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Corporate Wellness

What Is Recovery Nutrition?

What is recovery nutrition? It’s refueling your body with nutrients and calories after you’ve just endured hard physical activity. While most people think of sports or a workout at the gym, it could even include hard physical labor for an extended time frame, particularly if you don’t normally do it. When you work your body hard, you burn a huge amount of calories. It depletes the energy stores in your body, since it burns off substantial calories. Recovery nutrition helps boost those energy stores so you’re ready for the round of fuel burning. It’s the art of consuming the right food to get the nutrition to provide building blocks for muscles and to repair them.

There’s a right time and type of food to consume.

There are four R’s of recovery. Replenish, repair, rehydrate and reinforce. That’s why timing and the type of food you eat is important. You should have a snack or small meal within 30 minutes to an hour of your tough physical activity. It should be a combination of protein and carbs, with the carbs being three times the number of grams of the protein. If your workout was an endurance workout, such as long distance running, you need four times the carbohydrates to protein combination. For those trying to lose weight, you’ll need to change the ratio.

Your body is its most responsive in the first 30 to 60 minutes.

While your body is still recovering, delivery of the nutrients to the muscles is most efficient. The heart rate is increased, as is the blood pressure. That can cause replenishment of glycogen to occur faster and begin the tissue repair faster. It helps the body rapidly switch from breaking down muscle tissue to building muscle tissue.

There are times when it’s critical to your training that you ensure you have recovery nutrition.

If you’re doing high intensity training or doing heavy lifting sessions, recovery nutrition is important. People preparing for competition should also make sure it’s part of their protocol. If you’ve trained hard for two to three days in a row, don’t forget to get your recovery nutrition afterward or you won’t find the next training session as easy or productive. You don’t have to do it for light training, but should eat healthy at the next meal.

  • The replenish phase of the four Rs means you have to replenish the carbs stored in the muscles, which is from the carbs. Repair comes from the protein. Rehydrating is important whether your workout is tough or not. If you sweat, drink water.
  • The last of the four Rs is reinforce. Recovery nutrition focuses on the food with nutrients that can reinforce the immune system, muscle recovery and improve the central nervous system. Choose anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables.
  • A blueberry protein shake or blueberries and Greek yogurt or cottage cheese are both good ideas for recovery. Include potassium rich bananas in that combination and some tart cherries to boost potassium and aid with stress.
  • Make overnight oats and load it with fresh fruit or slather some peanut butter on an apple. Some toast with lettuce, mayo and hard boiled egg make a great snack sandwich.

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