By Megan Flemmit, photography by Pixabay
When it comes to exercise, what you eat after a workout is just as important as the hours you spend working out.
Training sessions can leave you physically depleted and dehydrated. By getting the right nutrition 30-60 minutes after a workout, you can speed up your recovery and improve your ability to utilise body fat.
So, with the help of Paarl Dietitians, we’ve compiled this list to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need:
1. Eat Protein
After endurance training, muscle protein production drops and protein breakdown increases. Eat 20-30g of high quality protein (such as whey protein) to rebuild muscle and increase muscle protein production.
2. Refuel Glycogen Stores
Stored carbs deplete very quickly during high intensity workouts. Consuming carbs after exercising helps replenish glycogen stores and will help with performance in your next workout. Eat at least 0.5 –1g of high glycaemic carbs per 1 kg of body weight. For example, if you weigh 75kgs you should consume 37-75g of carbs (sports drinks, jelly babies combined with biltong).
Replenishing all those fluids lost during your session is essential. This will replace sodium lost through sweating and help you retain water, leaving you feeling hydrated. Combine electrolytes, like rehydrate, with 300-500ml of water for optimal results. Alternatively opt for a sports recovery drink or eat foods rich in sodium and potassium (bananas, citrus fruits).
READ MORE: What You Should Eat And Drink During A Race
4. Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Tough workouts can leave microscopic tears in your muscles, which, when healed, will make you stronger and faster. To speed up this recovery add Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Aim for 1-3g per day by eating fatty fish (trout, sardines, salmon) or taking a high quality supplement.
5. Optimize Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps with performance, muscle repair and recovery. Make sure you have good levels of vitamin D. If you have a deficiency correct this with a vitamin D supplement.
6. Support Your Immune System
Intense workouts can leave your immune system suppressed. This leaves you vulnerable to picking up an infection. Probiotics, vitamins C and E, zinc and glutamine are said to protect the immune system. Research also suggests that if you have enough glycogen stored it prevents the immune system from being compromised. So make sure to eat high-antioxidant foods such as fruits and vegetables or use multi-vitamin supplements.