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Acute Recovery 'The Three R's' : Put Into Practice

Refuel


If you compete in a sport that has an element of endurance involved, listen up. Contrary to popular belief, protein is not the essential nutrient required for a speedy recovery post exercise. Whilst protein consumption is needed to evoke your bodies biophysiological adaptations to exercise, in scenarios where priority lies on impending exercise performance, carbohydrate is king. So, what scenarios are we talking here? Maybe you have a tournament coming up where you’ll have to compete in multiple matches or events in one day or maybe you have little respite between key training sessions. Either way, if you have roughly eight or less hours to recover, the following tactic will optimise performance.


Hourly carbohydrate ingestion within the initial 4 hours post exercise can significantly improve endurance performance in a forthcoming exercise bout.


Why?


During the initial bout of exercise both muscle and liver glycogen (stored carbohydrate) are used by your energy systems. Performance is impaired when skeletal muscle glycogen stores deplete below a critical level. Limited glycogen is stored within skeletal muscle in the initial 2 hours post exercise. This is because carbohydrate resynthesis is prioritised in the liver. So, when ingested carbohydrate is absorbed, it will enter the liver first and only as liver glycogen stores fill up, will more carbohydrate be passed on for storage within skeletal muscle. Therefore, continued carbohydrate consumption following the initial 2 hours post exercise, is required for adequate glycogen storage in the muscles.

How?


Studies have shown that ingestion of 1.2g (grams) of CHO (carbohydrate) per kg (kilogram) BW (bodyweight), immediately after exercise, then every hour for 3-4 hours post exercise, maximises glycogen storage. Resulting in improved endurance performance in the impending exercise bout.


Dosage Example


10 am (end of exercise bout): 1.2g CHO/kg BW


11 am (1hr post exercise bout): 1.2g CHO/kg BW


12pm (2hrs post exercise bout): 1.2g CHO/kg BW


1pm (3hrs post exercise bout): 1.2g CHO/kg BW


2pm (4hrs post exercise bout): 1.2g CHO/kg BW or resume your daily fuel intake requirements



Put Into Practice: Acute Recovery Rock Cakes



This recipe provides an example of how to apply the functional theory into tasty snacks. The recipe yields 4 servings. 1 serving is to be eaten every hour for the first 0-3 hours post exercise/event.


For this example we have assumed our athlete weighs 100 kg. This makes the serving size easy to convert for athletes of different weights. For example, if an athlete weighs 64 kg then they would need to multiply each weight on the ingredients list by 0.64. Alternatively, if an athlete weighs 112 kg then they would need to multiply each weight on the ingredients list buy 1.12.



Nutrient Break Down (per serving)


Energy ≈ 605 kcals

Fat ≈ 6 g

Carbohydrate ≈ 1.2 g per kg body weight

Protein ≈ 17 g

Non-discretionary Salt ≈ 0.8 g



Ingredients (4 servings)


220 g of Wheat Flour

170 g of Finely Milled Oats

220 g of Honey

170 g of Blueberries

80 g of Low Fat Natural Yogurt

4 Average Sized Egg Whites

25 g of Cocoa

2 tsp (8 g) of Baking Powder




Prep

  1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

  2. Preheat oven to 175 °C.

  3. Combine the flour, oats, cacao and baking powder in a bowl and mix.

  4. Combine the honey, yogurt and egg into a separate bowl and mix.

  5. Combine both bowls and stir in blueberries, whilst being careful not to over-mix at this stage.

  6. Spoon the mixture, in six equally sized piles, onto the baking tray.


Cook


  1. Oven bake at 175 °C for roughly 20 minutes.




Rebuild


Whilst not essential for acute recovery, protein can be used to aid glycogen storage. Studies have shown recovery of performance and glycogen repletion rates were similar in athletes consuming 0.8g (grams) of CHO (carbohydrate) per kg (kilogram) BW (bodyweight), plus 0.4g of PRO (protein) per kg BW, compared to athletes consuming of 1.2g CHO per kg BW alone. With this in mind, if strength and power are equally as important to your sport as endurance and you’re currently following an optimal protein dosage strategy (soon to be covered in a blog post), you may benefit from using the protein/carbohydrate combination approach every other hour.

Dosage Example


10 am (end of exercise bout): 0.8g CHO + 0.4g PRO/kg BW


11 am (1hr post exercise bout): 1.2g CHO/kg BW


12pm (2hrs post exercise bout): 0.8g CHO + 0.4g PRO/kg BW


1pm (3hrs post exercise bout): 1.2g CHO/kg BW


2pm (4hrs post exercise bout): 0.8g CHO + 0.4g PRO/kg BW or resume your daily fuel/protein intake requirements



Put Into Practice: Acute Recovery Pan Cakes



This recipe provides an example of how to apply the functional theory into tasty snacks. The recipe yields 2 servings. 1 serving to be eaten every other hour for the first 0-2 hours post exercise/event. Servings can be alternated with 2 servings of the rock cake recipe shown above.


For this example we have assumed our athlete weighs 100 kg. This makes the serving size easy to convert for athletes of different weights. For example, if an athlete weighs 84 kg then they would need to multiply each weight on the ingredients list by 0.84. Alternatively, if an athlete weighs 106 kg then they would need to multiply each weight on the ingredients list buy 1.06.



Nutrient Break Down (per serving)


Energy ≈ 550 kcals

Fat ≈ 7 g

Carbohydrate ≈ 0.8 g per kg body weight

Protein ≈ 0.4 g per kg body weight

Non-discretionary Salt ≈ 1.5 g



Ingredients (2 servings)


160 g of Wheat Flour

60 g of Whey Powder

40 g of Honey

125 g of 0% Fat Greek Style Yogurt

2 tsp (8 g) of Baking Powder

1 Tbsp of Olive Oil




Prep

  1. Add half the oil to a small frying pan.

  2. Combine the flour, whey and baking powder in a large measuring jug with 200 mL of water and mix in to a batter.


Cook


  1. Heat the pan to a medium temperature.

  2. Use half of the batter mix to make 2 evenly sized pan cakes, by twice adding it to the pan in stages and cooking the mixture in the pan for 1-2 minutes on each side both times.

  3. Stack the pancakes on a plate and top with half of the yogurt and honey.

  4. When the second serving is required add the remaining oil to the pan then repeat cooking stages 1-3.



Rehydrate


Sweat loss of just 2% body weight has been shown to compromise aerobic exercise performance and at 3-5% anaerobic/high intensity performance is at risk of the same fate. Sweat losses of 6–10% bodyweight results in severe dehydration. Which has a more pronounced effect on exercise tolerance, cardiac output, sweat production and skin/muscle blood flow. This highlights the importance of combining your refuelling protocol with a rehydration protocol. Fluid intake during the initial bout of exercise will help to avoid dehydration in the forthcoming bout. However, some scenarios might desire dehydration in the initial bout of exercise. For example, in weight category sports during the final training session before weigh-in. In these instances, an aggressive hydration strategy is needed before the second bout of exercise. For more info on hydration strategies, have a read of my next blog post…


Bibliography


Armstrong, L., Casa, D., Millard-Stafford, M., Moran, D., Pyne, S., & Roberts, W. (2007). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exertional heat illness during training and competition. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 39(3):556-72.


Beelen, M., Burke, L., Gibala, M., & van Loon, L. (2010). Nutritional strategies to promote postexercise recovery. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 20(6):515-32.


Berardi, J., Noreen, E., & Lemon, P. (2008). Recovery from a cycling time trial is enhanced with carbohydrate-protein supplementation vs. isoenergetic carbohydrate supplementation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 5: 24.


Burke, L., Kiens, B., & Ivy, J. (2004). Carbohydrates and fat for training and recovery. Journal of sports sciences, 22(1):15-30.


Jentjens, R., & Jeukendrup, A. (2003). Determinants of Post-Exercise Glycogen Synthesis During Short-Term Recovery. Sports Medicine, 33(2), 117–144.


Sawka, M., Burke, L., Eichner, E., Maughan, R., Montain, S., & Stachenfeld, N. (2007). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 39(2):377-90.

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