Monday, January 18, 2010

Recovery Nutrition

Did you know that the best way to prevent over-training, sickness and lackluster training is to use recovery nutrition?
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)
Examples? 
  • 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
If you replace your glycogen within 15 minutes of your workout, your energy system will still be in workout mode.  This means that you won't get  a strong insulin response.  It also means that you'll get this reviving energy before your cortisol hormones get so high.  Your immune system will not be as stressed by the training.  And you will be topping off your glycogen tank before you attempt more training later in the day or the next day and therefore will feel much stronger.

It is important.  I make recovery drinks mandatory for my athletes who are in the hardest weeks of training.

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