Thursday, August 4, 2011

Recovery Nutrition for Athletes after Medium to Heavy Workout

If you are an athlete that do frequent medium to heavy workouts, it is very important that you replenish the lost energy after the workout. The purpose is faster recovery so that you can perform another workout in the coming days much easily. These tips will be applicable to either a runner, cylist, duathlete or triathlete.

recovery foods for athletes

There are different foods that you can eat but take note that you need to follow some guidelines to optimize your recovery nutrition. Before you will know what are these foods to eat, let's list down all the stresses that are applied to your body when you are doing the work out:

1.) An exercise of more than one hour or more consumes a lot of water in your body. Your body is dehydrated after long hours of exercise typically if these exercises will last an hour or more.

2.) In long exercise such as an hour or more, you sweat a lot that includes some precious minerals in your body to operate properly, these are called the electrolytes. The most important electrolyte minerals are sodium and potassium. These are secreted outside your body during intense workout via sweating.

It is reason why hours after any heavy exercises you will start to feel light-headed, dizzy and cramping in your muscles. The primary reason are the lack of these vital electrolytes which are sodium and potassium.

3.) In aerobic exercise (those exercising with heart rates at 60% to 80% maximum heart rate), you will burn around 40% carbohydrates and 60% fats. Fats are stored in your body naturally from the excess food storage. And it is also why aerobic exercise is the best way of removing excess fat in your body.

Meanwhile fat is undesirable, carbohydrates are not. These are precious fuel in your body that should be reserved for very intense activity (for example sprinting at the final stage in running or cycling event). If you are depleted with carbohydrates, your muscles can hardly move and if you are running you will start walking. And if you are pedaling very fast in your bike, you will start to pedal very slow. Your athletic performance will suffer.

4.) In anaerobic exercise (those exercising more than 80% of the maximum heart rate). Only a few percentage of fats are burned and your muscles will depend entirely on the carbohydrate as fuel.

5.) In some instances, your body will start to consume protein which are very important body building blocks.

6.) There will be a lot of stresses in the muscles during the workout. This stress damage your muscle fibers. Particularly in running activity, your leg and your feet will suffer a lot due to heavy exercise.

In summary, your body lacks the following components after any medium to heavy workout:

1.) Water
2.) Sodium and Potassium (electrolytes)
3.) Protein
4.) Carbohydrates

Therefore below are the recommended foods to speed up the recovery:

1.) Immediately 10 minutes to 30 minutes after any workout:

a.) Drink 500 ml of energy drink consisting of sodium, potassium and water.
b.) If you cannot find energy drink, you can eat salty foods with fruits. Below is the optimal combination:
b.1) Chippy snack or Piattos, Nova, Pretzels (rich in Sodium)
b.2) Banana. (rich in Potassium)
b.3) Cold water

2.) Around 1 hour after any workout

a.) Drink one to two glasses of chocolate milk. This is rich in protein and other minerals. If you cannot find some chocolate drink, simply drink one full glass of milk.
b.) Eat some bread as it is rich in carbohydrates.

3.) If you plan to lose weight and will not eat before to any workout. You should eat a full meal (with rice) within 2 to 3 hours after your workout.


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