I know our high school athletes are starting to increase their training and so are so many cyclists I know. So it is time to talk about recovery.
Recovery is required for growth. It’s not optional.
Recovery comes in the forms of rest and refueling. Rest is crucial, it allows the body to repair and without it we begin to tax our adrenals. Without rest, we put the body in a compromised position where it cannot get stronger, faster, healthier. I could go on about this, but here we are going to focus on the nutrition parts of the recovery equation.
With intense training, the body needs intense recovery and this requires proper nutrition. Your muscles and joints need as much attention after a workout as you gave them during the workout. Resting and properly feeding your muscles after intense training allows for muscle protein synthesis-getting strong.
When you train but don’t give your body proper rest or proper fuel you are toying with the possibility of having more muscular breakdown than muscle building synthesis- the exact opposite of what you want. You need nutrient dense food for cellular repair, growth and development. The more vigorous your workout, the more important it is to fuel with nutrient dense whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, whole grains, and Omega 3s.
Some highly recommended foods to add to your weekly plan are below:
- Protein: such as like grass-fed & grass -finished beef and eggs, which will feed your muscles while also supplying your body with iron and vitamin B12 to improve your athletic performance. Egg yolks also provide a wide range of micronutrients that are invaluable for recovery.
- Omega 3s: These are you key to natural anti-inflammation. For muscular recovery you need anti-inflammatory foods. Eating at least one serving of chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, or grass-fed & grass -finished beef daily will provide your body what it needs. Or, add a high quality Omega 3 fish oil to your daily routine.
- Berries: extremely high in antioxidants. When you are working out your body produces a lot of free radicals. Sufficient dietary (not supplemental) antioxidants are needed by your body to mitigate the adverse effects of the free radicals.
- Vegetables: can help alkalize your body, which ultimately supports recovery. Cruciferous vegetables, like kale and collard greens, are extremely high in vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll. I love baked kale chips cooked with coconut oil as a snack!!!
- Coconut oil: it contains medium chain fatty acids that your body can easily access and burn for energy during endurance events.
- Nuts and seeds: are high in vitamin E, another nutrient your body needs for continuous recovery. The latest research is showing that you do not need to supplement here, but just make sure you have an adequate supply of vitamin E in your diet throughout your training phases.
- Collagen: found in foods like bone both can improve your joints, improve detoxification and keep your gut healthy. Whenever possible, have some bone broth- really it is worth it’s weight in gold for your whole body.
Post Workout Fueling
With high amounts of training your daily recovery is closely linked to post workout fueling. Within 30 minutes of your workout it is important to consume both carbohydrates and protein to restore muscle glycogen and stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Eating protein after resistance training decreases physical breakdown and encourages muscle growth. In this snack you do not need to add-in fats.
Excellent options include:
- An apple or banana with 2 tablespoon of nut butter
- Protein smoothie with berries- a combination of whey and pea protein is preferable for recovery but choose what you like.
- Greek yogurt with 1 cup of berries
- Turkey sandwich (1/2)