Workout Recovery… and It Starts When?
Don’t worry, this isn’t the “Drink chocolate milk post-workout for an awesome recovery!” campaign. Rather, this piece is to get you thinking about your recovery nutrition and hydration on a broader level.
Some Qs for you: Are you getting surprisingly sore after your workouts? If you’re in serious training mode, is your body barely handling the training load? Are your muscles feeling sluggish and heavy as molasses when you get ready to start your next workout? Are you constantly feeling drained in the hours post-workout and need caffeine and/or sugar for energy boosts?
If you answered ‘yes’, ‘maybe’, or ‘I think so’ to any of the aforementioned questions, then know this: Your workout recovery is affected by what you consume before your workout even begins. In other words, there really is no disconnect between pre- and post-workout.
Nope, there’s no magical food to fight muscle soreness or tightness. There’s not a single diet that reigns supreme for all athletes to recover fast. Food is synergistic. Unprocessed foods have countless properties and compounds that influence your ability to recover well. Combined with adequate energy intake, quality and variety are essential for better recoveries. Sure, there are dietary and sport supplements that can positively affect your body’s ability to bounce back, but we get much more bang for our buck by having better all around daily nutrition. So, instead of putting a primary focus on chocolate milk or engineered protein shakes in your post-workout window, step back and give some attention to your nutrition patterns as a whole.
You may be surprised that a few nutrition tweaks can make for a better Athlete Self and you can Suffer Better.
-Dina Griffin, MS, RDN, CSSD, CISSN
Sport Dietitian / Registered Dietitian