Training causes physical stress and depletion. Recovery is when adaptation to that stress occurs; it involves improvements not only in muscle performance, but also in glycogen storage. Hard training followed by timely, adequate nutritional replenishment increases your glycogen storage, as if your body is saying, “If there’s another workout like this tomorrow, I better be prepared with a good supply of available fuel. If you feed your body correctly after a workout, you’ll have that fuel, muscle glycogen, the next day.
This article answers questions about how to enhance your recovery, and it offers guidelines on what nutrients you need and how much of them to use. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll give your body the support it requires to meet the demands of your next training session or race.
Athletes tend to focus on training and neglect recovery, specifically the critical step of refueling as soon as possible after each workout. We tend to think that a hard workout deserves a nice reward. Do you usually first go for a shower or relaxation after a hard workout? Are beer and pretzels your favored post-workout snack? If so, it’s important to remember that a hard workout has left your body in a state of utter depletion and physiological vulnerability. However, it’s also in a state of prime receptivity, ready to absorb nutrients. Taking those few extra minutes to properly refuel is one of the most important things that you can do to improve your race day results. In fact, properly refueling your body immediately after your training session is as important as anything you did in the actual workout.
You can really give yourself a major advantage come race day if you’ll take the time to put some quality fuel into your body as soon as possible after all of your workouts. If you’re at all serious about performing better in your racing and staying healthier, then take heed to this saying: “When you’ve finished training, you’re still not finished with training! Here’s what I mean: You must attend as much to recovery as you do to active exercise if you expect to reap the benefits of hard training; how well you recover today will be a huge factor in how well you perform tomorrow. Exercise, done properly, creates enough stress on your muscles and cardiovascular system to instigate a rebuilding and strengthening program, but without causing big-time damage. Your body responds by adapting to the stress you placed upon it. Too much exercise at once leads to over-training syndrome. If you train within limits, but fail to supply your body with adequate fuel and nutrients, you get pretty much the same thing: over-use symptoms such as consistently sore muscles, increased susceptibility to infections, and fatigue.
Recovery includes many factors, including rest, stretching, muscle stimulation, and sleep, but we will limit our present discussion to the nutritional aspects. This article will cover the three essential nutritional areas of recovery: rehydration, the two macronutrients (carbohydrates and protein), and micronutrients (primarily antioxidants).
Read the full Hammer Nutrition article here: Recovery – A crucial component for success | Hammer Nutrition.