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Monday, July 22, 2013

Eating for Recovery

Eating for Recovery:

When I think of recovery I think of the 3 R’s. Repair damaged tissue, Reduce inflammation, and Restock glycogen stores. Nutrition is a curial part of any sport and in daily life. With more research available it is becoming easier for the general public to adopt complex strategies and eat like a pro.

Food is comprised of three macronutrients Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate. Conveniently each of these nutrients covers one of the 3 R’s. The main function of Protein is to repair tissue. The main function of fat is energy storage and it is also an anti-inflammatory.  The main function of carbohydrate is energy and it is the best macronutrient to restock glycogen. For my training in order to hit my target 3 R’s and manage macronutrients I follow Joe Feril’s 5 phase eating system.

Phase 1: Eating before exercise:

The goal of this phase is to provide adequate fuel for activity. Top up all muscle energy stores. So you are not starting on an empty tank, which can decrease performance and increase recovery time.

This phase begins up to 2 hours prior to exercise. Here is where you want to take in some moderate and higher glycemic index carbohydrates. Depending on your experience with digestion this can be a “meal” but also just a snack. 400 calories is sufficient. A GORP bar makes a perfect pre workout snack!!

Phase 2: Eating during exercise:
During exercise water is the only substance which needs to be consumed for any activity lasting less then 60-90 minutes. Beyond 60-90 minutes is when you can start to add in very high glycemic foods, such as fruits, and sports gels to keep that fast fuel coming to the body to allow it to perform at a higher intensity.  It should be noted that liquids will always be absorbed quicker then solids. 

Phase 3: Immediately following exercise:
Immediately following activity your body’s muscles are more then 10x more absorbent to glycogen then any other time in the day. This is not a free pass to chow down an entire birthday cake but it is a great time for another GORP bar because it has a solid amount of carbohydrates along with much needed protein for tissue repair.

Phase4:  As long as the workout lasted:
Continue to eat portions of moderate to higher glycemic index foods after activity.  If it was a 3 hr workout you may have difficulty getting in all that food in one sitting. So in this example you would continue to restock glycogen for up to 3hrs post exercise.  You should aim for 4 cal/lb body mass.

Phase 5: The rest of your day:

The rest of the day is most likely made up of low intensity activity such work, cutting the grass, vacuuming etc. The goal of this stage is to eat lower glycimc foods to prevent your body from storing excess energy as fat. Focus on getting adequate protein and the remainder of healthy fats.

And there you have it a 5 phase eating system to help you recover better, so that you can get the best workout today and be ready to go for tomorrow.

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