You have passed the finish line!! Congrats you smashed it! Now to celebrate…….
But before you reach for that glass of champers, take note that it can interfere with muscle protein synthesis and recovery. Your body needs carbs, protein & fluid after a competition or general training. So hitting the bar over having a recovery snack, meal or drink can affect your muscles refuelling and repairing adequately, leaving your body feeling dehydrated. Your sleep will also be affected, affecting your recovery further.
So the best thing you can do for your body is firstly making sure you replace those fluids you lost through the race by hydrating immediately after competing and continuing to drink at regular intervals throughout the rest of the day. Sports drinks that contain both sodium and carbohydrate may be better than water alone to help speed up recovery. It has also been suggested that skimmed milk may even be better at speeding up rehydration post exercise.
Glycogen replenishment is faster than usual in the 2 hour window after exercise. It used to be thought that the window was just 30minutes, however science has now shown the window to be much longer at 2 hours. During this time is the best opportunity to consume high GI carbs to kick start your recovery. Additionally, combining carbs with complete protein has been shown to be more effective in promoting muscle glycogen recovery and muscle tissue growth compared with consuming carbohydrate alone. One tip is just to try to avoid fatty foods which can often leave you feeling bloated.
Example foods to eat immediately after events
- Energy bars
- Oat cakes
- Yogurt drink
Now having said that you can still enjoy an alcoholic drink, if that’s what you want to toast with, just try to get your recovery completed first; rehydrate and consume a meal containing carbohydrates and protein to refuel and kickstart your body into repairing muscles before having your first drink.