When it comes to fueling before or refueling after your workout, timing is everything. For example, before your workout you’ll want to have something that will give you a boost of energy without leaving you with an upset stomach on the road. We focus on foods that are low in fiber and low in fat. And remember: the bigger the meal, the longer you’ll need to digest it. Graze lightly!
Post-run nutrition is all about kickstarting muscle recovery and refilling spent energy stores so that you can bounce back quickly. Getting your recovery right is vital for staving off muscle soreness and improving your performance.
Protein helps repair muscle tissue.
Regular protein intake helps to provide the building blocks (amino acids), for ongoing muscle growth and repair.
Chicken and salmon are two of our favorite post-run protein sources. A fresh quinoa salad chock full of veggies and avocado is also fantastic. Bananas are great for aiding in muscle repair — we use some peanut or almond butter on the side for an extra protein boost!
Carbohydrates restock spent energy stores.
Carbohydrates are the body’s main fuel source for high intensity work, and are stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. As the body can only store a certain amount of carbohydrate, once reduced through a harder training session these stores need to be replaced before your next workout.
To satisfy your belly without going overkill on calories, focus on high-fiber, high-fat foods. A handful of raw nuts, some avocado on whole wheat toast, hummus and veggies, even a hard boiled egg will do the trick.
Above all: don’t forget to hydrate!
Fluids regulate body temperature, move waste from your body, ensure that your joints are adequately lubricated, and help flush out the damaged cells that can lead to inflammation. Proper hydration also helps control cravings, which is important because it’s often easy to mistake thirst for hunger. And you don’t have to just guzzle water — fruits and vegetables can also help you stay hydrated. Plus they’re packed with antioxidants, which boost muscle recovery and immunity.
Summing It Up
When you think recovery, think of ‘The Four R’s’:
- Rest – Prioritize good sleep (especially if you’re in training), as this is when most of your muscle repair occurs.
- Rehydrate – Replace fluid losses by drinking at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Repair – Eat protein soon after exercise to kickstart muscle repair.
- Refuel – Eat carbohydrates to help restore energy.