All the current science agrees, if you don't replace some of the glycogen, fluids and electrolytes from a hard or long training session, you will be at risk for all three.
So, if you have done strong intervals, or trained long and you really feel like you "worked," gulp down some recovery nutrition within 15 minutes of your workout.
A recovery drink/snack will include the following:
- 50-100g of carbohydrates - the simpler the carbs the better
- 10-20 g of protein
- Enough fluids to replace what you lost during the training session
- Sodium (don't forget Choride, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium)
- Commercially prepared Recovery powders work very well. I like First Endurance Ultragen - right now that is my favorite. But they are all good. I put a serving in a ziplock and mix it into my water bottle right after the workout. (Mix it too early and it can ferment in a warm car.)
- Chocolate milk or Hot Cocoa made with milk.
- Orange/fruit juice with whey powder works well too.
- Smoothie made with a frozen banana, other fruit and some whey powder
It is important. I make recovery drinks mandatory for my athletes who are in the hardest weeks of training.