THE 3 R’S – DISCOVER THE KEYS TO A PREMIUM POST-TRAINING RECOVERY
Sports Dietitian – Victorian Institute of Sport
The ability of the body to fully recover from one training session before commencing the next is important. Recovery strategies can include many things from eating and drinking to icing, stretching and massage. From a nutritional point of view, there are 3 factors to consider: refuel, repair and rehydrate.
During any training session you will have used some of your carbohydrate stores (glycogen in your muscles or petrol in your tank). This needs to be replaced before your next training session, so that you have energy to train again. Sports Dietitians talk about the window of opportunity within 30 minutes of finishing training, when you should start the recovery process by eating some carbohydrate. This is particularly important if you are doing back to back training sessions. For example a morning swim, followed by an afternoon cycle; or an evening gym session, followed by a morning run. This may be dinner after an evening training session (if it’s within 30 minutes of finishing training) or you may need to pack a snack specifically for recovery. Choose nutritious carbohydrate rich foods such as breads, breakfast cereals, fruit, rice, pasta, fruit & cereal bars etc. and eat them within half an hour. You should aim to eat 1 gram of carbohydrate per kilogram of your body weight. So if you weigh 70kg you need 70g of carbo’s.
Repairing muscle tissue is also an important part of recovery. The best way to do this is to include some protein at your post-training recovery snack. This is particularly important after weight training if you are trying to gain lean body weight and improve strength. The best type of protein is good quality protein from animal sources i.e. meats and dairy products. Milk protein is found to be one of the best recovery foods. You should aim to have 20g of protein within 30 minutes of finishing exercise – that’s 500ml of milk.
Replacing sweat losses is an important part of recovery, to ensure that you start your next training session fully hydrated. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluid between, within and after training sessions. If sweat losses have been great, then you may benefit from a sports drink containing electrolytes; plus you’ll get some carbs for glycogen replenishment too.
Make sure you are well prepared for your next training session, with a recovery meal or snack at the ready.
RECOMMENDED RECOVERY FOODS:
- Fruit salad and yoghurt
- Milk fruit smoothie
- Bowl of breakfast cereal with milk
- Sports drink and protein bar
- Flavoured milk and muesli bar
- Sandwich or roll with meat or chicken.
KYLIE’S RECOMMENDED EXTRA RESOURCES:
The following SDA (Sports Dietitians Australia) Fact Sheet offers a great two page summary on all things Recovery:
I love taste.com for recipes as it allows you to run really refined searches. For instance; creamed rice + low fat: