NUTRITION AFTER EXCERCISE

Nutrition after exercise

Recovery in between training sessions is the body time to adapt to the physiological stress. Through these adaptations, you become fitter, stronger and faster. Nutrition can enhance recovery in repairing tissue and replenishing fuel and fluid stores so that you can begin subsequent exercise sessions in the best shape possible.

The recovery processes include:

  • refueling the muscle and liver glycogen (carbohydrate) stores
  • replacing the fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
  • repairing and building new muscle protein, red blood cells other cellular components

Refueling

Muscle glycogen (stored in the muscle and liver) is the main fuel used by the body during moderate and high intensity exercise. The goal in recovery is to replace the glycogen that was used during the exercise session. This is necessary so that the next exercise session is not compromised. Glycogen is replenished by having carbohydrate during the recovery period and then continuing throughout the day. The amount of carbohydrate needed will depend on how long or intense the exercise session or what carbohydrates (if any) were consumed during the exercise session. A general guideline is to provide your body with approximately 1g carbohydrate per kg body weight within 30 to 60 minutes of prolonged exercise.

Muscle Repair and Building

Combining carbohydrate with a good quality protein food is important to promote muscle repair and growth. The carbohydrate reduces protein breakdown after exercise while the protein stimulates cell growth and repair. Research has shown that 15 to 25g of protein with carbohydrate within 30 to 60minutes of exercise maximizes recovery. It is important that carbohydrate is not compromised by taking in too much protein.
Rehydration
Many athletes are very concerned about refueling during the recovery but forget to rehydrate. Most exercise sessions are completed with a fluid deficit and it is important that this is corrected before the next exercise session and even mild dehydration can impair performance. Individual sweat losses vary so widely that it is impossible to give a set amount of fluid to consume during recovery. A good guideline is for athletes to measure your fluid losses by weighing yourself immediately before and after a cycle and take into account the fluids you have consumed during the ride. 1kg weight loss is the equivalent of 1L sweat losses.

Rehydration

Many athletes are very concerned about refueling during the recovery but forget to rehydrate. Most exercise sessions are completed with a fluid deficit and it is important that this is corrected before the next exercise session and even mild dehydration can impair performance. Individual sweat losses vary so widely that it is impossible to give a set amount of fluid to consume during recovery. A good guideline is for athletes to measure your fluid losses by weighing yourself immediately before and after a cycle and take into account the fluids you have consumed during the ride. 1kg weight loss is the equivalent of 1L sweat losses.

Fluid Losses = Weight before exercise – Weight after exercise + Volume of fluid consumed during exercise

Cyclists should aim to consume 125-150% of the estimated fluid losses in the 4-6 hours after exercise. The amount of fluid needed to rehydrate after exercise is greater than the fluid losses to account for obligatory urine losses. Electrolytes (e.g. sodium) in the fluid are necessary to retain more fluid as electrolytes are also lost in sweating. Sodium can be part of the drink or part of the recovery food (carbohydrate and protein). E.g. sports drinks/ flavoured milk as a recovery drink will provide a combination fluid and electrolytes or water can be consumed with a recovery snack such as toast/ oats etc.

Cyclists should aim to consume 125-150% of the estimated fluid losses in the 4-6 hours after exercise. The amount of fluid needed to rehydrate after exercise is greater than the fluid losses to account for obligatory urine losses. Electrolytes (e.g. sodium) in the fluid are necessary to retain more fluid as electrolytes are also lost in sweating. Sodium can be part of the drink or part of the recovery food (carbohydrate and protein). E.g. sports drinks/ flavoured milk as a recovery drink will provide a combination fluid and electrolytes or water can be consumed with a recovery snack such as toast/ oats etc.

What are some other the practical considerations for recovery eating?

Practical recovery options:

Male Cyclist (Target ± 70g carbohydrate + ± 15g protein)

·    500ml flavoured low fat/ fat free milk + 1 banana

·    330 ml fat free drinking yoghurt + honey & peanut butter sandwich

·    Fruit smoothie (1 cup (250 ml) fat free yoghurt + 2 fruit + 2 Tbs raw oats)

·    2 slices toast + 2 scrambled eggs + 250ml fruit juice

·    2 slices toast + 1 cup baked beans

·    1 cup cooked oats + 1 cup fat free milk + 2 Tbs raisins

 

 

 

 

 

Female Cyclist (Target ± 50g carbohydrate + ± 15g protein)

·     330 ml flavoured milk + banana

·     330 ml fat free drinking yoghurt + peanut butter sandwich

   ·    Fruit smoothie (1 cup (250 ml) fat free yoghurt + 2 fruit)

  ·      2 slices toast + 2 scrambled eggs + 1 fruit

  ·      2 slices toast + ½ cup fat free cottage cheese + 1 fruit

·     ½ cup cooked oats + 1 cup fat free milk + 1 Tbs raisins

 

 

 

 

 

Remember:

A recovery shakes and supplements are no more superior to food, drinks or home-made smoothies. They are based on the protein, carbohydrate, fluid and electrolyte requirements for recovery that normal food provides. They may be used for convenience or lack of availability (for the traveling athlete), although natural food and drinks are best advised.




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