convenient way for athletes to help meet their daily protein requirements.
  • Ready Water provides a clean high-quality protein source (whey protein isolate) that contains all 9 essential amino acids that provides the ideal protein source for use before, during and after exercise to maximize muscle adaptations to training and expedite recovery.
  • Calcium is designated as a nutrient of public concern, as more than 40% of Americans do not meet the calcium requirement from their diet. Populations at higher risk include older children, adolescents, women and older adults.  This is concerning due to the importance of calcium on bone health. Drinking 1 bottle (16.9 oz) of Ready Water provides 124 mg calcium (10% Daily Value) and contributes to your daily calcium intake. Plus, the whey protein may help promote bone turnover and minimize bone loss.
  • Ready Water does not contain any artificial colors, flavors, sugar alcohols, and added sugars.