6/1/16

Are you recovering well post workout?


Endurance training takes a toll on the body. And if you are like most athletes, where your long workouts occur on the weekend (after a stressful week of training, work and life), you can imagine how easy it can be for the body to carry around residual fatigue as training volume increases if you are not recovering well from your daily workouts.   

Adequate recovery is critical in the restoration of physiological and psychological processes.

From a nutrition point of view, replenishing glycogen, increasing protein synthesis and rehydrating are three critical components to maximizing your fitness but your post workout recovery nutrition also acts as nourishment to keep your immune system functioning properly. 

Consider these three reminders when it comes to post workout recovery.

1) Recovery is everything that happens between two workouts. If you want your body to consistently perform well at every workout, you  need to consider everything that happens between two workouts, which includes sleep, diet, stress management, mobility, etc.
To minimize risk for injury or illness, you may need to make some lifestyle changes (or investments) to ensure that your life allows you to recover, refuel, rejuvinate and repair between every workout but specifically after the more intense or high volume workouts. Endurance triathletes are known to squeeze in a lot into one day but sometimes you will gain more out of your workout by slowing down (and not feeling the need to rush to the next thing in life) and allowing your body to recover properly. 

2) Recovery nutrition depends on the sport duration and intensity. Therefore, there is a fueling and rehydrating strategy for every type of workout. As an athlete who seeks performance gains, it is important that you see recovery nutrition as part of your workout. Your workout is not complete until you recover with the appropriate fueling and hydration snack or meal. Keep in mind that what you eat post workout is part of your daily nutrition needs/calories (whereas what you eat before and during a workout are "extra" calories to support a workout and should not be added to your daily recommended caloric intake).
You will know if you are not recovering well if you find yourself with a run-down feeling in the 4 hours after training, you have difficulty sleeping at night (yet feel exhausted during the day), you can't give the effort that you know/think you should be giving during a workout, you are struggling to get through easy workouts, your muscles feel fatigued, exhausted or sore to the touch, your appetite seems a bit wonky or you have trouble reaching or sustaining higher intensities.

3) Recovery nutrition will not destroy your body composition goals. A common mistake for the athlete who seeks a change in body composition is not prioritizing the fueling and/or hydrating post workout all in an effort to lose weight. Keep in mind that weight loss in the form of reducing body fat (which is the kind of weight loss you want - not from water weight, muscle loss or bone loss) is dependent on expending calories or reducing calories and staying consistent with training so you can get stronger, faster and more powerful. Nail your recovery nutrition so that you can reach your full athletic potential.