Today’s post comes courtesy of our resident Nutritionist Helen Phadnis. Helen is qualified up to the eyeballs when it comes to food and has helped me greatly with my blood sugar control being a type 1 diabetic. She’s skilled in helping athletes and couch potatoes alike achieve their nutrition goals. For anyone who’d like to contact her email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
She’s going to be doing a regular feature or lovely healthy recipes to help us all get lean and mean! Watch out for the first recipe which we’ll be publishing next week. In her first post today she’s come up with 5 top tips How To Recover Better From Training. Helping you to avoid injury in the first place. Putting myself out of business again! Over to Helen…
Avoid Injury With Nutrition Recovery Tips
A typical athlete will stop at nothing to reach their goals. Keep training, push harder, push, push. Until something breaks. And everything grinds to a halt. As a sports nutritionist this is the point at which I often meet a client for the first time. The point at which over-reaching without adequate nutrition and recovery turns into over-training. A ‘nutrition MOT’ can help highlight where things may have been going wrong.
Here are some nutrition questions to ask yourself if you have suffered from a sports injury recently, along with some healthy eating and recovery nutrition tips, and a tasty recipe for your post-training dinner this evening!
1. Are You Eating Enough?
Listen to your body. It could be telling you you’re undernourished:
- Do you often have a sore throat and suffer from coughs and colds?
- Do you get mouth ulcers?
- Are you feeling tired all the time?
- Are your periods irregular or absent?
All of these are signs you’re pushing your body too hard to survive off too little calories and nutrients. A look at the quality, quantity and timing of your nutrition intake by a sports dietitian or sports nutritionist could help reverse these symptoms of over-training.
Remember athletes require more vitamins than those who do not train hard due to the free radicals released during exercise. Make sure you’re reaching your target of at least 7 portions of fruit and vegetables a day (a portion is a handful or 80g).
TIP: An evening fruit smoothie can help you catch up on your fruit and veg if you have not met your target during the day, as well as being a healthy way to catch up on your calories if you’ve had a busy day and not eaten enough. Just blitz up: 1/2 banana, one handful of frozen berries, 1tbsp yoghurt, 1tsp flaxseeds and 150ml milk.
2. Do You Eat Immediately After Training?
When protein is eaten together with carbs this leads to net protein balance after exercise (i.e. muscle growth and repair). 20g protein is the optimal amount to consume immediately after exercise in your ‘recovery window’, which is up to 30minutes post exercise. During this time blood flow to the muscles helps delivery of carbohydrates to top up glycogen stores, and amino-acids from protein to help grow and repair muscles.
TIP: Chocolate milk contains the best ratio of carbohydrates to protein for muscle recovery. No specialist recovery shake necessary, supermarket own brand works just as well, as do other flavours!
3. Are you trying to lose weight While Training?
Losing weight whilst training can lead to reduced performance and potential injury. When people lose weight slowly (0.7% body weight loss/month) there is less of a negative affect on performance than when losing weight quickly (1.4% weight loss in a month). Increasing protein during these times of reducing calories and weight loss will maintain muscle mass, and if weight loss is very gradual muscle gain can be seen. Muscle growth and repair continues 24hrs post workout but our bodies are unable to process any more than 20g protein at a time.
TIP: Aim for about 20g protein five times a day. This equates to 1 high protein yoghurt (Arla), a chicken breast, a fillet of fish, ½ block of tofu, 6 prawns, 1tin of beans, or 3 eggs.
4. Do you suffer from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?
This can be a sign of inflammation and inadequate recovery post exercise. Omega-3 fats can help to ease inflammation in the body. These can be found in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, fresh tuna and trout, as well as rapeseed oil, nuts and seeds.
TIP: Salmon, as well as other oily fish, makes a great anti-inflammatory dinner to have after a heavy training session.
5. Do you train on an empty stomach?
This is like trying to drive a car without topping up regularly with fuel, and is particularly important for people training more than once a day. If you do not eat for more than 2 hours before training you will deplete your muscle carbohydrate stores (glycogen), and end up with ‘dead legs’ when you’re muscle simply don’t have the energy to respond.
TIP: Eat little and often: 5-6 regularly spaced meals and snacks will keep your energy supplies topped up even if you’re training more than once a day. Be like a Hobbit, and enjoy your second breakfast every day!
Good luck with your top tips. Here’s the link to my yummy Salmon with Noodles to help you achieve a better recovery.
Thanks to Helen for that great piece. I hope you find it aids your recovery. I hope it doesn’t work too well or we won’t have any business left! As I mentioned at the top of the post if you’d like to pick Helen’s brains for her expertise you can contact her via email@example.com.