When it comes to improving your fitness and performance, many of us focus solely on training while neglecting the other half of the equation; nutrition. So this week, as a continuation from last week’s post, we will talk about post-workout nutrition.
After your training, it is important to replenish the nutrients lost during the session and there are 2R’s that you should remember: Refuel and Repair.
Refuel: Carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen stores which is lost during the session
Repair: Protein to repair and build muscles, while reducing the soreness in your muscles
Our bodies store carbohydrates in our muscles and liver as 'glycogen'. They are the preferred choice of fuel during workout as they are easily accessible. Hence, it is a good idea to consume high-quality carbohydrate to restore some energy in the body again, so that you won't feel fatigue throughout the day, especially if there is another training session later in the same day (Triathletes, I am looking at you).
Examples of carbohydrate food sources:
We put ourselves under physical stress during training, where our muscle fibers are damaged to a certain extent (post-workout sore, anyone?). When sufficient protein is consumed, its building blocks called amino acids will kick start the muscle rebuilding and repairing process. It is during this time where we adapt and get stronger. Post-workout protein is good for recovery of the muscles and lack of it may lead to inflammation and increase the prevalence of injury.
Examples of protein food sources:
As some people might experience a loss of appetite after training, liquid forms of recovery can be ingested. Examples of these liquids are low fat milk or flavoured milk, fruit smoothies, sports drinks with carbohydrate, protein and electrolytes.
For people who just don't have the time to spare and are running off to work or school after practice and will only be able to eat a full meal after a few hours, eat some small snacks after your training to keep you alert and prevent muscle fatigue before you eat your actual meal. Choices containing a combination of carbohydrates and protein like a sandwich with meat and salad filling, sports bars/recovery bars, flavoured milk, or even eating boiled eggs or some almond and pistachio with a sweet potato can be good choices.
Nutrition is just as important as your training session, so there is no reason to neglect them. Each individual is unique, so do explore to see which foods work best for you. Always prioritise whole unprocessed food and remember 'you are what you eat'. Your body will thank you in the long run (and long swim too).
Tell us: What do you eat after your squad training sessions? What have you tried and tested?
By: MySwim's Passionate Coach Wing Yee, who teaches Learn To Swim and Stroke Correction. She also has a Bachelors degree in Food Science with Nutrition, and is currently pursuing her Masters.