The most important part of your training is how well you recover afterwards and making sure your body gets optimal nutrition to repair and recover your muscles. The amount of time during which you should begin your recovery nutrition routine following training is 15-30 minutes. This is the most crucial time and the best recovery nutrition is in a form of a recovery shake because it gets absorbs much quicker in your muscles than food would do in so little time. A recovery shake is not classified as a meal, so normally you would have a healthy meal an hour later.
First let's have a look at what nutrients your body needs for recovery...
Protein helps to build and repair muscle
Exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein.
It is recommended to consume 20-40 grams of protein soon after workout.
This will give your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild the proteins. This also gives you the building blocks it requires to build new muscle tissue.
Healthy Carbs helps for recovery
Your body burns through a lot of carbohydrate during a workout. Carbs is the primary fuel that keeps your muscles working and it is important to refuel after a workout.
1.4 grams of Carbohydrate per kg of body weight, is the recommended amount to consume after a workout.
Drink plenty of water
During exercise you lose water and electrolytes through sweat, therefore it is important to replenish these after a workout. It will also help with recovery and performance.
Getting the right nutrients after exercise can help you rebuild your muscle proteins and glycogen stores. It helps stimulate growth of new muscle
As mentioned, it helps to have some form of a recovery shake to consume directly after a workout. It gets absorbed much quicker than food and this is ideal if you are limited to 15-30 min after a workout.
An hour after, I would consume a healthy meal that contains both Protein and Carbohydrates.
My go-to recovery shake is Herbalife's Rebuild strength. It is a high protein drink with added L-Glutamine and BCAA's. It also contains adequate Protein and Carbohydrates that is essential for recovery. It is also tested for banned substances (www.informed-sport.com), which makes it save for anyone including top Athletes to use it. (If you want to enquire about this product, please drop me an email on email@example.com)
The last topic on recovery is REST. Just as your body needs nutrients to recover, it also needs rest . If you have adequate sleep at night (at least 6-8 hours), your muscles will recover better and this is also where the 'muscle building process' kicks in. You will also perform better during your workout if your muscles is 'rest-out'.
Take a 'rest day' .. you can do an active recovery workout. Active recovery is an easier workout compared to your normal routine and would be done on your off/rest day. It is a much less intense workout.
Examples of active recovery workouts are: Foam rolling, walking, light weight lifting, hiking, swimming or yoga.
Personally I would like to take one day completely off from training (Sundays) because of my hectic training schedule..the choice is yours.
The last point on Rest is weight-loss. If you are someone that are eating healthy, training, drinking water and in the process of losing weight, to sleep is also crucial. When you don't sleep enough, your cortisol levels rise. This is a stress hormone that is frequently associated with fat gain. Cravings will then kick in and you will find yourself eating all the 'bad stuff'.
So.. when in doubt, sleep it out!
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