Nutrition has been an integral part of my Netball career. When I was 21-years-old I was playing for the Australian 21’s team and I was told that unless I got stronger I would never take the next step and become a Diamond. I knew that if I wanted to achieve this goal I had to do something about it… So I did! I hit the gym, worked hard on the court and most importantly changed my diet to support my training and get the results I needed, and in the end, recovery nutrition was one of the most important changes I made.
So why is recovery important?
- Reduces the feeling of fatigue during training sessions/games and fatigue throughout the day
- Optimises gains from the training session or game just completed
- Improves performance at subsequent training sessions and games
- Reduces muscle soreness which allows for better performance and the next training session or game.
The 3 R’s of Recovery:
- Refuel with carbohydrates to replenish energy stores (muscle glycogen).
Carbohydrates foods include grain foods such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles; fruit and dairy products such as milk and yoghurt.
- Repair with protein for muscle repair and development.
Protein foods include dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese; nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu
- Rehydrate with water to replenish fluid and salt losses through sweat
Dairy products are one of my favourite recovery foods as they provide carbohydrates, protein and fluid in one! Flavoured milk, yoghurts, fruit smoothies can often be purchased at the canteen so double as a convenient snack too.
Some other recovery snack ideas include:
- Ham and salad sandwich
- Dried fruit and Nut Mix
- Fruit and Yoghurt
- Cheese on crackers and an apple
- Peanut butter sandwich
Your recovery snack should be consumed within 30-60 minutes after the training session or game AND the snack should contain carbohydrate, protein AND fluids to optimise recovery. This is particularly important when you are playing in a tournament or have two training sessions in quick succession.
Complete your recovery with a post game/training meal that contains carbohydrate, protein and water. Some examples include: Chicken stir-fry with noodles, chicken and salad sandwich, baked potato with bolognese sauce, beef curry with veggies and rice.
The amount of carbohydrate, protein and fluid needed in recovery varies depending on exercise intensity, body weight and your body composition goals.
Want to know more about eating for recovery? Leave a comment with your question and I will get back to you.