If you are doing double workouts (within 6 hours) or competing in a tournament situation, you need to rapidly refuel to get ready for the next bout of exercise. A survey of 263 endurance athletes indicates they understand the importance of recovery after a hard workout, but they dont know what to eat. They believe protein is the key to recovery. Wrong. Carbohydrate should really be the fundamental source of recovery fuel. Or better yet, a foundation of carbs with a little protein, such as chocolate milk. A survey of exhausted cyclists who were given a choice of recovery drinks indicated they all enjoyedand tolerated wellthe chocolate and vanilla milks, more so than water, sports drink or watery chocolate drink. Chocolate milk is familiar, readily availableand tastes good! If you are not lactose-intolerant, give it a try.
How long do your muscles need to recover? A study with elite soccer players suggests they needed five days for sprinting ability to return to pre-game level. That's four days longer than most athletes allow... Do not underestimate the power of rest in a recovery program.
Rremember: food is fuel. As an athlete, you shouldn't just eat,you should be sure to eat right!
Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD