Want to nail that 6 am run tomorrow? Guess what, the work starts now.
by Becky Simon, Registered Dietitian, Bonk Breaker and found on Ironman.com
If you think fueling for your workout tomorrow starts when your alarm clock goes off, think again. Fueling for tomorrow starts today. If there’s one component to your sports nutrition that has the biggest impact on your performance, it’s recovery nutrition. Recovery allows your body to adapt, and become stronger and more resilient. And it starts with eating, so fuel up before you put your feet up.
Optimal recovery can be summarized by the easy to remember “Three R’s: Refuel, Rebuild and Rehydrate.” Read on to learn how each of these is critical for recovery and prepares you for the next day’s training session or race. Also, practicing the Three R’s shouldn’t be complicated. Following are a few easy ways to make sure you’re refueling, rebuilding and rehydrating like a champ.
Why: Glycogen is stored energy in your muscles. During exercise, especially long and intense sessions, you use and deplete glycogen stores. After exercise there is a 15 to 30 minute window where your body can efficiently convert carbohydrates into glycogen stores, preparing your body for the next day’s training. Glycogen recovery is especially essential for athletes that have heavy back-to-back training or events. Refuel with carbohydrates immediately after training and continue eating carbohydrate rich meals throughout the day.
How: Consume a combination of carbohydrate and protein to refuel your glycogen stores. By doing this, you can say goodbye to pre-race pasta dinners. Properly recover after training and your muscles will be fueled for race day (Note: you still need to top off your glycogen stores with pre-race nutrition).
Why: Feeling consistently sore after training? Rebuild your muscles by adding protein to recovery. Protein rebuilds and repairs muscle tissue. Amino acids that make up protein are the building blocks of muscles and they also aid in muscle adaptation. Rebuild with protein to enhance muscle adaptation for long-term training.
How: Recover within 15 to 30 minutes of training with a bottle of water and Bonk Breaker Protein bar, chocolate milk, protein shake made with fruit or juice, or yogurt.
Why: Cramping and muscle fatigue is often associated with dehydration or sodium imbalance.
How: Determine your specific hydration needs by calculating your sweat rate. Weigh yourself before and after a hard workout. Each pound lost represents one pound (16 ounces) of sweat. During training, replace sweat losses accordingly and try to lose less than two percent of your body weight. Replace fluids after exercise by drinking 16 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost. Monitor your hydration by observing the color of your urine; look for pale, light-colored urine. If your urine is dark and produced in small amounts, start drinking! Higher sodium foods and fluids can replace electrolytes, specifically sodium, after training.
Recover today to fuel you for tomorrow.