Raisin Your Nutrition

– A blog about the energy benefits of raisins –

Sun-Maid_Ramp Up Your Recovery

Ramp Up Your Recovery

April 28, 2014 by

You’ve finished your run. Aaaaaah. Now it’s time to get cool and refuel. Your post-workout nutrition is one of the most important fueling opportunities of the day. Because the foods that you choose can impact your next training session, you need a plan that provides fluids, carbohydrate, and protein—and you need to eat ASAP after a workout. Here are the key R’s of Recovery after training:

  • Restore lost fluids and electrolytes
  • Replenish energy stores
  • Repair & Rebuild muscle
  • Reduce immune system stress

Restore

Intense workouts lead to loss of fluids through sweating which must be replaced after exercise. Typically, you need to consume more fluid than was lost during exercise, since your body continues to excrete fluid through sweating and urination. Drink 24 ounces (3 cups) for every pound of body weight lost during the run. In addition to water, rehydration includes electrolyte replacement—primarily sodium. Fluids that contain sodium—like sports drinks—will reduce urine loss and drive thirst. Another strategy is to include sodium-containing foods post-exercise along with fluids to get the same result (think pretzels, crackers, nuts and seeds). 

Replenish

The carbohydrate stores that you burned as fuel during your run (muscle glycogen) need to be replenished. The only way to refill your gas tank is by eating and/or drinking carbs! During the first 30 minutes after exercise, your body’s cells are most receptive to replenishing energy stores. This timeframe is referred to as the “glycogen window.” For this immediate recovery period, your goals is to have 1.0-1.5g of carbohydrate/kg body weight.

Repair & Rebuild

Prolonged and high-intensity exercise breaks down muscle protein. Because of this, a small amount of protein is needed along with the carbohydrate to initiate muscle repair and rebuilding post-exercise. You want to have about four times the amount of carbohydrate compared to protein (4:1 ratio). Keep food choices low in fat to maximize digestion and absorption. Depending on your appetite and logistics, this recovery blend of carbs and protein can be in the form of a snack, smoothie or shake. Here are my “go to” recovery carbohydrate and protein combos:

  • Banana and low-fat chocolate milk
  • Raisins and nuts
  • Fresh fruit and Greek yogurt
  • Raisin almond bar with 100% fruit juice
  • Fruit–yogurt smoothie

Reduce Immune Stress

Another reason that it’s important to consume carbohydrate is to support your immune system. Intensive workouts actually suppress the body’s immune system—and this may continue after exercise. But you can reduce this stress hormone response by having enough carbohydrate before and immediately after exercise. Choose fresh fruit, dried fruit and veggies that contain carbs plus antioxidants and phytonutrients to give your immune system an extra boost.

To continue the recovery process, you’ll need to have a meal 1-2 hours after exercise that includes a mix of fruits, veggies, lean protein and whole grains. Continue to hydrate with water, herbal tea or low-fat milk. Check out some of the delicious recipes on the web page for meal ideas. After a good night’s sleep you’re ready to run again!

Sun-Maid_Sports Performance Plate

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About The Author
SUZANNE NELSON, ScD, RDN
Suzanne Nelson

Dr. Nelson recently joined the staff of Bryn Athyn College in Pennsylvania as a nutrition and wellness advisor and sports nutritionist. Previously, she was the Director of Sports Performance Nutrition in the athletic department at the University of California, Berkeley. While in California, she was the team nutritionist for the San Francisco 49ers and provided nutrition consultation to the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors. In addition, Dr. Nelson has advised elite amateur athletes at the national, world, and Olympic level. She is a nationally known speaker in sports nutrition and is the author/editor of several books and numerous scientific journal articles. Dr. Nelson is the Nutrition and Health Advisor for Sun-Maid.

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