Recovery Nutrition: Why is it important?

High-intensity training whether lactate-based sets, anaerobic threshold sets or even short burst sprint sets, all of these trigger a cascade of highly catabolic events. In order for the training to benefit the swimmer, it is extremely important that the post-training phase focuses on anabolism. And it is really in this recovery phase when nutrition becomes the cornerstone.

The prime focus of recovery is predominantly two things:
1. Glycogen re-synthesis
2. Synthesis of new proteins

Acute recovery guidelines are extremely customized based on the intensity/volume of a workout. There are therefore individualized nutrition recommendations or protocols for every swimmer.

Following is a brief overview on acute recovery nutrition strategies:

Vo2 max Training: The predominant fuel throughout the 90 min session is fat based with a lesser proportion of carbohydrates. It is important to consume 1-1.4g/Kg Bodyweight/ hour of sports drink during this training for efficient availability of energy. On average, this comes out to be 800-1000ml sports drink/ hour.

Anaerobic Training: The major fuel used here is predominantly carbohydrates with lesser proportions of fat. It is again essential to consume 800-1200ml sports drink/ hour during training. On the other hand, post-training carbohydrates need to be 1.2-1.5g/ Kg/ Hour.

The protein in both of the above scenarios should be maintained at 20-25g immediately post-training while maintaining 10-20g in the meals 1-2h post training.

Examples of post-training meal options:

  1. Fruit juice + Egg sandwich
  2. Cereal and milk + Fruits
  3. Chocolate milk + Fruit yogurt
  4. Fruits + protein bar/ protein supplement
  5. Peanut butter sandwich + Glass of milk
  6. Chicken/ tuna sandwich + Fruits

There are many ways to monitor whether recovery is happening in the best possible manner. In camp settings, many a time the nutritionist/ psychologist makes the athlete fill a questionnaire that addresses actual recovery, the athletes’ perception of recovery as well as athletes’ mood profiles which can be correlated with over-training symptoms.

Hence, incorporate conscious efforts towards recovery as it can have a direct impact on the next training session.

Author: Mihira A R Khopkar

B.Sc. Dietetics, M.Sc. Sports Nutrition


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SwimIndia does not guarantee results of any sort, before making any changes to your diet plans, please consult an expert.

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