Go Triathlete

Four Tips For Proper Workout Recovery Nutrition

protein-shakes-and berries
After you finish up a training session, whether it’s running, cycling, swimming, or even strength training, making sure to fuel your body well immediately after is critical for your success. Practicing proper recovery nutrition will not only maximize your training, but also keep your body healthy and ready for the next workout.

Recovery nutrition is one area where many triathletes (and athletes in general) miss the mark entirely by forgoing food during this highly important time. And not just any type of food, there are certain foods that will help aid the recovery process.

The reason why it is so important to practice proper recovery fueling following your workout is due to the fact that your muscles are sensitive to absorbing glucose and amino acids during a recovery period - they’ve just been worked very hard and now are looking for nourishment!

If you want to see optimal recovery rates and muscular improvement, now is the time to give the body what it’s asking for. So, just what should you be eating? What’s going to bring you optimal results? Let’s take a quick look at four main components of any recovery nutrition practice, including proteins, carbohydrates as well as fats and hydration.

Fast Digesting Proteins

The first element of a good post-workout meal is going to be some fast digesting proteins. These proteins help supply your body with the building blocks it needs to repair your broken muscle tissues and generate new lean muscle mass.

Most people opt for protein powders, because they are convenient and designed to hit the blood stream and break down as quickly as possible. Particularly, a whey isolate protein powder is quite effective. However, you don’t have to choose protein powders as there are many solid food options that also work the same way protein powders do for recovery.  Some of the best options for solid food choices for fat digesting proteins include egg whites, white fish, or chicken breast. Lean and high protein foods are the best for any recovery nutrition.

Fast And Slow Digesting Carbs

The second component for an effective post-workout nutrition plan is fast and slow digesting carbohydrates. The reason why you want both of these types of carbohydrates is that the fast carbohydrates will increase your insulin levels, which is required to really drive the muscles into the muscle cells as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, the slow digesting carbohydrates will help sustain your energy so that you don’t suffer from a crash shortly after consuming your meal.  The worst thing to have happen is to hit rock bottom with an energy low, leaving you feeling miserable and negate your recovery progress. This being said, a combination of both fast and slow carbohydrates work perfectly.

Some food source examples of this carbohydrate combination could be a whole wheat bagel (slow carb) smeared with some jelly (fast carb) or some whole grain cereal (slow carb) with a banana (fast carb) placed on top.

The Importance Of Hydration

Hydration is another necessity to an optimal workout recovery plan. During workout, if you’ve been sweating heavily, you have now lost a great deal of fluids that need replacing.  Furthermore, you may have lost key electrolytes, which the body needs for optimal function and repair. Hydration is not only important from the H2O perspective, but also replenishing your muscular energy.

If your training session wasn’t too long, then 8-16 ounces of water can be sufficient. However, if it was an hour or longer, then opting for an electrolyte drink may be more beneficial.

Looking Out For Fat

Finally, another important item to consider for optimal post-workout recovery is keeping dietary fat as low as possible. Dietary fat only slows the digestion process, which only moves you away from any recovery and nutritional goals that you’re trying to achieve.

Looking out for fat is an ongoing nutritional choice that extends beyond just the recovery cycle. Throughout all your eating habits, lowering your fat intake and considering healthy food choices to be as fat free as possible will not only encourage overall healthy nutrition, but also maximize recovery without risking fat gain.

There you have four key points to remember about your post-workout nutrition. Post-workout recovery is a critical element that should not be overlooked if you’re serious about seeing results, maximizing your training and feeling your best as you prepare for racing.