How many of you know what a “recovery meal” is? Everyone needs to make a recovery meal an important part of their training regimen…
A recovery meal is designed to replace your glucose and glycogen stores, the fuels that provide you with energy, and the fuels that are depleted as a result of exercise. Consuming a recovery meal within 30 minutes after exercise is one of the most important habits that people can develop. Not only does this meal replace the stores of this vital energy source, these calories also help the body to recover from a training session and can possibly result in reduced soreness, as well.
Since carbs are the preferred fuel source of the body, maintaining and replenishing your carbohydrate stores keeps protein from being broken down to be used as energy. So by having the proper levels of carbs in your system you allow protein to do what it does best, build muscle tissue.
The ideal recovery meal consists of a 20-ounce sports drink, such as Gatorade, and an orange. You should then eat a regular meal within 2 hours after activity to ensure that you get essential nutrients into your system to further aid the recovery process. As an alternative to this ideal recovery meal, consume a carbohydrate gel – such as a Clif Shot – drink 20 ounces of water and eat an orange.
To ensure that you can perform at your best while training, and to give your body the best chance to properly recover from your workout, you need to stay hydrated by regularly drinking water throughout the day. Save the sports drink – and the calories that they contain – for your recovery meal. Many people sabotage their hard work in the gym by regularly drinking high-calorie sports drinks during the day rather than good old, low-calorie, and all-natural water.
In extreme conditions, sports drinks can be consumed right before, during, and immediately following competition or rigorous training/practice, but in the vast majority of cases water is all that you need. If you drink water regularly and are hydrated before your workout or competition, sports drinks will be more effective when you do drink them.
Here are some fluid guidelines that everyone needs to be aware of:
- Before activity: 14-22 oz
- During activity: 6-12 oz every 15 minutes
- After an activity: 16-24 oz
Drinking enough water to stay hydrated and eating a recovery meal are two great habits that can help people to get the most out of their training sessions.