Recovery nutrition is essential for appropriately refuelling and rehydrating the body, for promoting muscle repair and growth and boosting adaptation from the training session you just performed. Yet the importance of post workout meals depends greatly on the intensity of your training, the duration of your training and your body composition goals. It is most essential in individuals whom train at a high performance levels (high intensity) for long durations.
The first key component of recovery nutrition is to rehydrate and replenish the stores lost through your sweat. When it comes to your food, the body is most effective at replacing carbohydrate and promoting muscle repair in the first 60 – 90 minutes post workout.
Carbohydrates are the key macronutrient required at this time, yet protein consumption is also important for muscle repair.
What are some good options post workout?
Each individual has different food choices when it comes to recovery nutrition. Some people struggle to consume foods after training and have a lower appetite, yet others are ravenous from the moment they walk out of the gym.
Therefore, it is important to find a plan that works for you. Here are some general guidelines of what to consume:
- Ensure there is a rich and quality source of carbohydrates to replenish muscle fuel stores
- Ensure the meal contains lean protein which will encourage muscle repair
- Include a source of fluids (or electrolytes if over 1.5-2hr session) to rehydrate effectively.
Some post workout ideas
- Rice with tuna and spinach
- Lean chicken/ham roll with salad
- Bowl of museli with fruit and yoghurt
- Can of tuna on rice cakes with a banana
- Peanut butter and honey sandwich
- Dairy foods such as flavoured milks contain carbohydrates, protein, fluid and electrolytes and make for a complete meal post workout
If you are training twice a day or if there is a fast turnaround between sessions, you will need to have a solid recovery nutrition plan that may require further sports nutrition advice for your specific needs.