Welcome to Back to School – Sports Series
This week we are going to cover Post-Workout Strategies.
Ok, so your athlete has finished early morning practice, now what?
Well, they need to eat within 45 minutes to 1 hour after practice.
For most, this is going to be their 2nd meal of the day.
After working out and training, an athlete’s body is primed and ready for food. This is an opportunity to support muscle gains, provide recovery for the body, and refuel the brain for focused learning.
This meal is essential for athletes who are going to school shortly after practice.
I am sure each school schedule is different. Our school allows the athletes 1 hour before going into their athletic class, where they go over plays and game film.
So this 1 hour gives my older athlete time to shower and eat.
Last week, I talked about how to fuel for practice (pre-workout tips); the basis of that meal consisted mainly of adequate amounts of protein, starchy carbs, veggies if possible, and a small amount of healthy fats. (you can read it here in case you missed it)
Now that practice is over, here’s what a recovery meal would look like:
- An adequate amount of protein (30+g)
- 2-3 cupped handfuls of starchy carbs
- 1-2 tbs of healthy fats
- ½ a plate of veggies
Protein helps build and repair the muscles.
Starchy carbs help restore the glycogen (water) lost in the muscles and refuel the brain.
Healthy fats help muscles recover and refuel the brain.
Veggies provide energy directly to the cells and help rehydrate the body.
So you can see how a meal covering all the bases will help your athlete recover and provide focused energy for learning!
If an actual meal isn’t possible, make a protein smoothie and pack in an insulated thermos for after practice.
Egg Frittatas or Muffins can be made in advance – this is another way to fit protein, starchy carbs, veggies, and healthy fats into an on-the-go meal.
Another option is a store-bought protein shake, fruit and/or PB&J, and a sports green drink like Biosteel Sports Greens or pre-cut veggies to snack on.
Next is hydration – adding back in electrolytes is important to rehydrate and also re-boost energy.
I am not a fan of sugary sports drinks, but I know many athletes who drink them. So if that’s your athlete, then they will need to cut back on starchy carbs in their meal if they are going to drink, say a Gatorade or Powerade.
However, I do really like Body Armor as a rehydration option; while it does have sugar, it also has coconut water, vitamins, and minerals.
But my favorite non-sugary sports hydration drink is Biosteel Sports Hydration Mix; the flavors are the bomb and contains vitamins and minerals along with Celtic Sea Salt for electrolytes.
Ok, back to the point I am trying to make – if they have a sugary drink, cut back on the starchy carbs in the post-workout meal.
Having too many carbs will cause a blood sugar spike, and that always leads to a crash.
Your athlete will be trying to take a nap instead of doing school work.
In all meals and snacks – I’m always looking for ways to create balance and not be carb-heavy, so that blood sugary remains stable. Stable blood sugar = steady energy.
Next week, we’ll continue building on how to eat during a school day to prime your athlete’s body for after school practice/training or a game.