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Nutrition: Recovery Nutrition during Hard Training

12/12/2011

Thanksgiving Dinner Illustration.

By Dan McCarthy//National Team High Performance Consultant

 

During hard training cycles, like Christmas training, it is imperative for athletes not only to eat promptly (within a half-hour) following a hard training session, but eat the right amount of carbohydrates and protein as well. A sound recovery plan will be based on an athlete’s body weight.

  • Athletes should eat .5 grams of carbohydrates for every pound of body weight
  • Athletes should eat 15-20 grams of protein
  • Athletes should drink 24 ounces of water for every pound lost
  • Athletes should include electrolytes (sodium, potassium) from food with salt or a sports drink

The dieticians at the USOC have compiled some suggested recovery meals based on body weight:

 

110-132 Pound Athlete

  • 16 ounces of chocolate milk and water, or
  • 6 ounces of non-fat Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and water, or
  • A natural ingredient sport bar (fruit/nut), a glass of skim milk, and water

154-176 Pound Athlete

  • 24 ounces of chocolate milk and water, or
  • Sport bar (45-50 grams of carbs/15-20 grams of protein) and 16 ounces of sport drink, or
  • 12 ounces of non-fat Greek yogurt, one cup of fruit juice, and water

198-220 Pound Athlete

  • 24 ounces of chocolate milk, water and a banana, or
  • Sport bar (50 grams of carbs/15-20 grams of protein) and 24 ounces of sport drink

Not only must an athlete eat their recovery snack within a half hour of completing practice, but they must also have a meal within an hour of eating their recovery snack, and add another snack an hour after the meal. Obviously this is not a recovery plan for every day of the year, but it will certainly make a difference when the coach pulls out their special New Year’s 10,000-yard set to cap off an intense week of holiday training.