After a challenging training session or race, how you recover is key to overall performance. If we recover better, we train harder!
Providing your body with the correct nutrients at the correct time can affect the rate we recover. Dehydration, glycogen depletion (when our carb stores have been used) and muscle soreness can all be tackled by a consistent nutrition strategy.
If you follow the rule “3 R’s of recovery” after every hard session and race, you can be sure recovery will be training harder with more consistency.
Rehydrate – Refuel – Rebuild
Take in water or/and electrolyte drinks. At the end of a race or hard session drink 500ml fluid. Afterwards, drink little and often. Cramping and muscle fatigue can often be a barrier to stop someone from sticking to their workout plan. By rehydrating and replenishing sodium, you’ll be able to reduce post-workout symptoms.
Current data indicates that after a workout the muscle cells’ ability to begin rebuilding and replenishment peaks at about 15 minutes and declines by as much as 40% within 60 minutes. Carbohydrates provide our bodies and brains with fuel needed to recover and ultimately adapt to the training session. Refuel with carbohydrates but make sure it’s an amount that fits in with your level of activity. For example, if you have 24 hours between your sessions then follow your daily carb needs for your level of activity and aim for a well-balanced meal.
Rebuild with protein. Protein plays an important part in the long term recovery and adaptation of training. In general, getting around 20 grams of protein after a strenuous workout is ideal. Consuming a ratio of 3:1 carbs to protein post-workout is a good rule of thumb to increase recovery, repair muscles and refuel after an endurance or high intensity workout. As always, this can vary depending on your needs, goals, gender etc.
The British Nutrition Foundation recommends for the general population around 0.75g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day. If you’re consuming more than this it’s unlikely you’ll need extra protein if your activity is within the guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. If you train more regularly then your protein requirements may be slightly higher.
Some examples of what this could look like:
- Smashed avocado, one piece of whole-grain toast and an egg
- Greek yogurt with berries
- High protein smoothie
- Hummus with rice cakes
- Apple and almond butter
When planning your post-workout meal, it’s important to look at a 24 hour picture and decide the amount you need. Your needs will differ based on your body size, what you ate before and during your workout. Consider all the elements and listen to your body.
Need help in planning your nutrition strategy? drop me a note via the contact me page.
*British Nutrition Foundation