Friday, 25 May 2012

Recovery Part 1: Nutrition

Before I begin.... The information I am presenting here is mostly a combination of what I have learned from the amazing nutritionist out at PISCE in Victoria and what I have learned from reading the section on nutrition in "Rowing Faster".
I have also taken a Nutrition course at Uvic, and some of the more general things (such as the actual food ideas themselves) I have learned from other athletes.
I will hopefully be doing a series of recovery posts and am starting with nutrition because it has helped my training. By changing even a few things about how and when I fuel my body it has enabled me to get so much more out of my training sessions. Here goes....

Pre-exercise and During Exercise Nutrition:

How ironic that recovery nutrition actually begins before you even start your workout. According to the Nutrition section in "Rowing Faster", it can be very beneficial to eat a small (~ 100kcal) snack shortly before your training session and then every 30-45min throughout. The ideal ratio is about 25kcal of protein and 75kcal CHO (Carbohydrates). This improves the muscle protein balance and overtime helps prevent muscle mass losses. Keep in mind, feeding during a training session is meant for longer sessions ( in and around 1.5 hours or longer). Sometimes I will utilize it for slightly shorter sessions as well, say for example if we are doing two really intense 2k tt's I will have a gel or a couple of chomps (sports energy chews) after the warmup and will definitely feel the benefit by the time the second 2k comes around.  There are many products available for this type of fueling. There are "GU" gels, "Power Bar" gels, "Cliff" gels etc. These companies also usually sell some form of gummies that you can take if you aren't a huge fan of gels. Most of these products don't contain much protein, but I find they are quite useful. The only setback is the cost, so I have composed a small list of things I have taken in the boat or have seen other athletes take in the boat:
1. dates
2. Those fruit to go bars.... but the thick ones (I usually take 1/2 a bar after 45minutes of training)
3. a couple almonds and a date or a couple almonds and a couple pieces of dried fruit
4. I once took a chewy dip granola bar...but that didn't sit too well. My cupboards were empty and I was desperate.
Things to keep in mind:
It will take about 15 minutes for the CHO's to be digested and useful. Take them 15 minutes before you want them to work. Also, don't try something like this for the first time during a really important training session. It is important to play around and see what sits well and makes you feel good and energized. Finally, it is best to keep it simple and quick. Pulling out a full scale picnic in the middle of the training session most likely won't impress your coach or teammates.

*Also......ELECTROLYTE DRINKS! these are extremely underrated, especially if you are a salty sweater. When you sweat you also lose salt and other ions. These are important because they help the water you take in stay in your bloodstream. If the brain notices that the concentration of salt and other ions is too high in the bloodstream, it will make you feel thirsty to maintain the proper balance of ions to water molecules. This is all part of something called homeostasis. Long story short, it is important to replenish electrolytes especially during activities that are longer than an hour, on really hot days, and if you are a salty sweater.

Post Exercise Nutrition
Unfortunately this section will have to wait for another day, as my bedtime is fast approaching. As we all know, sleep is another very important part of recovery.

I hope that someone finds some use out of this.

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