Muscle recovery is key for peak physical performance. Without the proper recovery strategies in place, your body won’t be able to repair itself which could lead to a decrease in performance and increase in injury. When it comes to nailing your post-exercise strategy, nutrition is a very important piece of the puzzle. Here are our top three foods for recovery.
Muscle Fuel: 3 Recovery Foods for Athletes
Ultimately, when you eat the right foods for recovery, you can help to reduce muscle soreness, build muscle, replenish glycogen and even improve your immune system. In fact, some studies show consuming upwards of 20 grams of high-quality protein rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) combined with carbohydrate-rich foods in a ratio of 1:4 (protein to carbohydrates) stimulate muscle protein synthesis and glycogen restoration.1
Don’t leave your gains on the table, prime your body for future workouts with the right post-workout nutrition picks.
1. Protein: Whole Eggs
We’ve said it before, protein has a big effect on muscle repair. This macronutrient helps to rebuild damaged muscle fibers so your muscles can not only get stronger, but also help you recover for round two.
Whole eggs (yolks included) are a great choice because of their high protein and fat content, essential vitamins and minerals that all work together to support muscle growth. These golden orbs are considered to be one of the top protein powerhouse picks. According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating whole eggs after a workout elicits a 40 per cent greater muscle-building response than consuming egg whites alone. When combined with carbohydrate-rich foods, eggs are a top recovery food to include in your post-workout nutrition strategy.
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2. Carbohydrate: Sweet Potatoes
Since working out can deplete glycogen stores, it’s important to fuel up with quality carbs post-workout to rebuild those stores. Sweet potatoes are an optimal choice to help reduce muscle soreness, and as a bonus, they are also full of nutrients that help boost immunity after a workout.
Other high-quality carbs include blueberries (a fast-acting carb) and oatmeal.
3. Fat: Salmon
Studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids can help to increase muscle protein synthesis and reduce inflammation in the body. Both critical for athletes. Our favorite high-fat pick is salmon because it’s also high in protein and even potassium that can help to replace electrolytes typically lost during a workout.
Nuts and seeds are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein for vegans and vegetarians.
Muscle Fuel: Recovery Foods for Athletes
As you may be aware, everyone’s nutrition needs are different. The ultimate fate of these recovery foods is largely decided by genetics and various lifestyle factors such as the duration and intensity of your workout. But the bottom line is, the better you recover, the better you?ll perform.
For more great muscle recovery tips, check out, 10 Ways to Recover Your Muscles After a Brutal Workout.
1. Rasmussen BB, et al. An oral essential amino acid-carbohydrate supplement enhances muscle protein anabolism after resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2000;88:386-92.