During the 30 to 60 minutes after exercise, an athlete’s body is extra primed to restock and repair muscles and other tissues. If an athlete waits much longer to refuel, the body doesn’t absorb key nutrients nearly as easily. This problem can lead to longer recovery times, more training time lost to nagging injuries and illnesses and a lack of motivation.
Athletes should aim to consume at least a half gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, preferably within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If possible, consuming some protein at the same time makes good sense.
The key is to consume roughly three to four grams of carbohydrates for every one gram of protein. It’s not necessary to heavily focus on a specific recovery ratio or formula. Instead, a simple and effective solution is to eat a balanced meal that includes lean quality protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, cooked beans or soy foods like tofu.
If your workout leaves you feeling queasy or without an appetite – refueling with an appropriate sports drink or energy bar is a smart alternative.
Another excellent option is chocolate milk – a “liquid food” that naturally supplies the desired recovery ratio of 4 grams of carbs to 1 gram of protein.
Rehydrating is a key component of the recovery process. When dehydrated, the body has to work much harder to perform critical functions such as bringing nutrients and oxygen to cells and flushing waste products out of muscles. When adequately hydrated, urine will be pale yellow, like the color of lemonade. Darker-colored urine, or if the athlete hasn’t gone for a few hours after exercising, is an indication of the need to drink more. Frequent bathroom breaks and urine that appears clear like water indicate that an athlete is over-hydrated.
Recovery nutrition involves adequately replacing what the body has lost or used up during exercise. Following these simple guidelines can help improve your performance and keep your body fueled to take on the rest of your day!
This information has been brought to you by Sportsology. Sportsology is the collaboration between certified athletic trainers from Southern Illinois Healthcare’s Rehab Unlimited and Sports Medicine physicians and fellows from SIU School of Medicine.
Questions? Call Sportsology at 877.656.4999 or get more information at http://www.sih.net/sportsology/