As training load increases so does the risk of over training and injury, therefore prevention through proper warm-up, cool-down and rest become increasingly important. In addition proper warm-up, cool-down and rest proper recovery nutrition can help to prevent these issues. Think of recovery as having 4 components; refueling, rehydrating, repairing, and revitalizing.



When athletes think of refueling the first thing that should come to mind are carbohydrates. Carbohydrate use increases as workouts become longer, more intense, or if you have multiple workouts a day. Depletion of carbohydrates and glycogen stores leads to fatigue, therefor replenishment is crucial to recovery. Athletes should consume a meal containing between 1-1.5 grams of carb per kilogram body weight soon after a workout. The important thing to focus on is keeping the ratio of protein to carbohydrate a 1:4 ratio while keeping the fat low. For exceptionally long and hard workout athletes may need to have a second or third recovery meal, eaten every 1-2 hours for 4 hours.



The objective of rehydration is to replace fluid loss and electrolytes. Additional carbohydrates can also be incorporated as well. Weighing oneself before and after a workout is important in determining how much to drink because of the many factors influencing sweat rates. Generally speaking, for each pound of weight lost during exercise you should drink 16-24 oz of water or sports drink with in 1-3 hours after the workout.



Repairing muscle requires protein, but the timing, amount, and type of protein are also important considerations. Studies show that consuming protein, more specifically, leucine (a branched chain amino acid), soon after exercise stimulates protein synthesis. The amount of protein needed to trigger this reaction is between 20-25 grams of protein. Dairy sources of protein such as whey and casein show benefits while remaining affordable because these protein include branched chain amino acids. In addition, because muscle repair takes place over 24-48 hours it is more beneficial to consume protein in burst of 20-25 grams rather than all at once.



I prefer to see athletes eat whole, foods for their recovery meals for a couple reasons. Chocolate milk is a great example. First, whole foods function perfectly fine as recovery meals. With proper guidance athletes can learn how to make a proper recovery meal. Second, recovery meals made from whole foods can function as family meals as well. Studies show that families who eat meals together typically have better relationships as well as lower BMIs. Third, it is not just about carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Whole foods provide other benefits such as photochemical and antioxidants. However, if an athletes prefers a recovery shake or supplement there are many effective products available. It really depends on what is appropriate for the individual athlete.


In short, recovery meals should be eaten soon after a workout, have a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4:1, rehydrate with 16-24 oz fluids or sports drink for each pound sweat loss, eat protein through out the day and not all at once, and whole food can function as recovery meals. It is important to note that there is not one meal that works the best all athletes. Each athletes will have their own individual nutrient needs and diet plan. The best way to streamline this trial and error period is to work with a registered dietitian to tailor you diet plan to fit your athletic needs.


Hawaiian Pasta Primavera



2 cups cooked pasta

1 can (15.9 oz) pineapple, save the juice

1/2 cup sliced onion and coined carrots

1 cup copped celery, black beans, and cubed, cooked ham

*I like to substitute shrimp for the beans and ham every now and then

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp salt

All the cilantro you can handle, chopped



Heat oil in a skillet on medium high to high heat.  When oil is hot add carrots and ham.  Heat for 1-2 min.  Add onions, celery, beans, and half of the pineapple.  Heat for another 2 minutes.  Add in the pasta and additional spices.  Heat for another 5 minutes.  Stir as needed.  Serve with the other half of the pineapples and cilantro.

*You may need to cook in two batches

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