Effective recovery is crucial when you are training regularly. If you are at a tournament or are training within 8 hours you should aim to have a carbohydrate rich food or drink within 60 minutes as the muscle can store carbohydrate as glycogen more efficiently during this time.
You should aim for 1.0 – 1.2g carbohydrate per kg body weight. If you weight 60 kg this equated to 60 – 72 g carbohydrate. This amount should be consumed within 60 minutes and a normal meal should be eaten within the following 2 hours. Your recovery snack or drink also needs to contain some protein to facilitate the repair, growth and development of muscle tissue. Ideally the snack should provide approximately10-20g protein.
If you have longer than 24 hours between sessions, your focus should be on rehydration and eating a healthy balanced meal containing some carbohydrate, protein and plenty of vegetables within 2 hours of finishing.
The following are examples of recovery snacks all providing 50g carbohydrate. They can be combined with each other for variety and to increase the amount of carbohydrate provided. For example 500ml fruit juice and one English muffin and jam provides 75g carbohydrate. Milk or yoghurt based drinks are an excellent way of consuming protein after training.
Recovery snacks/drinks providing approx. 50g carbohydrate and 10-20g protein include:
After exercise the fluid required to replaces losses should ideally be consumed within 2 hours to ensure that optimal hydration is achieved as soon as possible in case a further event is imminent. Start rehydrating by consuming 400 – 600ml of fluid over a two hour period immediately after finishing.
The post exercise rehydration drink should contain carbohydrate to help replace glycogen stores and sodium to help conserve water and encourage the drive to drink (i.e. an isotonic or hypertonic sports drink).