One of the most asked questions is what to eat after a workout? Although you are making progress during the workout it is after that you can make the most gains. Working our muscles breaks them down, making tiny micro tears into the muscle fibers. Recovery is when our bodies repair the tears and make the muscles stronger. So the adage, what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger, is true. Think about the long, epic days you have had; you are always stronger after that. Now there is much to be said about having the proper recovery nutrition directly after these workouts. Studies show that the ideal window is within 45 minutes. I give my athletes a 30 minute window to get started on their recovery and I prefer they start with a recovery drink, here is why.
Imagine you have just returned from your Saturday brick workout, it was a 1.5 hour tempo ride with a 30 minute transition run off the bike. What is the first thing you want to do? Lay down and cry, right! After that, you will grab a quick drink. And what better than a recovery drink, hydrate and jumpstart the recovery process. Then a shower, we all hope, and calming kids, taking out the dog, posting your accomplishments to twitter, strava and facebook #brick #baconpower #crushed. Oh wait it has been an hour now. You better get that recovery food in. You see the window has closed, oh that’s right I had a recovery drink right after, I’m okay. Time to eat!
As far as recovery drinks, bars and what nots on the market, there are many. I will say that you can get a quick protein shake at most gas stations now, Muscle Milk is one of my favorite convenience store shakes due to its flavor. But my all-time favorite recovery drink mix is Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator. Why you ask? Well the Vega products dissolve nicely in water, taste pretty good and go down quick. Not to mention that they are plant based and free of gluten, soy, and any other bad things. Our bodies love this product as it assimilates quickly into the system. The taste is good enough that you can slam it after a hard race, rushing your system with nutrients. Then you can eat a cheeseburger. I don’t want you all to think I am a vegan, not that anything is wrong with that. Getting a 4 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein within 30 minutes after you stop will not only help you recover faster it will get you out on the field in a better more rested state. Then you can kick some butt the next day. http://vegasport.com/product/recovery-accelerator/
Another product that I have been recently reviewing is Enduro Packs. This is a vitamin and mineral supplement system designed specifically for endurance athletes. I will write more about this later but I feel that getting the right nutrients after training is paramount to success as an athlete.
So what should you eat after you have your drink and shower etc? Well a balanced meal is ideal, but who has he time to throw together a balanced meal when the kids are trying to get you to take them to the mall for a new puppy. I like to have some things at the ready when it is hard training time. Brown rice, or other whole grains, eggs, tortillas and leafy greens. With this mix you can pretty much make a great recovery meal quickly. One of my absolute favorite is Fried rice. You can put in anything you have laying around in the kitchen and even use left over Chinese food rice! Here is my recipe for Fried Rice:
What you need:
Cooked rice (brown is best but you can use leftover rice from takeout, or pilaf)
Baby bok choy, sliced
½ small onions diced (any color)
Carrot diced, or cut small enough to cook fast
Liquid aminos or soy sauce
Anything else you have lying around (peas, mushrooms, beans, sprouts, bok choy)
Pinch of cayenne, cumin and black pepper
- In a hot sauté pan put in a table spoon of oil followed by the onion and carrot.
- Let them get soft pushing them around the pan for a minute or two or until the onions are getting a bit brown.
- Add the bok choy and stir around, cooking until desired tenderness (I like mine almost raw). Now add everything else except the rice and aminos.
- Stir in the cold rice, and the Liquid Aminos (to taste)
- Throw some pepper in to taste shut off the pan and put in a bowl (optional)
- You can add almost anything to this dish, mushrooms, beans, sprouts, and tofu. I will slice brussel sprouts into 1/4s and sauté those with the onion.