most wrestlers, you likely work out on consecutive days. What
you eat after a hard workout is actually more important than what
you eat before. Rigorous practice takes a toll on the body, and
fluid and important nutrients are lost. It is critical to maximize
recovery during and after a workout. In fact, many athletes focus
solely on recovery after practice.
to Dr. Susan Crawford, there are four main phases of recovery:
Recovery during hard exercise.
Recovery immediately after hard exercise.
the day after hard exercise.
on a daily basis.
1: Recovery During Exercise
During practice, recovery priorities are to stay well hydrated
with water and to ensure carbohydrate stores are topped up. As
I mentioned in the previous questions, aim for ¼ to ½ a cup of
water every fifteen to twenty minutes during exercise and 25 to
50 grams of carbohydrate per hour after the first hour of exercise.
For exercise beyond ninety minutes, aim for .5 to 1 gram of carbohydrate
per kilogram of body weight per hour. A sports drink supplying
less than 19.5 milligrams of potassium per 100-millilitre portion
is adequate to replace electrolyte losses in exercise sessions
lasting more than ninety minutes. If your workout lasts an hour
or less, water is adequate.
2: Recovery Immediately After Hard Exercise
Immediately after your practice, the top priority is to rehydrate.
Plan to drink 4 cups of water for every 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram)
of weight lost during the exercise session. Second, refuel with
carbohydrates. Aim for 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrate food or
beverages in the first sixty minutes after practice. The sooner
these carbohydrates are consumed the better. Good choices include
a bagel and juice, carrot sticks and pretzels or raisins and juice.
If solid food doesn't appeal to you immediately after your workout,
look for liquid sources of carbohydrate like a sports drink or
recovery beverage. More specifically, a post-exercise snack that
contains 3:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein will enhance the
uptake of glycogen (energy) by the muscles. Commercial recovery
products often supply this ratio, or you could have yogurt or
a carbohydrate-protein drink. If you have been exercising in the
heat for more than about three to four hours and have sweat excessively,
you will need to consider replacing sodium and potassium. About
500 milligrams of sodium and 300 milligrams of potassium are lost
in 3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) of sweat. Recovering these nutrients
from food and beverages is a better strategy than taking pills,
which can be too concentrated and irritate the stomach lining.
3: Recovery the Day After Hard Exercise
As per Phase 2, emphasize water and carbohydrate fuel. Aim for
7 to 10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per
day. Additionally, emphasize quality protein foods such as soy,
tofu, legumes, chicken, eggs or lean beef. Healthy foods high
in potassium and sodium such as tomato juice, squash, melons,
a baked potato, citrus fruits and bananas would also be good to
emphasize the day after a hard workout.
4: Recovery on a Daily Basis
When you work out on a regular basis, recovery is an ongoing process.
Follow the 80-20 rule and ensure you are making quality choices
in your meals and snacks. Ongoing hydration is also a good plan.
Plan to eat or drink some carbohydrate calories in the first thirty
minutes after workout to promote muscle recovery.
Although you need top-notch fuel in your system prior to practice,
how well you feel the day after a hard workout can be influenced
by your choices in the recovery period.
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Crawford is a well-respected sports nutritionist and professor
at Simon Fraser University.