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Nourish to Flourish: An Athletes Guide to Recovery

Let’s talk recovery! Why is refueling your body after exercise so important?

  • During exercise, your muscles become depleted of glycogen and nitrogen causing depleted energy levels and risk of muscle wasting. Fueling with adequate carbohydrates, protein and rest periods allows your muscles to repair, grow, and build up glycogen stores for your next exercise! 💪

  • With injury, your body is susceptible to inflammation and muscle loss. Consuming adequate calories and protein helps decrease muscle loss, accelerate healing and return time to sport. Fatty acids play a role in reducing inflammation. Additionally, vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, help keep your bones and ligaments strong to prevent future injury. Keeping a balanced diet that highlights nutrients specific to your injury will have you back on the track, field, ice or court in no time! 🩺🏃

  • Did you know that the average athlete loses 1-3 L of sweat an hour? Sweat contains sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium making it vital to fuel with foods and drinks containing those minerals during recovery. These minerals help maintain fluid balance, optimize muscle function and prevent cramping! 💧🥤

  • Immune variables, such as antibodies, are seen to decrease post-exercise making an athlete vulnerable to infection during that period. Incorporating adequate sleep and vitamins/minerals will help support and protect an athlete during recovery! 🦠

Recovery is an umbrella term for many processes that help an athlete perform to the best of their ability while also maintaining good health. Nutrition recovery has many components but the big four are: hydration, sleep, protein and carbohydrates.

  • Maintaining a healthy fluid balance not only keeps an athlete hydrated during performance but it also prevents cramping and future injury. In addition to water, electrolyte drinks and foods with a high water content should be consumed to provide minerals that were lost through sweat and exercise. Everyone has different hydration needs with the general recommendation of consuming 16 ounces of water for every pound lost during exercise. 😅🧃🥤

  • Sleep is the longest period of time that your body has to rest. It is shown that athletes need a minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep to support muscle building, mental health, cognitive functioning, body composition and immunity. Sleep disruption can be caused by caffeine, screen time, and alcohol. Prioritize your sleep and create a schedule that optimizes rest and recovery! 😴🛌

  • Dietary protein is important to the development of health tissues and bones. Athletes should consume high-quality, complete proteins to support muscle growth and recovery. A complete protein is one that includes all of the essential amino acids. Complete proteins include animal proteins, pea protein or a combination of two other plant-based proteins. Check out this Forbes article where our very own Jenna Stangland is featured talking about the different sources of protein! 🥩🥚🍤

  • If your body was a car, carbohydrates would be the gas that fuels it all the way to the finish line! It’s important to include both simple and complex carbohydrates in your diet to support various energy needs during exercise. Simple carbohydrates are helpful for a quick release of energy before a workout whereas complex carbohydrates will function as an energy reservoir to keep you fueled throughout a longer exercise. In addition to the mid-exercise energy, carbohydrates supply energy to your cells which supports tissue growth and repair post-exercise. 🍞🍒🍌🥨

After a great team win, it’s important to fuel properly to support your body before the next competition! These supplements support a healthy, effective recovery:

  • Tart cherry can be consumed in either pill, juice or concentrate form and provides a natural source of melatonin. It is seen to improve muscle recovery and sleep quality🍒😴

  • Post practice shakes are a great source of protein, healthy fats, fruit and carbohydrates. These shakes can be customized to meet individual needs- not to mention they’re delicious 😋🥤

  • Exercise often stresses joints and bone which can cause future injury. Collagen is protein that strengthens connective tissues and bones! 🦴🤝

  • Magnesium glycinate is a supplement that is taken to support muscles during recovery. This supplement can block calcium absorption which improves vasodilation and relaxes muscles!💪 💊

Until Next Time,

Your RD Fuel Good Experts 🍍

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