Post Exercise Recovery – Ensuring Proper Nutrition After Intense Workouts to Refuel, Rehydrate, and Rebuild
Recovery nutrition has three goals: refuel, rehydrate, and repair/build. To achieve these goals, we must replenish vital nutrients, rehydrate and restore electrolytes, repair damaged muscle tissue, and lower inflammation.
Muscle is best replenished in the first half hour following a workout, so take advantage of this window to give your body the nutrients it needs. Glycogen, which is found in muscles, must be restored following a strenuous workout. Aerobic performance is correlated to initial glycogen stores. High glycemic carbohydrates will restore glycogen. Consume 1.5 grams of high-glycemic carbohydrate per 1 kg of body weight immediately after exercise.
Rehydration and electrolyte repletion
It is important to assess the color of urine to determine hydration status. Urine should be clear and in a large amount. You should weigh yourself before and after a workout and consume 25 oz of fluid for each pound of fluid lost. To make sure electrolytes like sodium and potassium are provided, choose a sports drink that contains electrolytes or water, along with a meal that contains sodium.
Repair and Build
Training increases catabolic hormones that breakdown glycogen and fat for fuel, post workout these hormones remain high and breakdown muscle. Therefore, athletes must ingest high protein foods post exercise, especially resistance training, to counter this effect. It is recommended to consume 20-40 grams of protein, which includes 3-4 grams of leucine per serving to increase muscle protein synthesis. Whey is the best protein due to its amino acid composition and rapid release into bloodstream. A complete shake can rehydrate, which provides both the protein and carbohydrates needed.
Both tart cherry juice and ginger have been shown to decrease exercise induced inflammation and delay muscle soreness.
Danielle Hamo, RD LD/N
Source: Todaysdietitan magazine