When you train almost every day, the art of dosing and optimizing workouts and recovery becomes even more important in ensuring a pain-free tomorrow! Too many athletes underestimate the importance of post-training or competition nutrition. However, it is a crucial step in rehydrating yourself, replenishing your energy reserves, repairing your muscle tissue and avoiding cravings for hours after activity!
How to have an adequate recovery?
While many factors determine one’s recovery level, such as type of training, time to next effort, and upcoming competitions, here are some basic principles for optimizing recovery:
1) The delay after the effort:
Eating a snack or a meal soon after exercise promotes recovery because increased heart rate and blood pressure increase nutrient delivery to the muscles. Eating after exercise helps replenish glycogen more quickly and initiates tissue repair.
You should also replace the fluids lost through sweat, by drinking until your urine is clear! You have to compensate for the loss of sodium by drinking or eating salty foods, especially during heavy sweating. For example: vegetable or tomato juice, cheese and crackers, pickles, rice cakes, chicken rice with soy sauce, etc. Foods rich in water can also rehydrate you, such as melons, cherries, peaches, citrus fruits, pineapples, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, etc.
Remember that athletes generally lose between 0.5 and 1.2 liters of sweat per hour in cool conditions and 1 to 2 liters per hour in warmer conditions.
3) Replenish your energy reserves: carbohydrates
The amount of carbohydrate needed for recovery depends on the intensity and duration of the effort, but also on your body weight and your consumption of foods or liquids rich in protein with these carbohydrates. Following an intense and sustained effort, we recommend that you consume 1 to 1.2 g of carbohydrates / kg of your body weight, to restore your glycogen reserves in the muscles and the liver.
4) Tissue repair: Proteins and amino acids
The recommended dose of protein is around 15 to 25 g after exercise, then we recommend consuming a normal meal within 2 hours of a snack, to repair muscle tissue and promote synthesis.
The type of protein is also important, because high quality protein promotes recovery and facilitates adaptation (greater increase in muscle mass or improvement in the oxidative capacity of the muscle). Whey has been shown to confer an additional advantage in muscle anabolism over other high quality proteins, but the important thing is to eat a varied diet with different sources of protein!
Some examples of recovery snacks:
- 1 cup of milk or soy beverage + 1 peanut butter toast
- ¾ cup of Greek yogurt + berries + granola
- 1 large apple or banana + 60g cheese
- Chia pudding with soy and fruit drink + pumpkin seeds
- Why not hydrate yourself at the same time with a recovery drink, like this one and consume the 2 servings!
Consuming foods rich in antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins (cherries, blueberries, blackberries, blue potatoes, eggplants) also seems to be a good ally for good recovery, but these foods must be eaten regularly to get the most benefits.
A varied and colorful diet remains the best way to provide your body with everything it needs to develop its full potential.