Now, what to eat for optimum recovery and energy post workout.
First priority is re-hydration. Water, water, water. How much?
If you have a serious sweat session, you can weigh yourself prior to working out and again afterwards. This is the formula
(Pre-workout weight) - (post-workout weight) x 100
So, if you are 70kg and you weigh 68kg post workout, the equation is:
(70 - 68) x 100
70 = 2.85% body weight loss
You need to replace more than the fluid loss because you will continue to lose fluid after your workout is over. For athletes, a 1% reduction in bodyweight through fluid loss equals an extra 17 seconds to race time in sprints. For the above example, this person would need to drink roughly 2 litres of water in the hours following their workout.
Always BEGIN your workoutwell hydrated and avoid sugar-based drinks as they empty very slowly from the stomach. That's right, avoid the Red Bull or Coke!
Dietary Goals After Exercise
- Adequate fluids, electrolytes, energy and carbohydrates to replace muscle glycogen
- Protein for amino acids to build and repair muscle tissue
Carbohydrate intake (depending on your body size, workout intensity and duration): 1 - 1.5g carbohydrate per 1kg body weight in the first 30 minutes post workout and again every 2 hours for 4 hours.
Studies have proven that rather than relying purely on high-carbohydrate intake for recovery, a combination of 160g carbohydrate and 50g protein results in optimum glycogen storage.
- Rice with chicken/beef/fish
- Low-salt and high-fibre muesli/breakfast bar
- Greek yoghurt and chicken/beef/fish sandwich on wholegrain bread
- Pasta with tomato-based mince sauce (no creamy/cheesy sauces!)
- Chocolate milk and 2 slices raisin bread + light coating of honey
Want to know more? Download and print this Recovery Nutrition Fact Sheet from Sports Dietitians Australia.