This guest blog by Zoe Wilson (Accredited Practising Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist and friend of SSOP) outlines some of the quick and easy ways to stay on top of your post-exercise nutrition. To read more from Zoe, check www.zoewilsonnutrition.com
Recovering quickly after a session allows you to train harder and more often, ultimately achieving your goals faster. What you eat after a session can greatly affect how well you recover so it’s important to get it right. Give your body the wrong types of foods and it’s like putting the wrong fuel in a sports car and expecting it to drive well.
The good news is eating to maximise recovery doesn’t have to be as complicated (or expensive) as protein powders, magnesium supplements or other “recovery potions”. It’s surprisingly easy to give your body what it needs to recover quickly by eating real food.
Contrary to the currently popular school of thought promoting evil carbohydrates and angelic protein – your body actually needs a combination of both after exercise. Carbohydrates help to refuel muscles and protein to mend and repair any damage from your session so you can make the most of tomorrows’ training.
Research says the golden window for refueling is within half an hour of a session. This may mean you just eat your next meal (if training before breakfast for example), but you may need to add in a post-training snack to get the recovery process started if your next meal is a while away. It’s also important to remember to rehydrate, so a drink should be an essential part of your post-exercise plan, too.
To give you some ideas to get you started, here’s five quick, easy and affordable foods you probably already have at home that make perfect recovery foods. These foods will give you a mix of both carbs and protein plus extra nutrients such as electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and fluids. Eat one after your session and you’ll be able to back up your training and push yourself harder than ever before.
- A glass of milk, Milo or a fruit smoothie
- Cereal, muesli or porridge with milk and fruit
- A sandwich or wrap with meat, cheese, chicken or tuna and salad
- Dried fruit and nut mix
- Peanut butter and honey on toast
The amount of food and fluid you need varies depending on your training and goals so it’s best to speak to an expert to make sure you are getting it right. Visit www.sportsdietitians.com.au to find a Sports Dietitian or read their fact sheet on what to eat before, during and after sport http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/factsheets/competition_and_training/recovery_nutrition.