After training and competitions your body is left dehydrated, depleted of fuel, and muscle fibres are left broken down. The body is in a stressed state, and – as we discussed last week – it is important to focus on your recovery to get ready for your next session and avoid the risk of injuries.
Appropriate nutrition and hydration help to:
- Refuel the muscle and liver glycogen (carbohydrate) stores
- Replace the fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
- Improve adaptation from your training session
- Support immune function
Long runs cause loss of fluid and electrolytes through sweat, the amount of fluid loss depends on the individual, but a general rule is to drink 1-1.5 L of water for every 1kg lost during activity.
Simply rehydrating with water during and at the end of the workout is generally enough but if you tend to have alot of salt in your diet, suffer with dizziness or cramps, excessive soreness post workout or you have trouble sleeping, you may be deficient in some essential micronutrients. It may then be beneficial to add an electrolyte mix to your water to replenish the sodium and mineral loss.
A simple way to monitor your hydration level is to check the colour of your urine: it should be clear or a pale yellow.
Refuelling : What do you need to focus on?
Performance and body composition depends on adequate macronutrients balance; the amount of carbohydrate, protein and fats should be determined according to your needs and goals.
Post-workout nutrition should focus on replenishing glycogen stores and provide materials for muscle repair and protein synthesis: a meal higher in simple carbohydrates and proteins is generally advised to speed these physiological processes. Fats slow down digestion, so they are best avoided straight after exercise.
When to refuel?
Research has shown that there is no ‘magic window’ and nutrition needs are highly dependant on individual’s activity, body composition and goals, but as a general rule the closer your workouts (think at 2 a day or evening to morning training) the sooner you want to refuel, try to eat as soon as possible after your workout: this is where shakes and sports drinks can help.
If you have 24hr or more between training sessions, aim to have a meal within 60-90 minutes.
Micronutrients – The missing link
Most people are aware of macronutrients needs after a workout, what they fail to recognise is the importance of micronutrients: vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
Micronutrients help deliver oxygen to your muscles, recovering from the oxidative stress that occurs with exercise, allow you to properly metabolize carbs, protein and fat and keep you healthy. Micronutrients are best eaten through real food and spread them out through the course of a day, but with food quality not being as high as in the past and our often not-great on-the-go diets, many people end up having micronutrients deficiency.
These can contribute to increased fatigue and muscle soreness, training dizziness, reduced performance/ plateauing in your training and slower injury recovery.
If you are experiencing any of the above, it may be beneficial looking into whether you have some deficiencies and supplementing where needed.
The Elixir Clinic
To help you recover more efficiently we have team up with The Elixir Clinic, a bespoke wellness medical clinic specializing in intravenous therapy to help clients feel rejuvenated while sustaining long-term wellbeing.
Did you know that the human body absorbs less than 10% of vitamins contained in pills?
With IV infusions, absorption is 100%: The Elixir Clinic has developed a wide range of services ranging from intravenous vitamin infusions, also known as VitaDrip® – containing vitamins, minerals and amino acids – to other wellness treatment, all tailored to specific needs and administered under authorization of a prescribing physician after a full health assessment.
All protocols have been thoroughly researched and developed by leading medical specialists to help you recover faster with targeted anti-inflammatory, recovery and energy vitamins and minerals and all Function360 clients will now enjoy a 15% off all The Elixir Clinic services!