If you're training for an endurance event, or maintain a moderate to high level of activity, eating for recovery after workouts should become part of your normal routine (if it isn't already). Foods that possess inflammation-lowering properties can help the body recover by initiating the healing process more quickly after a hard workout.
In a paper titled "The Highs and Lows of Carbohydrate Diets" by Edward Coyle, Ph.D., FACSM, the recommended post-workout period to restore muscle glycogen stores between very hard training sessions is 24 hours. Coyle advises athletes to consume about 1 gram of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight each hour after intense exercise until they eat their next meal. Coyle notes that consuming protein with carbohydrates speeds recovery when it's ingested within the first 40 minutes after the session, and a surge in glycogen resynthesis can occur when protein is eaten with carbohydrates two hours after the workout is complete.
The key takeaways here are to eat a snack that combines carbs and protein within the first 40 minutes after finishing your intense effort, then to consume a similar meal-size combination of these macronutrients two hours later. Try these post-workout snacks and the meals below to restock your muscle glycogen stores, ease inflammation, and speed recovery so you can ramp up for your next training session.
Broiled Salmon with Pineapple Salsa and Green Tea Coconut Rice
- 4 5- to 6-ounce wild-caught salmon fillets
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1 fresh pineapple, cored and cut into rings
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 small jalapeno, seeds and core removed, and finely minced
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 small bunch scallions, chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika