Replacing lost fuel and fluids after exercise can be very important in your recovery and preparation for the next time you compete.
The body is most receptive to fluid, carbohydrate and other recovery nutrients straight after activity. However, recovery may be a challenge, having to juggle eating and drinking with other commitments after an event such as the coaches talk and warm down activities.
The focus of recovery is to get you well prepared for your next training session or competitive event. The aims are to:
- replace muscle and liver glycogen stores
- replace fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat
- repair the muscle damage caused by the exercise
The best fuel to use is carbohydrate foods, as these foods will replace the glycogen stores depleted during the activity. Recovery will be most effective during the first few hours after the exercise. This is even more important when you have another event in less than eight hours.
Strategies for speedy recovery
- Re-hydrate quickly after a long workout.
- Carbohydrate snacks that provide protein may help repair tissue.
- Juice, sports drinks and cordial provide carbohydrate as well as fluid for recovery, they may be useful if appetite is poor.
- Competition venues do not always provide suitable foods and drinks, so plan ahead and bring your own supplies.
- If the next session is less than 8 hours away, have a snack within 30-60 minutes.
- An intake of 50-100g of carbohydrate is adequate to start the refueling process.