When it comes to recovery, whether it be following a hard day’s training or coming back from injury, correct fuelling is paramount. Despite their differences, fuelling to recover from injury; both soft tissue and bone, and fuelling to recover from everyday training, have some key similarities.
The main aim of training is to get stronger, and likewise with injuries. I often see time off due to injuries as an opportunity to work on weaknesses and with that, a chance to come back even stronger. In addition, with recovery we always aim to prevent further damage to your body when it is already under stress. This could be stress from general training or injury repair.
So how can fuelling help in these areas?
Firstly, both areas of recovery require adequate amounts of energy. Whether the goal is to build strength and muscle or to heal soft tissue and bone, energy is required. There is a common myth that injured athletes or those trying to get into race shape, should restrict intake, when this is the last thing athletes should be doing. Without the required energy the body is unable to rebuild itself and without these essential adaptations performance can be hindered, not to mention prolonging any existing injuries. With this in mind, recovery in fact begins with intake of carbohydrates during sessions, for example during a hard 1 hour bike session take 1 SiS GO Energy Gel or during longer endurance workouts of more than 2 hours aim for 30-60g of carbohydrates per hour. This not only helps athletes push harder creating potential for greater performance gains, but also starts the recovery process early as the body is not having to stress other areas to produce the required fuel for the session.
Secondly, recovery post session is a must! A post-workout snack or shake containing both protein and carbohydrate, for example a REGO Rapid Recovery shake, helps to kickstart the recovery process, whilst also replenishing energy lost during the workout, vital for the body’s healing process. This can also help counteract the effects that hard training can have on the immune system – I think we can all admit this is a necessity right now.
Where fuelling for recovery from training and injury differs is around supplementation. When coming back from injury taking supplements to promote recovery where obvious damage has occurred can help ensure healing time is as short as possible whilst also ensuring your body has the key nutrients needed to mend; for example taking Collagen, Vitamin D and Calcium can aid specific injury recovery. These can also be taken to help prevent injury during high training loads. As an athlete, requirements for vitamins and minerals are greater than the average population.
So to conclude, ensure you give the same attention to fuelling your recovery as you would your training; your body, mind and performance will thank you.