Nutrition also plays a huge role, not only in your performance during the activity but also in how you recover. I am often asked about pre and post exercise nutrition and in general my response is to eat a clean, healthy, nutrition packed meal and of course water. But I'm no nutritionist and therefore can't give advise aside from my own general knowledge about this topic in five minutes following a class. I leave that to the experts. This article sums it up pretty well. It confirmed and provided me with some great ideas to add to my routine. I hope you find it useful as well.
Leave a comment with some of your favorite high-protein meals.
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5 High-Protein Foods for Optimal Recovery
By Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD • For Active.com
You’re done with your run, bike or swim or maybe your CrossFit WOD, and you’re so glad to chillax for the rest of the day.
But wait. Your workout isn’t really over until you address the three Rs of recovery: Rehydrate, Refuel and Rebuild.
Drinking fluids to replace what you lost during your workout in sweat (rehydrating) is as essential as eating carbs to replace muscle glycogen stores that you torched (refueling).
But while many athletes guzzle sports drinks to recover, or eat a carbohydrate-rich snack, they often forget about the protein necessary to rebuild broken down muscle fibers. Without adequate protein, your muscles will take longer to recover, and some studies suggest you’ll be more likely to suffer from burnout and symptoms of overtraining.
While strength athletes generally consume enough protein, endurance athletes, ball players and many others forget that protein is as important as carbs and fluids for recovery.
Rebuilding: How Much Protein is Enough?
A good rule of thumb for protein requirements: consume 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. In addition, experts recommend 15 to 25 grams of high-quality protein within the first few hours after working out.
To help, here are five top protein-rich foods for optimal recovery. These foods focus on the type of high-quality protein that has been linked to strength gains.
Nonfat or Lowfat Greek Yogurt (8 oz): 22 to 24 grams protein. Greek yogurt is a must-have in most athletes’ diets because it provides more protein per calorie than most other foods.
In addition, it provides a combination of casein and whey protein, and because most of the lactose in yogurt is removed, it’s still a viable option for most people who are lactose intolerant.
Flavored varieties of Greek yogurt contain more carbs per serving (from added sugars), so stick with plain or vanilla, and add berries or other fruit to get more antioxidant-rich, lower-calorie carbohydrate sources.
Low-fat Chocolate Milk (8 oz): 8 grams protein. Low-fat chocolate milk provides a 3 to 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, so it helps to replace glycogen while providing the essential amino acids your muscles need to recover.
Research suggests that chocolate milk works just as well as other sports drinks for enhancing recovery among endurance athletes. Chocolate milk provides a blend of both whey and casein proteins, which may provide advantages versus foods with a single-source of protein.
Cottage Cheese (8 oz): 28 grams protein. Non-fat cottage cheese packs in more protein per calorie than virtually any other food, making it a great option for athletes concerned about weight or trying to lean out for a competition.
Cottage cheese is one of the most naturally-rich sources of the muscle-building amino acid, leucine. For example, a cup of cottage cheese packs in 2.9 grams leucine compared to 1.4 grams in yogurt and .3 grams in an egg. The essential amino acid is considered the “limiting” factor for muscle gains and it’s why many protein supplements contain added leucine.
Eggs (1 medium): 6 grams protein. As the gold standard for protein, eggs are on the must-eat list of most amateur and professional athletes.
A medium egg has just over 6 grams of protein of the highest biological value—meaning it’s complete with all amino acids in the most digestible form.
Eggs also contain 13 other vitamins and minerals—virtually everything you need with the exception of vitamin C.
Pistachios (1 oz/49 pistachios): 6 grams protein. Pistachios make a nutritious and easy on-the-go-recovery choice. These flavorful green nuts provide antioxidants that may speed recovery, as well as potassium and sodium, two electrolytes lost in sweat.
A serving of roasted and salted pistachios contains a whopping 310 mg potassium and 160 mg sodium, compared to 35 mg potassium and 95 mg sodium found in popular sports drinks.
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