Most of us understand the importance of eating nutritious, healthy meals in order to get the most from our exercise regime. However, what many people fail to recognise is how crucial it is to eat the right food at the right time after you finish your training. Recovery nutrition isn’t as complex as it sounds, but it’s necessary for any athlete to understand how to fuel their body after a workout in order to get the best results. Keep reading to learn the basics…
Why is it important?
Your body doesn’t stop working once you finish training for the day. After your workout, your muscles will begin to repair themselves, your energy stores are depleted and your hydration levels are much lower than usual. This is why what you do and eat after training is crucial to anyone looking to gain optimal results. Your choices will either help or hinder your body in its quest to repair and replenish itself.
With the right approach to recovery nutrition, you can help your body refuel and rehydrate, encourage muscle growth and repair and even boost your immune function. So, the next question is obvious…
What Should I Eat to Recover from Training?
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to recovery nutrition. Different people require different vitamins, minerals and nutrients to thrive, not to mention the fact that we all have differing taste-buds! With this being said, there are a few common denominators that help to replenish the body after a training session.
- Foods that are rich in carbohydrates both refined and unrefined will be necessary for recovery. Refined options such as white rice, smoothies and crackers are great for the immediate recovery and then unrefined carbs, such as those found in potatoes, steel-cut oats, black rice and fruit will help your muscles be ready for the next training session
- Lean protein such as low fat milk and yogurt, fish, chicken, lentils, tofu or eggs will give you the building blocks to help repair your muscles efficiently.
- Water and electrolytes! It’s important to stay hydrated before, during and after a workout, so a combination of good old H20 and specifically formulated electrolyte drinks are a great way to keep your body hydrated.
How Soon After Working Out Should I Eat and Drink?
As we said, you should keep hydrated at all times when working out. Dehydration can seriously impact your body’s ability to perform at its optimal level, not to mention the fact that it slows down our digestive system and makes us feel awful!
As for food, how soon you should eat really depends on the type of training you’re doing, your next session and your fitness goals. It is recommended that in order to optimise training you should have an appropriate meal or snack within 60-90 minutes after your workout.
How Do I Know What Will Work Best for Me?
Because everyone is different – with individual workout routines, goals, body compositions and dietary needs – recovery nutrition can vary greatly from person to person. If you’re a professional athlete or train multiple times a day, it’s a great idea to enlist the help of an experience sports nutritionist or dietitian, so they can help you determine what is best for you.
Here at Sunshine Coast Dietetics, our team of highly trained and passionate dietitians can help you get the most from your recovery nutrition. Simply get in touch with our clinic today to learn more about our sports nutrition services!