What you do in your After can make the difference in the way you feel and perform. Top athletes and trainers know refueling is essential after a tough workout and key to preparing for the next challenge whether you are on the race course, in the pool or on the field, and, chocolate milk has what it takes to help athletes recover.
Ready. Set. Refuel. Tips to make your AFTER count and maximize post workout recovery.
Nick Folker, USA Swimming Trainer and Director of Aquatic Performance at the University of California, Berkeley shares some tips for recovery after your next workout.
Replenish Your Body
A hard workout can leave your body depleted, and running on empty. The correct post-workout nutrition can help replace what you’ve lost, and help your body rebuild for the next workout. Within a 20-minute to two-hour recovery window, athletes should refuel with the following:
- Electrolytes: Electrolytes are salts and minerals that help your body maintain fluid balance and perform at its best. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes like sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
- Protein: Protein reduces muscle breakdown and stimulates growth. It also works with carbohydrates to help replenish the energy stores in your muscles.
- Carbohydrates: Carbs are an athlete’s preferred source of energy. After a long practice or race your muscle glycogen (the back-up fuel storage in your muscles) is depleted.
Recovery allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. Exercise causes changes in the body such as muscle tissue breakdown and the depletion of energy stores (muscle glycogen) as well as fluid loss. Recovery after exercise is essential to high-level performance.
Look for post workout drinks or snacks that combine the right ratio of carbohydrates to proteins to refuel. The nutrient profile of lowfat chocolate includes a natural source of high-quality protein to build lean muscle, the right mix of protein and carbs (3.25:1) to refuel and rebuild exhausted muscles, and fluids and a natural source of electrolytes to rehydrate and help replenish what was lost in sweat.
In addition to recovery benefits from proper post-workout nutrition, athletes’ After routines should include active recovery techniques in the hours following intense exercise. Active recovery and rest days are linked to performance benefits. Here are a few to consider including in your After routine:
Cool down: To help your body bounce back, muscles must cool down. Light active recovery after a race will increase circulation and get your body back on track.
Stretch: Stretch directly after exercise (or after a foam roll session) while muscles are warm. Stretching increases blood flow to muscle fibers, stimulates recovery and helps prevent injury.
Foam Roll: Foam rollers are like a “self-massage” and easy to travel with to training and/or competition. Foam rolling uses deep compression to help roll out muscle adhesions that develop over time, helping restore the muscle to its original length. The compression causes your nerves to relax - myofascial release, loosens the muscle, and increases blood flow which all help your body recover.
Massage: A massage helps release muscle tension and increases blood flow which will help speed up the muscle repair process.
Ice: Within two hours of very strenuous workout, ice muscles to reduce post-workout inflammation/swelling, which may prevent muscle soreness.
Contrast Therapy: Hot/Cold Water Immersion Therapy is a form of treatment where a limb or the entire body is immersed in ice water followed by the immediate immersion of the limb or body in warm water. This is repeated several times, alternating between the two. This treatment can help reduce injury and swelling in the acute stages of injury through vasodilation (hot immersion) and vasoconstriction (cold immersion) of the affected areas. The lymph system lacks a central pump. Through this method of recovery the lymph vessels dilate and contract to “pump” and move stagnant fluid out of the affected areas, thus aiding positively in the inflammation process.