There's a lot of information available on what foods to consume both before and during exercise, but what should you do after? Does it really matter.....? Yes, it absolutely does! By prioritising recovery nutrition you will be stronger, faster and won’t hit that post training slump.
So what are the basics of recovery nutrition?
We summarise recovery nutrition by the 3 Rs: repair, refuel, rehydrate.
REPAIR: muscles get damaged during exercise, that’s how they get stronger. Protein is an important nutrient to assist the repair process. Examples of protein rich foods include meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils), tofu and tempeh. Protein is also found in dairy foods such as milk and yoghurt. You want to have a good quality protein meal within 1 hour after completion of training, grabbing a high protein yoghurt or 2 eggs or a glass of milk can get the repair started.
REFUEL: during exercise you expend energy, post training you now need to replenish energy so the protein can go to the muscles. Carbohydrates are what you need for this job. Carbohydrate rich foods include breads and cereals, fruit, and starchy vegetables. So, adding a banana to your yoghurt, toast to the eggs or Milo to the milk will provide carbohydrates after training.
REHYDRATE: excerise and high intensity training induces sweating, therefore it's extremely important to keep hydrated during and after training. Dehydration impacts your concentration, speed, and ability to perform well. Dehyration can also impact how quickly you recover post exercise. It is vital to drink plenty of fluids post training, carry a bottle with you and keep sipping. Sports drinks are not needed post exercise, plain water is a great rehydration solution.
Finally, we could add a 4th R, that is for rest. Make sure you are giving your body sufficient rest, both by getting good quality sleep at night (8-10 hours) and by having 1-2 days rest per week (1-2 exercise free days per week). Muscles rebuild and recover at rest, so by resting, you are actually allowing your body to get stronger, faster and more powerful, ready for the next game.
By covering all 4Rs, you’ll be able to get the most out of your trainings. How much of each is dependant on your body, your training load (all sporting activities need to be considered) and other factors in your life. So, if you're hitting the 4Rs and still struggling, I recommend you see a Sports Dietitian like myself, to refine your nutrition and help identify other strategies to assist your performance.
Accredited Practicing Dietitian
Accredited Practicing Sports Dietitian
Life and Performance Nutrition
1/32 Gladstone Road
Highgate Hill QLD
0411 336 039