Fueling Physical and Mental Recovery with Smaller Meals and Nutrient Timing
There is a definitive link between food, mood, and physical recovery. Sports nutritionists often recommend precise timing of micro- and macro-nutrients following sporting events and workouts, since these meals can mean the difference between enhanced performance or minimal recovery. I recommend the following two recovery meals to my clients who are busy professionals and still maintain an athletic life. I also follow this course myself:
- The first meal replenishment “window of opportunity” should be consumed within the first 30 minutes following intense exercise. This smaller meal should have a high quality, readily assimilated protein source, and nutrient-dense (but lower fiber) carbohydrates, as well as essential fatty acids. A shake with 25 grams whey protein, frozen berries, almond butter, spinach, chia seeds is a great choice. Many college teams recommend a simpler version: chocolate milk.
- The second post workout meal should be consumed within 2.5-3 hours following exercise, and should be comprised of a “sit down” meal, including protein (salmon, tofu, bison, chicken); a nutrient-dense slow release carbohydrate (brown rice, sweet potatoes); vegetables (a rainbow assortment of raw or steamed veggies with olive oil); as well as antioxidants (fluids including green tea, tart cherry juice, pomegranate juice). The 5:3:1 ratio of carbohydrates:protein:fats will help with mental recovery as well.
These two recovery meals play a vital role not only in protein synthesis, but also in replenishing muscle glycogen stores, which help set the stage for providing ample energy to fuel the tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities!
Read more in “The Forever an Athlete Program”, available on Amazon Paperback and Kindle!