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Recovery Nutrition

Information

One of the most important times for elite athletes to eat is immediately after a training session because the body is depleted of key nutrients, specifically carbohydrates. Goals of your post-workout nutrition plan should include:

  • Replenishing glycogen
  • Decreasing muscle breakdown
  • Promoting muscle protein synthesis
  • Boosting immune system
  • Re-hydrating

Application

Follow these nutrition guidelines to maximize recovery within 30-60 minutes after finishing a training session:

  • Focus on carbohydrate. Eat 50-100 grams (200-400 calories) of carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, tortillas, juice and fruit.
  • Add protein. Eat 10-20 grams of protein from sources such as low-fat milk, hardboiled egg whites, plain tuna fish and low-fat yogurt.
  • Drink up. Drinking 20-24 ounces of water or sports drink for every pound that you lose during training will help your body get re-hydrated.
  • Don't forget sodium. Sodium helps the body absorb more fluid after training and can be found in most foods such as bread, yogurt, cheese and pasta to name a few. However, for weight-class sports, limit sodium intake in the week prior to weigh-in.

Of course, your daily eating program will also have a significant influence on how fast you recover from training. Be sure to include good amounts of the following:

  • Antioxidant rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Essential fats such as ground flax, walnuts, salmon, tofu, halibut and soybeans.
  • Beneficial carbohydrates such as whole grain pasta, quinoa, couscous, cereal, rice and bread.
  • Water which can be found in fruits, vegetables and non-caffeinated beverages other than water.                     

Courtesy of the United States Olympic Committee