By Anita Nall Richesson, Olympian & Nutritionist
One of the most important factors in sustained athletic success is understanding recovery. There are many components to improving your recovery time from training that can really up you’re A game. Improved recovery time means that you can train harder the next day and/or improve your turn around time in between events during competitions. Here are a few key action steps you can take to improve your recovery time.
1. Eat immediately after training or drink a shake. Your muscles need replenished after a hard workout as quickly as possible. There is a 30 minute window of time to optimally refuel the body post exercise; we miss the optimal recovery window after 45 minutes. Utilizing this strategy can reduce soreness and increase energy level.
Research has shown that eating a ratio of 2:1 carbohydrate to protein is the optimal post workout ratio and even higher carbohydrate for more intense training sessions that endure longer than 90 minutes. For example, if you have 20 grams of protein in your post workout shake, 40 grams carbohydrate is suggested to go along with it. Although I strongly recommend eating healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocado throughout the day, these healthy fats play no role in post workout recovery nutrition.
2. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for afternoon training. The Journal of the International Society of Sport Nutrition says that “pre-exercise meals should be consumed about 4-6 hours before exercise” for optimal muscle fueling. In other words, beginning your day with a bowl of cereal isn’t going to cut it when it comes to optimal performance. A full breakfast rich in protein, carbohydrate and healthy fats will go a long way. Here are a few high performance breakfast ideas:
a) Plain Oatmeal with Chia Seeds, Berries, Coconut Milk & 1-2 tsp. Agave with 2 Eggs on the side
b) Good old Eggs, Bacon, Toast & Fruit
c) Breakfast Bowl: Potatoes, Breakfast Meat of Choice, Spinach & Eggs Food for Recovery
3. Rehydrate effectively. Hydration is most important before and after your workout, however, not to be forgotten during your workout as well. If you are engaging in exercise, particularly aerobic, lasting longer than 60 minutes, I recommend an electrolyte drink like Ultima Replenisher or Vega Sport Hydrator during training so as to replenish needed electrolytes and glucose lost during extended exercise periods.
I really wish I had understood all of this when I was an elite competitor. These strategies are game changers for the athletes I’ve worked with. Take some new actions in the area of your personal recovery from sport and let me know what differences you experience.
Anita Nall Richesson Biography
Olympian, Nutritionist, Life Coach & Wellness Expert
Setting the swimming world ablaze at the young age of fifteen with 2
world records in one day propelled Anita into the fast lane of success. After swimming for the cycle (gold, silver, and bronze) in the 1992 Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona, many health challenges hampered her attempts at returning to an Olympic level.
Challenged by a series of “mystery illnesses” that lasted a decade after the Olympics, Anita rediscovered health through food. Traditional medicine’s failed healing attempts drove her towards a personal quest for wellness and a passionate understanding of the healing power of food. Her profound experiences with illness, healing and professional athletics have given her a unique perspective she shares with clients.
After completing her undergraduate degree in Communications and Spanish from Arizona State University she pursued holistic nutrition education at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona. Anita is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Specialist, Life Coach and accomplished motivational speaker. Anita is also an elite member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. She completed 3 NFL seasons as Nutrition Consultant for the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Football Team and works with various elite professional athletes including UFC fighters, boxers & world-class swimmers around the country. She writes nutrition & wellness articles for various groups and recently began an empowerment program for teenage female athletes that centers around motivation, nutrition & increased self-esteem. http://www.anitanall.com
Read the following articles to learn more about Anita: