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
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