Regardless of what sport you compete or participate in, every time you train or compete, you are utilizing your muscles, stressing your tissues, and using your stored glycogen and fats. In order to continue to train at a high level every day you train, your body needs to be able to recover properly. This will look different for every individual, but there are some standard things that apply to nearly everyone.
The goal when it comes to nutrition for recovery is to replenish what was lost, prevent breakdown, and minimize inflammation.
Replenish and Prevent Breakdown
The amount of glycogen and fat stores used for energy during training or competing depends on the length and intensity of the workout or competition. As a general, though, the glycogen stores need to be replenished after workouts.
The importance is twofold: 1) to have glycogen available for your next workout, and 2) to repair the muscle damage that occurred during that training session or event.
What does this look like for your intake?
First off, I always suggest consuming some protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your workout. Even if you are a fat adapted individual, your body still used some glycogen during your training or competition. Replenish with carbohydrates both higher on the glycemic index along with sources lower on the scale to improve your recovery and get you prepared for your next training session, as well as protein to repair the muscles damaged during exercise.
Not sure how your foods fall on the Glycemic Index? You can check it out here: http://glycemicindex.com/
With all that said, if you have trained your body to burn fats more than carbohydrates, then you will also need to take in fats after training. I am not keto, but I have gotten my body to burn fats more than carbohydrates. I can speak from experience and say that if I don’t get some healthy fats in me within 30 minutes of training, I will become pretty foggy headed.
Tissue damage when we exercise is normal. It is just part of the process. The cool thing is that the rebuilding process to that tissue damage is what makes our bodies stronger and more resilient.
The problem with this, though, is that the damage that occurs also causes an inflammation process and can also contribute to toxins building up in the body. Both of these situations can contribute to increased soreness, slow recovery time, and potential injury.
Lucky for us, the earth provides some great natural anti-inflammatories and healing properties in some of the foods we consume. Consuming these foods on a regular basis, and especially on your more intense training days, can speed up your recovery after each and every session. I was asked recently why I rarely get sore and why I recover so quickly – I truly believe it comes down to the foods I am eating.
Top foods I consume daily and highly recommend for recovery:
- Turmeric (curcumin) with black pepper (piperine) – amazing anti-inflammatory properties as well as a pain reducer
- Oregano – healing properties to decrease inflammation.
- Parsley – contains a compound known to decrease inflammation.
- Rosemary – contains powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients.
- Blueberries – high in antioxidants to decrease inflammation.
- Pineapple – has an enzyme that decreases inflammation.
- Collagen peptides – helps to maintain soft tissues, which means healthier joints.
Once I made these changes in my eating, my recovery and performance significantly improved. If you are training for something and not recovering as quickly as you would like, incorporate some of these ideas and see how your performance changes. Have more questions about this? Email me at [email protected]
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