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Eating for Recovery

Athlete Scenario

The day after a hard Cross Country practice, my legs feel heavy, I feel sluggish,
and I’m often sore even if I didn’t have a resistance training session the
day before. My performance at practice suffers because I’m unable to put
forth 100%. I usually drink water and sometimes a sports drink during
practice and games, but afterward I don’t usually feel like eating much.
What can I do so I have more energy at practice and feel better about
my performance?

The Goals of Recovery Nutrition Include

• Restore fl uid and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) lost in sweat; weigh
before and after exercise and replenish what was lost

• Replace muscle fuel (carbohydrate) utilized during practice

• Provide protein to aid in repair of damaged muscle tissue and to stimulate
development of new tissue

• Begin nutrition recovery with a snack or meal within 15-60 minutes following
practice or competition

Rehydration Fluids

• Carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink to replenish fl uids and electrolytes
lost in sweat
Recovery Snack Ideas

• Smoothie made with yogurt and frozen berries

• Sports drink (carbohydrate, electrolyte, fl uid) + sport bar
(carbohydrate, protein)

• Graham crackers with peanut butter + low-fat chocolate milk + banana
Recovery Meal Ideas

• Whole wheat pita sandwich with turkey and veggies + pretzels + low-fat milk

• Rice bowl with beans, cheese, salsa, avocado + whole grain tortilla chips or
whole wheat tortilla

• Stir fry with lean steak, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots + brown rice

Tips to Take With You

1. If you have 2 training sessions per day or
your next training session is within 8
hours, recovery nutrition is crucial

2. If you do not have an appetite following
a training session, choose liquid foods
that meet your recovery goals

3. Along with carbohydrate, fluid, and
electrolytes, protein is an important part
of recovery, particularly if you participate
in high intensity training sessions that
damage muscle tissue (resistance training,
interval sessions, etc.)

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