Maximizing your post work out recovery

I have found that I fall down in 2 places after doing an intense or long workout. The first is stretching, I know I should do it, and usually do some directly after, but never enough. The second, and the one I would like to touch on here, is nutrition and rebuilding the energy stores in muscles post-workout for faster recovery.

I'm not going to get into a long discussion about glycogen, energy stores and the science behind building your energy stores after workouts, but just provide some basic guidelines to feed your muscles and reduce your recovery time.

Within 2 hours of completing a workout that depletes your muscle energy stores, i.e. a long run, interval/speed/hill/weight training, etc., it is recommended that you take in approximately 1 gram of carbohydrates for every pound of your body weight.

You should also be taking in protein, using a 25% in ratio to your required carbs, so if you weighed 100lbs, you would need to ingest 100 grams of carbs and 25 grams of protein. For the best recovery results, take in 50% of those carbs/proteins within 30 minutes of completing your work out.

How you take in this nutrition to feed and restore the energy stores in your muscles can vary depending on how you react to food after a workout. The easiest, for the 50% you should ingest within 30 minutes of your workout, would be a shake, smoothie or some form of recovery drink. There are many recovery drinks out there from various companies, Gu, Endurox, Gatorade, Powerbar and Fluid all offer recovery drink powders you can mix up and take along in a water bottle for after your workout. You can also use Slim Fast, it too contains the right ratio of carbs and protein for recovery and comes in a can.

For the other 50% of the carbs/protein you should take within 2 hours of your workout, should be something you enjoy, a reward for a good workout, maybe a nice breakfast or a plate of pasta. Finally, after working out it is important to replenish your fluids, so throughout the day continue to sip at some water and some form of electrolyte drink, until your urine is a pale yellow.