After a tough workout, it’s important to prioritize your recovery. To make sure you crush your next workout, be sure to properly fuel after each session. But with so much information out there, it can be hard to determine what’s best. Here are the four R’s to help guide you in performing your best:
- REHYDRATE. When exercising, your body losses fluids and electrolytes through sweat. Drinking water or a sports drink with electrolytes can help replenish these loses. The amount of liquids and electrolytes used during training varies from person to person and between sport styles, so experimenting with water and electrolyte mixes may help you find what works best for your body.
- REFUEL. During exercise, the body uses its stored carbohydrates to create energy. It’s important to replenish the carbs you burn so your body has energy to recover and perform in your next training session or game. Protein is usually viewed as being the most important, but carbs are necessary for building and maintaining muscle, too.
- REPAIR. Exercise has been shown to make muscles more sensitive to nutrient uptake, so researchers recommend consuming protein within two hours of your workout. It’s recommended that athletes consume 20-40 grams of high quality protein within two hours of resistance training to optimize muscle protein synthesis.Additionally, antioxidants, such as those found in beet and tart cherry juice, can help repair muscle.
- REST. The most important part of recovery is sleep. Researchers recommend at least 8 hours of sleep for optimal recovery and performance. Studies have shown that consuming 40-48 grams of casein, found in dairy products like milk, yogurt, butter, cheese, and ice cream, 30 minutes before sleep has been linked to improved exercise recovery. Ashwagandha supplementation has also been shown to improve sleep quality.
These are very general guidelines, and your age, weight, and workout style can all influence the best way to fuel after a workout.
Some of my favorite post workout snacks
Protein shake and a banana
Greek yogurt with berries
Toast with cottage cheese and egg
Bonilla, D. A., Pérez-Idárraga, A., Odriozola-Martínez, A., & Kreider, R. B. (2020). The 4R's Framework of Nutritional Strategies for Post-Exercise Recovery: A Review with Emphasis on New Generation of Carbohydrates. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(1), 103. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010103