The 4 R’s of Recovery Nutrition
By: Megan Mukenge
Recovery nutrition is the food you put into your body to help your working muscles recover from the workout you just did and prepare for the next workout. It starts immediately after practice, workouts or games and typically continues over the course of 4-6 hours. What you eat is very important and should be incorporated into any exercise or workout program you have. Here are a few reasons why recovery nutrition is important:
- Helps you repair and refuel your body
- Helps you build and repair muscles and maximize athletic performance
- Supports immune function
What makes a good post-workout snack or meal? The answer is quite simple if you keep these 4 R’s in mind, which can be adapted to accommodate various diet preferences.
- REFUEL – Refuel with carbohydrates to give your body the energy it needs to recover and adapt to the training session. Some examples include breads, oats, rice, or starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes.
- REBUILD – Rebuild with protein to help repair damaged muscles and build new muscles. Some example include animal meats, eggs, dairy products, or protein powder.
- REHYDRATE – Rehydrate with fluids to help replenish the fluids and electrolytes lost as sweat. Some examples include water, milk, or low-calorie electrolyte containing sports drinks.
- REVITALIZE – Revitalize with nutrient rich foods loaded with vitamins and minerals to help reinforce your immune system. Some examples include vegetables and fruits.
Below are a few examples of some recovery nutrition snacks or meals to consider:
- Apples with peanut butter
- Chocolate milk
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
- Protein recovery shake with fruits
- Greek yogurt parfait with granola and berries
- Turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes
- Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables
- Veggie omelet on wheat bread
The possibilities are endless if you keep the 4 R’s in mind. But you want to make sure you are selecting foods that your body can tolerate well.