A major part of ensuring that we are performing our best every time we train is our recovery. Recovery is the major pillar for ensuring we are constantly improving in our sport or in the gym and without adequate recovery, we end up in a cycle of overtraining.
Although sleep and relaxation plays an important role in ensuring we are recovered, nutrition can have a massive effect on the speed of our recovery. To simplify your recovery strategy, remembering the 4 R’s can help get you back onto the training field or gym feeling better than ever!
A major part of recovery is refuelling. Carbohydrates are the majority contributor to our fuel when we exercise at high intensities. Because of this, it is important to ensure that we are not only getting enough carbohydrates day to day, but also make sure we are replacing any carbohydrates lost. As a rule of thumb, you should try to eat more carbohydrates on days where you are doing harder or longer sessions, and taper down on carbohydrates when you are not training. For more specific advice on your carbohydrate requirements and how to periodise it, speak to a sports dietitian.
When you train, your muscles slowly start to tear and breakdown. In fact, it is the repairment of these damages that actually lead to the building of muscles. In order for your body to repair itself however, it needs enough protein. Getting enough protein is important for ensuring that we are able to repair our body in the fastest way possible. If we do not get enough protein, the recovery process will be limited. In addition to this, distributing your protein intake throughout the day will also increase the speed of recovery due to it signalling to your body to speed up muscle protein synthesis. For more tips on your specific protein requirements, check out our previous blog.
Replacing fluids lost through sweat is vital in making sure we are back to performing at our best. As little as 1-2% fluid loss can lead to decreases in performance. Therefore, making sure we are adequately rehydrating ourselves is important to ensure we are coming into every session in the best state possible. Adding a hypotonic solution such as Trainade will also ensure that you are rehydrating in the fastest way possible, while also replacing electrolytes lost through sweat. Aim to drink 1.5x the amount of fluid lost during your training session in the first few hours post training.
An often-overlooked area of recovery is fats, vitamins, and minerals. Although protein, carbohydrates, and fluid play major roles in our body’s ability to recover, they can be limited
by the quality of food we eat. If we eat high omega-3 sources of fat such as oily fish, chia seeds, or extra virgin olive oil, we can ensure that we are not putting ourselves in an unnecessarily high level of inflammation. In addition to this, getting plenty of fruits and vegetables in will ensure we have all the micronutrients and antioxidants required to recover as quickly as possible.