Science in Sport performance nutritionist, Ted Munson, shares the science behind your post training protein
When in training for a triathlon, it’s essential to get your nutrition right in the 30-minutes after exercise, so you can feel the benefits in your next session.
Your body will recover in time naturally after exercise, but speed is of the essence when looking to maximise the impact of your workout, in order to rebuild and recover.
WHY IS THE 30-MINUTE WINDOW SO EFFECTIVE?
Within the 30-minute window post-exercise, your metabolic rate stays high, increasing the ability for your body to repair and rebuild damaged muscle fibres through protein synthesis, which aids crucial recovery for fatigued muscles.
During exercise, your muscles break down and tear. Refuelling with protein high in amino acids, particularly leucine which stimulates protein synthesis, switches the process of muscle synthesis back to rebuild and repair muscle fibres. This will help you to continue to build your strength, power and speed to reach your optimum performance.
Consuming protein post-exercise will allow you to recover, rebuild and adapt to become stronger, tolerate load better or increase power output.
Straight after exercise, whether this is a swimming session, ride or cycle, it is essential to replenish carbohydrate stores, provide protein for your muscles to rebuild and stay hydrated. High quality protein, which is sources high in protein, can be consumed through both regular foods such as chicken and salmon or sports nutrition products.
The body can only metabolise 20-25g of protein so you should aim to take on protein little and often throughout the day. Endurance events can take their toll on the body so it is essential to plan your fuelling strategy:
When it comes to replenishing lost nutrients it’s important to take on fast digesting carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes and minerals to aid hydration. Try eating peanut butter with a banana and rice cakes. Mixed nut butter is high in protein and essential fats, while the bananas and rice cakes will provide carbohydrate to restore your energy.
If you’re looking for a convenient product SiS REGO Rapid Recovery provides a quick recovery formula to increase the rapid replenishment of your glycogen stores while rebuilding muscle fibres to allow you to train and prepare properly for your next session.
Aim to consume an electrolyte drink to replace the fluid and salts lost through sweat. After moderate to high intensity exercise, aim to drink 150 per cent of the fluid volume lost during training.
To determine sweat loss, a practical and valid assessment tool is to weigh yourself before and after exercise. Each kilogram of weight loss indicates 1 litre of fluid loss. Adding the amount of fluid consumed during exercise will give you the total fluid loss.
DINE LIKE A KING
Look to consume high quality meat rich in protein. A portion of salmon will allow you to take on 20-25g of protein, while a serving of vegetables will provide a blend of nutrients, to replenish vitamin and mineral levels. Ensure you have a range of vegetables from different colour groups on your plate.
Carrots and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and C while greens like broccoli provide an essential source of vitamin K and potassium.
BIG UP BREAKFAST
It’s important to keep your carbohydrate levels up to replace lost glycogen stores, so take on a steady intake of protein the day after a big workout. Your breakfast should contain a good source of protein because it may have been eight hours since you last consumed a meal. The amount of carbohydrate you take on will depend on the intensity of your workout. The higher the intensity rate requires you to consume more carbohydrates.
Granola and rolled oats topped with Greek yogurt is a quick and convenient meal option to replace your energy stores. Oats are high in carbohydrate, and are slow digesting, while a serving of fruit will help to boost your immune system, and yoghurt will add protein to your diet.
A light lunch consisting of a chicken breast served with sweet potatoes and broccoli will maintain a steady release of protein, preparing you for any post work training sessions. You can always cook the night before and enjoy as a cold chicken and potato salad.
First published in Triathlon Plus Magazine, Winter 2016