Sports Nutrition – how to maximize recovery

So, we’ve done the hard work.  Fuelled up, hydrated well beforehand, maintained the body and equipment, worked until the lungs burst and lay in the car park, totally spent.  Nutrition following exercise can be one of the most important elements in recovery.

WINDOW OF RECOVERY

Within the first 20 minutes following exercise, the body is very susceptible to good nutrition.   An important point here however, is the intensity and duration of the exercise dictates the importance.  The harder and more often the training, the more weight this carries.  At the other end, a 20 minute dog walk up the park does not justify any extra thought at all!

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THE MAIN GOALS

There are a number of things we are trying to achieve following a training.

Rehydrate.

The body will definitely be dehydrated after exercise, no matter how much water has been consumed.  The best option keep sipping the clear stuff for the remainder of the day.

Restock glycogen stores

Glycogen stores are essentially our energy stores in the muscles and liver.  We have roughly an hour’s worth of glycogen which will be depleted after exercise and needs boosting quickly.  Getting some fast release sugars into the body within 20 minutes will be absorbed much quicker than other times.

Help rebuild the tired muscles

Protein is the nutrient required for growth and repair.  Consuming some protein following training helps the muscles get back on track.

Replace any electrolytes

We lose electrolytes through a sweaty session and these also need replacing.

 

Eseentially a fluid based recovery drink is ideal. Manufactured recovery drinks are available containing pure carbs with a ration of protein satisfy most of the needs here.  Another personal favourite is flavoured milkshake (mmm frijj chocolate!), the perfect blend of carbs and protein.  For some fruit juice with a pinch of salt is a favourite as it contains electrolytes and sugar.

Whether it’s drink based or even as simple as a ham sandwich, remember, the first 20 minutes are the best! Enjoy