"Fueling the Recovery Window" was written by pro triathlete and Feed athlete, Angela Naeth. Angela has won multiple 70.3s, 2 Ironmans and in 2015, she was under the 9hr bench mark for female athletes in Ironman. She is a physical therapist by trade and has a Masters in Physical Therapy and Bachelors in Health Science. Check out her favorite training products HERE.
There’s no better way to get the most out of your workout as refueling for the next one. What you eat immediately and the few hours after you exercise plays a crucial role in how your body will recover. By eating right, your next workout will be that much easier due to restoring lost glycogen and repairing muscle damage.
Timing is everything. I like to break it down into two key windows: 1)The Recovery drink window: within 30minutes of finishing the workout, and 2) The Post-training splurge window: the amount of time post-workout that equals the amount of your total workout time (i.e. if you rode 2 hours, the window is 2 hours right after you finish).
The Recovery-Drink Window
. Simple and to the point! The key is to get in high glycemic carbohydrates (fast-acting) and some protein to help the recovery process. It should be a 4:1 ratio as carbohydrates to protein. My go to quick fuel is Ultragen
created by First Endurance. It also includes glutamine which is important for muscle repair. The amount of recovery drink needed is dependent of the intensity of your workout and duration. I like to keep things simple: 1 scoop of Ultragen for every 1 hour of work! This is roughly 100 - 360 calories. The higher the intensity the more Ultragen I take.
You can create your own recovery drink with fruits and a protein powder but if you’re anything like me, I can hardly think sometimes after workouts and having a pre-made drink mix makes things that much easier. And gives me more time to recover!
A recovery-drink (fluid calories) is easier to digest compared to real foods and is easier on any upset stomach. This further aids the recovery process: A win-win situation!
The Post-training Splurge Window
. The next window is the one I like the most! This window again follows the same duration of your workout. For example, if you’ve just gotten back from a 4 hour ride, you have 4 hours to get in these types of nutrients. *Note: if you’re wanting to lose weight, this window is often minimized and/or skipped. You’ll want to focus on high quality nutrient foods (vegetables, lean meats and dairy) instead. This window is for improving the recovery process so that you’re better able to perform in your next workout. Back-to-back long training days need extra attention.
The goal in this window is to eat moderate glycemic foods: breads, pasta etc. with a protein source. One I love is stir-fried sweet potato with egg. This is also a great window to include your fruits for the day with a yogurt or other protein source. The actual size of the meal varies and for me, it’s just about snacking throughout the window so that I’m not ravenous once dinner hits.
The overall goal for both these windows is to help give your body the nutrition it needs in both the right combination and timing. Setting yourself up for success day in and day out is part of your training and will have you on fire come race day!
Check out Angela's favorite training products HERE!