Author’s Aspen presentation will separate fact from fiction in athletic recovery
IF YOU GO
What: Presentation by Christie Aschwanden, author of “Good To Go”
When: Thursday at 6 p.m., doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Limelight Hotel
Why: Presentation as part of Aspen U series
Cost: Free and open to the public
Anyone who dabbles in exercise and outdoor pursuits knows there is a ton of claims that taking product X will enhance performance and using supplement Y will speed recovery.
Reporter and author Christie Aschwanden employed her expertise in science journalism to dispel myths and get to the heart of the matter of what really benefits anyone from weekend warriors to elite athletes.
She shared her conclusions in a recently published book, “Good To Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery” and will make a presentation in Aspen Thursday night. She is speaking at 6 p.m. at the Limelight Hotel as part of Aspen Skiing Co.’s Aspen U series. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
In a recent telephone interview from her home near Cedaredge, Colorado, Aschwanden promised she will address an issue on nearly everyone’s mind.
“I will be discussing the scientific answer to that perpetual question, is beer the perfect recovery drink?” she said with a laugh. It’s no joking matter. The first chapter of “Good To Go” covers an experiment she conducted on running and recovering with beer.
Aschwanden has embarked on an interesting career in journalism — formerly working as a health columnist for The Washington Post, frequently contributing to The New Times and currently serving as the lead science writer at the website FiveThirtyEight.
“Science is kind of a common thread,” she said of her work.
She was also a runner at the University of Colorado, switched to cycling after an injury and then expanded into pro cross-country ski racing. Her experiences in athletics combined with her professional interest in science spurred her pursuit to learn about sports recovery.
“I got interested in looking at recovery because it’s kind of the thing I was never managed to master when I was an elite athlete,” she said. “It was something that, looking back on my athletic career, was probably the limiting factor in my success. Researching this book was an opportunity to learn all I could about recovery and figure out the way to truly master it.”
The book and her presentation look at myths, perceived wisdoms and folklore when it comes to recovery.
“It turns out that many of the things that I had been taught were beneficial actually weren’t,” Aschwanden said.
One of the most drastically misunderstood areas is hydration. She said relied on published, science-based reports and interviews with experts in the field for her conclusions.
“A lot of the marketing messages that we’ve heard are based on what sells product rather than what might be best for the athlete,” she said. “The marketing is all about convincing people it’s too complicated for them to figure out on their own and that’s why you need the experts and these scientifically formulated products to swoop in save you.”
In addition to hydration, her presentation will cover peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ice baths and Tom Brady’s infrared pajamas, among other topics.
She believes her presentation will appeal to anyone who exercises.
“There’s so much anxiety out there that people are feeling like they’re not doing things right or there might be some way they can be doing things better,” Aschwanden said.
She will help them focus on what’s important in recovery and performance.
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Vaccinations for the first group of Aspen-area kids to include 12-to-15-year-olds will take place Thursday at Aspen High School.