Post-Training Recovery Hits
Recovery has become a very topical area of athletic performance recently (and rightly so) with the introduction of recovery sessions, recovery pants, ice baths, cryotherapy and foam rolling to name a few. However, the one form of recovery which has possibly the most influence over our adaptation to a training session, is nutrition. Nutrition and sleep form the basis for adaptation to training, while the other forms of recovery are simply the add-ons. With that in mind, no matter what time of day we train at and no matter what form of training we do (strength session vs aerobic session), recovering from each session as best we can will be what determines how we adapt, progress and improve from each session. With most training sessions finishing late in the evening (9:30pm or 10:00pm) it is vital you have the correct nutritional strategies in place post-training in order to facilitate and promote adaptation to exercise from that particular training session. This can be achieved through three main strategies:
◆ Stimulate Muscle Protein Synthesis - maximising repair and growth of muscle tissue (especially important after a gym session). ◆ Maximise Muscle Glycogen Resynthesis - this will aid in refuelling for another training or gym session the following day. ◆ Rehydrate Sufficiently - restore fluid and electrolyte balance lost through sweating. An optimal recovery strategy after a late night training session consists of two meals or 'recovery hits' in the period after training, before bed. These hits should be immediately post training (if possible) and 90-120 minutes post training. The meals should contain enough protein to stimulate MPS (25g-30g), carbohydrates in the region of 1g - 1.5g per kg of body mass (80g - 120g for an 80kg athlete) as studies have shown these to be the optimal amounts for maximising glycogen re-synthesis, and some vegetables and fruit where possible to provide some anti-inflammatory affects. From a practical point of view, the first recovery hit needs to be something you prepared before training and have brought with you to training. Ideally, it should be an easily digestible meal - so options such as smoothies and shakes are good. We advise you keep the protein content similar in both hits, contributing to an even distribution of protein throughout the day, as we have previously discussed the importance of this in a recent post. The second recovery hit also serves to stimulate MPS pre-sleep which has been shown to promote a muscle building state throughout the night!
Recovery Hit 1: Immediately Post-Training
- Roughly 30g of protein
- Roughly 30g of carbohydrate
- Easily digestible
- Must be pre-prepared before training
- Add fruits and vegetables to shakes and smoothies for anti-inflammatory affects.
- Whey protein shake (20g protein) mixed with 200g of milk (10g protein/10g carbohydrate), with a banana (20g carbohydrate).
- High protein yogurt (250g = 25g protein/10g carbohydrate) with some fruit (strawberries, blueberries, chopped apple, grapes).
- Overnight Oats made with either yogurt, whey or milk, topped with some fruit.
- Smoothie made of oats, fruits, honey, seeds and a higher protein source (again milk, yogurt, whey).
Recovery Hit 2: 90-120 minutes Post-Training
- Roughly 30g of protein
- Roughly 50g-90g of carbohydrate (your drink counts towards this total).
- Wholemeal carbohydrates (brown pasta, brown rice).
- Use a drink to add more carbohydrates to the meal (milk, home-made juice).
- Better to have it planned and prepared before training to make the decision process a lot easier.
- Fish (one cod fillet = ~25g protein) with potatoes and mixed vegetables.
- Chicken with rice/pasta and added vegetables.
- Bean curry/chicken curry with rice, pasta or potatoes as a carbohydrate source.
- Healthy salad with added chicken, rice and beans (as below).
- Bowl of oats with honey, seeds, nuts, berries for extra calories, with a protein source (yogurt, eggs, protein milk).