You know that saying, ‘you are what you eat’? Well, it turns out that it does indeed make a big difference: when regularly taking part in exercise, eating the right foods can improve your muscle recovery ability. If you have had a particularly intense workout and are really feeling the burn, this can make all the difference. Eating the right balance of nutrients and choosing the right foods will provide your body with the key ingredients it needs to restore muscle glycogen levels, boost muscle recovery and enable quicker re-hydration. So let me ask you this: would you put the wrong oil in your car? No. So why do differently with your own body?
The period immediately after you finish a workout or fitness session is the optimal time to boost your recovery. If you are all too familiar with long recovery times and ‘the burn’ the next day, try these tips for quick results and greater recovery performance:
- Eating eggs, which can be cooked quickly and easily, provides a great source of protein immediately after a workout. Try with a slice of toast for muscle glycogen replacement.
- Always eat a full meal within two hours of completing your workout. Opt for something high in protein, vitamins and minerals. A good example is lean chicken or fish, with wholemeal rice and vegetables.
- To aid vitamin intake, try vitamins B2 and B6 – these help improve energy metabolism and fight fatigue and tiredness. If you eat the right food, you won’t have need for supplement intake, so focus on what you eat as a priority.
- Ensure fluid intake is high. Fluids are absorbed by the body much quicker than solid foods, so choosing a recovery shake is one of the most efficient ways of delivering the key nutrients for good muscle recovery.
- Along with water, milk is an excellent choice of drink. It provides a good source of protein, containing casein – which is a protein digested slowly for a steady supply of essential amino acids. The best time for a glass of milk is during the day or just before bed. Drinking milk before bed can really help to rebuild your muscles throughout the night.
So if you are fed up of struggling from the burn of your workout, try some simple diet changes to maximise performance and aid muscle recovery.