Recovery gets your body ready for your next session, and helps reduce risk of and also recover from injuries. After training and competitions your body is left dehydrated, depleted of fuel, and your muscle fibres are left broken-down. The body is in a ‘stressed state’, but not to worry. The appropriate nutrition and hydration will help you to:
- Refuel the muscle and liver glycogen (carb) stores)
- Replace the fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
- Improve adaptation from your training session
- Support immune function
Functional fact: Long runs cause loss of fluid and electrolyte through sweat. The amount of fluid loss depends on the individual.
- Rehydrate with water during and at the end of your workout. Throughout the day aim to increase your water intake by about 50% of that on a rest day.
- If you have a lot of salt in your diet, suffer with dizziness or cramps, excessive soreness post workout or have trouble slowing, you may be deficient in some essential micronutrients. Talk to a qualified nutritionist about adding an electrolyte mix to your water to replenish the sodium and mineral loss.
- To monitor your dehydration, check the colour of your urine: it should be clear or a pale yellow.
A macronutrient is a type of food (eg. fat, protein, carb) required in large amounts in the diet.
A micronutrient is a chemical element or substance retired in trace amounts for the normal growth and development of living organisms (vitamins and minerals). It controls the balance of your carbohydrate, protein and fats amounts needed in your diet for you to reach your goals. This is extremely important for performance and body composition.
Post-workout nutrition should focus on replenishing glycogen stores and provide materials for muscle repair and protein synthesis: a meal higher in simple carbs and proteins is generally advised to speed up physiological processes. Fats slow down digestion, so they are best avoided straight after exercise, but fine for before or later in the day. (balance is key!)
When to refuel
Research shows that there is no ‘magic window’ and nutrition needs are highly dependant on individual’s activity, body composition and goals, but as a general rule the closer your workouts are together (morning to evening, or evening to morning) the sooner you want to refuel. Try to eat as soon as possible after your workout: this is where shakes, protein bars and sports drinks can help. (however, REAL food is always better!)
If you have 24 hours or more between training sessions, aim to have a meal within 60-90 minutes from training.
Micronutrients – The Missing Link
Most people are aware of their macronutrient needs after a workout, but what they fail to recognise is the importance of micronutrients: vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
Micronutrients help deliver oxygen to your muscles – crucial for recovering from the oxidative stress that occurs with exercise – allowing you to properly metabolise carbs, protein and fat, and keeping you healthy and ready for your next training session. The best way to boost your micronutrient intake is through a healthy, balanced diet, spread out throughout the day.
Micronutrient deficiencies are on the rise!
These can contribute to increase fatigue and muscle soreness, training dizziness, reduced performance/plateauing in your training and slowly injury recovery.
If you are experiencing any of the above, talk to a nutritionist who can help look into the possible deficiencies.
We have special offers with The Elixir Clinic & KIN nutrition in our ‘partners’ section – help yourself here!
If you need any guidance please do get in touch with our team, we are always here to help! Our next post will be on ‘The Cool Down’ for runners so please keep your eyes peeled 🙂