After an intense workout your muscles are not only starved for protein but sore as well – voicing their opinion about that extra set. And looking at the week ahead, you have some pretty intense lifting sessions scheduled. To alleviate the pain and time spent recovering, fill your tank up with the right pro-recovery foods. You don’t want to delay any lifting efforts when you’re trying to hit your fitness goals.
Post-workout, you’re on autopilot to grab a protein shake. But protein powder alone doesn’t always provide the right nutrition prescription, especially for aching muscles. The solution: add blueberries. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, helping prevent free radical damage to your muscles from a workout. It was also reported by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that muscle recovery was expedited after ingestion of a blueberry shake pre- and post-workout
There are several reasons why water is important, but for our concerns, it keeps us hydrated and going during strenuous workouts. If the body isn’t properly hydrated pre- and intra-workout, cramps, fatigue, and dizziness can hit hard, ultimately prolonging the recovery time. It’s recommended to drink seven to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes, and if you’re one to work up a serious sweat, you should be drinking more.
Muscle cramps are unexpected involuntary contractions that can target several muscles and they’re more than likely caused by a micronutrient deficiency like potassium. Potassium can easily be lost through excessive sweating and dehydration. The recommended Adequate Intake (AI) for potassium in 4.7 grams per day. Potassium can be easily found in protein-rich foods and leafy greens; consumption of these foods should be seen as a preventative measure for muscle cramps
You lift heavy objects and put them down, which can cause a significant amount of stress on the body – potentially leading to inflammation. The next time you’re scheduled for a serious lifting session, down a glass of tart cherry juice before and after a workout. The Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition. indicated that tart cherry juice can decrease muscle soreness and inflammation.
Water and micronutrients have a role in the recovery process, but protein takes the lead. You should know by now to consume protein post-workout, either in the form of a shake or a meal. Protein helps in the repair of workout-induced damage to muscle fibers, supports training-prompted adaptations in muscle fibers, and refuels energy stores. It’s recommended to consume 1.25 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of targeted body weight.
Salmon is rich in fish oil or what is better known as omega-3 fatty acids. Of the omega-3s are eicosapentaenonic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are involved in several anti-inflammatory processes. In those processes, EPA and DHA give rise to anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, which are signaling molecules that are made by oxidized fatty acids. They play a large role in reducing inflammation and decreasing production of inflammatory cytokines that are halted by fatty acids.
Post-workout your glycogen stores are tapped out, hungry for fast-digesting carbs. Consuming fast-digesting carbs such as any type of white starch or fruit will drive an insulin spike and refuel your glycogen stores. The prime window to intake fast-digesting carbs is 10 to 15 minutes post-workout.
BY COURTNEY ANAYA, CPT