Using Nutrition To Aid Recovery

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Nutrition & Exercise for Fat Loss

If there is one thing that differentiates the nutritional needs of triathletes compared to other types of sport, it is the frequency of sequential training sessions the average triathlete will “back up” for.

It is almost considered normal for an athlete training for triathlons to be out of bed at 4 or 5 in the morning for a 2 to 3 hour ride, back up at lunch for a swim and run set, followed by another 2-3 hour session in the evening.

Obviously, it is vitally important that the right types of foods are eaten immediately after each of these sessions to ensure optimal muscle glycogen replacement in preparation for the next session.

Compare some of these examples to see how your current recovery foods fare in terms of achieving all your own nutrition requirements.

It is well documented in the sports nutrition scientific literature that muscle glycogen replacement is significantly greater if high glycaemic index carbohydrate foods are consumed within thirty minutes of an intense session.

This means it is extremely important that a range of these food types are kept in the car, workout bag, office desk drawer and briefcase to be consumed immediately after each session. Keep in mind that is not enough to just rely on these foods.

You will also need to consume your regular meal, a balanced choice of low glycaemic index carbohydrate, protein and unsaturated fat, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

There is a wide range of high glycaemic index, high carbohydrate foods to choose from, ranging from the more expensive sports foods such as carbohydrate gels and protein/carbohydrate bars to basic cereal bars, sports drinks, fruit and white bread.

The absolute amount of carbohydrate each individual requires immediately post training will differ depending on the individuals overall goals eg if they are trying to lose body fat, gain lean body tissue or maintain current weight.

There is also some evidence to show that consuming some protein in addition to high glycaemic index carbohydrate will help muscle regeneration.

A general rule of thumb is to choose recovery foods that contain 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per serve and up to 20g of protein.

 Here are some ideal “recovery foods” and some ideas on how to use them:

Food Type Contains Cost Best for Advantages Dis-Advantages
Energy gels such GU, 20-30g of carbs $2.00-$3.00 Competition, Run leg. Sit lightly in gut Energy low after consumption
Eg GU Powergel, Final energy Caffeine boost Can cause stomach

upsets

Carbo Shots boost Relatively Expensive
Carbohydrate Bars 25-30g of carbs $3.00-$4.00 End long rides Sit lightly in gut Very chewy
Eg Powerbar “Filling”
Sports drink 30g carbs/600ml ~$3.00 Long rides Electrolyte Need large volumes
Electrolytes Competition replacement
Protein/Carbohydrate 30-40g carbs $4.00-$5.00 Long rides Filling
Bars 20-30g protein Good snack Slowly digested Very chewy
Eg Powerbar Protein +
Protein FX
Cereal bars 25-30g carbs 80c-$1.00 Day to day Easy to eat Not good for

fat loss

Eg Sustain/Fruit Twists recovery Cheap
White bread 30-40g carbs/ 20-50c Day to day Cheap Need to

prepare

+ jam 2 slices recovery Can add
Long rides protein fillings
(with protein
filling)
Liquid meal drinks 30-40g carbs ~$2.00 Day to day Good balance Relatively Expensive
Eg Sustagen/Up & Go 10-20g protein recovery
Pre AM ride
Pre competition

The material that appears on TriZone.com.au is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

TriZone.com.au do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site.

Articles on training-related topics represent the personal opinions of the author based on their own experience and research. TriZone.com.au provides these for your review and consideration, but does not endorse any particular recommendations of the authors.

Susie Burrell, Nutrition & Diet Advice, Nutrition Weight Loss Diet

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