Recovery looks different for every individual and isn’t a one size fits all process. The reason why we need recovery is that our bodies need time to restore, replace, and rebuild any nutrients that might have been lost during training. Nutrition plays a huge role in the recovery process and has major benefits on how your body regenerates. There are 4 staple aspects of recovery, or what I like to call the 4 R’s of Recovery: Rehydrate, Refuel, Repair, and Rest. Each of these stages contribute to your body’s way of repairing, rebuilding, and recovering. Here are a few tips to get started with recovery and help your body restore after strenuous training or competition!
Fluids and electrolytes: Staying hydrated can help reduce symptoms of muscle fatigue and injury. Dehydration can lead to a rise in body temperature and heart rate which can contribute to exhaustion and make exercising feel much more difficult. Hydration is also associated with mental function and alertness. Many electrolyte drinks contain a number of ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, trans-fats, artificial flavors, brominated vegetable oil (bromine is a toxin and a goitrogen) that genetically work against the body. Some electrolyte drinks have high sugar and sodium content which can leave you feeling nauseous, dehydrated, and fatigued. Gatorade is known for its sweet taste but is loaded with artificial sweeteners, flavors, and dyes that are damaging to the body. Here is a sport-safe options with clean ingredients and a good balance of sodium, potassium, and electrolytes.
Nuun Tablets https://nuunlife.com/
Replacing carbohydrates: A true recovery window for carbohydrates is about 30 minutes after exercise. Carbs are your body’s main source of fuel and energy and can even reduce the sensation of soreness. Intense exercise depletes most of your stored carbohydrates and without muscle glycogen, your muscles won’t have that fuel source it needs to perform at its maximum potential.
- Examples: fruit, oats, quinoa, rice, pasta, bread, granola, granola bar, dry cereal, potatoes
- Purely Elizabeth Granola (https://purelyelizabeth.com/)
- Oatmeal/ Overnight Oats
- Daves Killer Bread with nut butter and chia seeds or cottage cheese and berries
- Lean protein with rice and starchy veggies
- Granola Bar
Repair muscle with protein: Your muscles are naturally going to go through wear and tear throughout training and protein is a primary source to help repair your muscles. Just like carbohydrates, protein should be consumed within a 30-minute window after exercise.
Protein is key post-workout to help repair muscle tissue and reduce muscle breakdown after exercise. Nuts, seeds, nut butters, dairy, eggs, lean meat, poultry, and fish are all great sources of protein and provide nutrient dense post-workout protein.
10-15 grams within 30 minutes
Examples: nuts, seeds, peanut butter, milk, eggs, lean meat, poultry, fish
- Greek yogurt with nuts/ chia seeds
- Hard boiled eggs
- Tuna and crackers
- Protein Shake
Pro Tip: Plan ahead and have a snack handy so you aren’t struggling to find something to eat after exercising. Check out our Instagram for pre & post workout snacks / recipes to try!
Rest: Try to aim for at least 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Not only is rest important for recovery but it allows your body the time it needs to regenerate. As elite athletes training multiple times a day, sleep is that much more important to overcome the intense levels of stress our bodies go through. 8-10 hours can be a challenge for those who have demanding school schedules or early morning workouts. The best way to ensure the most amount of sleep is to pre-plan for morning workouts.
Have your bag and breakfast packed and ready to go in the mornings so you save time. If you struggle with falling asleep, here’s a sport safe option that might help.
IDLife Sleep Strips https://idlife.com/shop/product/06-0003
Infrared Sauna: Detoxes, improves circulation, aids in muscle repair, and
I became more aware of the benefits of recovery as I went through college. I realized the importance of listening to my body and not ignoring extreme signs of exhaustion/fatigue. I had moments where I didn’t know what to say or how to tell my coaches because I was afraid that they would think I wasn’t trying or didn’t care. However, in speaking up and having conversations I understood that being an athlete isn’t just about listening to your coaches, you have to be able to listen to yourself and your needs as well. I believe that great athletes and coaches have mutual respect for one another and aren’t afraid to communicate even through uncomfortable conversations/ situations. Speaking up can be a very helpful process for you and your coach. Not only does it bring awareness to how you feel and how your body works, but it also allows your coach to understand the best way to approach your training and recovery.
Listen to your body and appreciate all that it does for you on a daily basis. It’s not always easy to show yourself love or feel worthy of rest but just know you are always deserving of it. Remember that rest does not equal laziness and it’s okay to take time for yourself once in a while. Do what makes you happy and enjoy the process of giving back to yourself