We are constantly looking to improve our sporting performance, mostly through our training. However it is actually during the recovery process that performance gains are made. Consuming the right nutrition during this period can help to speed up recovery and will supply your body with the correct resources to develop these training adaptions.
When thinking about your recovery nutrition after a training session there are 3 key components you need to consider:
1. Protein to Repair
Protein is important to repair muscle damage and to help build muscle post training. It is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks that make up our muscles. The optimal amount of protein you should aim to consume post exercise is 20-25g. Any more than this is actually not necessary as our bodies just can’t process it in one sitting.
Examples of foods containing 20g protein are 2 large eggs, a tin of tuna, a chicken breast, 2 sausages, a pint of milk or a OTE Protein Drink. (Check out more examples in our Protein System)
2. Carbohydrate to Refuel
Carbohydrates are needed to replenish muscle glycogen that is used during exercise. Our bodies can only store a certain amount of carbohydrates at one time in our muscles and liver. However these stores are usually fully depleted at the end of a training session and so it is important to top them back up ready for your next session. Aim to consume around 1.2g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight post exercise to optimise recovery.
For a 70kg person this would be 84g of carbohydrates, which could be a bagel (50g of Carbs) with half a large tin of baked beans (30g of Carbs). Check out some more ideas below:
3. Fluid to Rehydrate
Fluid loss during training can vary drastically between individuals depending on sweat rates, but whatever is lost needs to be replaced. Next time you are out training try weighing yourself before and after, making sure you add on the amount you drank during training. Likelihood is you will have lost some weight but sadly this isn’t miracle weight loss but just water loss. Try to then consume 150% of these losses within the first hour of recover; remember 1 kg lost is equivalent to 1 litre. Using OTE Hydro Tabs in this situation is actually better than just drinking water as they help the body retain the fluid.
A lot of emphasis is often placed on protein for recovery but research has shown it is actually the combined intake of protein and carbohydrates that is most beneficial. Carbohydrate intake stimulates an increase in the hormone insulin, which in turn stimulates the muscle to take up amino acids. You can opt for a meal, light snack or a recovery shake, as long as they contain the 3 key components it really is up to you. Many people are often faced with supressed appetite after training and so a convenient recovery shake, like an OTE protein drink, is an easy way to get all your recovery needs rolled in to one.
But it doesn’t stop there in the quest for optimal recovery, it is important to consider timing as well. Try to consume your recovery food or drink as close to the end of training as possible. The 30 minutes straight after exercise is called the ‘Window of Opportunity’ as it is during this period that there is enhanced muscle uptake and retention of amino acids.
Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of optimal recovery, the kick start to the process. From here after it is important to consume another meal or snack every 2-3 hours containing 20-25g of protein to continue the recovery process. For most people this will just be a case of re-joining their usual meal pattern. We will leave you with one final tip to top off the perfect recovery. Try having a protein rich snack before bed as this has been found to help you recover as you sleep. You will wake up ready to hit your training hard again the next day.
Posted in: General, Nutrition Advice