Recovery Nutrition is almost as important as pre-workout nutrition. What is eaten after a workout or a game has a large effect on how energy storage is replenished as well as how your muscles recover. This will in turn effect how you perform the next day. There’s about a 30 minute window after activity that you want to get something into your system. At this point your body is ready to absorb nutrients. That being said, you want to eat the right things, not just anything. Often when someone puts in a good workout their thought afterwards is “Awesome I worked really hard now I can eat whatever I want! Maybe I’ll order a pizza and follow it with some Ben and Jerry’s, Cherry Garcia”. No! You worked hard and burned a lot of calories but that doesn’t mean you should follow it up with a ton of calories, and empty ones at that.
To simplify things let’s look at 3 main areas to focus on in recovery nutrition.
1. Rehydration-It is so important to rehydrate after activity. Especially when you have worked hard enough to get a sweat going. So before you leave the gym fill up that water bottle!
2. Carbohydrates-Carbs are a must for replenishing glycogen stores and to help rebuild muscle tissues. It has also been shown that carbohydrates help to keep your immune system strong. Nothing hurts performance like being sick. Shoot for complex carbohydrates. Some examples are, green vegetables, whole grains (oatmeal, pasta, whole-grain bread), starchy vegetable
3. Protein-Post workout protein shakes are not a thing just because they taste good! Protein is crucial to the recovery process. It has been shown that protein intake following activity helps increase protein rebuilding to combat muscle protein breakdown caused during the workout.
It doesn’t have to be a complicated meal…just some carbs, some protein, and a big ol’ glass of water!