An Athletic Trainer's Secret to Improving Your Athletic Performance

If there’s one thing that every athlete and their family knows, it’s that food is fuel for optimal sports performance. With student-athletes gearing up for the season ahead, consuming recovery foods is one important way an athlete can help counteract the physical and mental fatigue of a difficult practice or challenging workout.

Benefits of Recovery Eating:

  • Reduced muscle soreness

  • Improved immunity

  • Increased ability to build muscle

  • Better bone mass

  • Improved utilization of body fat

What Are the Goals of Recovery Eating?

  1. Replenishing glycogen stores

  2. Repairing damaged muscle fibers

  3. Rehydrating lost fluids

When Should Athletes Consume Recovery Foods?

Athletes should try to eat within 30 mins of completing their workout as the muscles are most receptive to carbohydrates and protein. Eating a full meal or a snack followed by a full meal a few hours later is ideal for restoring nutrient levels.

Guidelines for Recovery Foods

Although varying from athlete to athlete based on their weight and intensity of the workout, athletes should consume:

  • ½ gram of carbohydrates per pound of body weight

  • 20-40 grams of high quality, lean protein

  • 20-24 oz of liquid for every pound lost during the workout

What Recovery Foods Should Athletes Be Eating?

Depending on the athlete’s schedule and accessibility to specific foods, these are our favorite recovery foods to help an athlete recharge after a workout.

For Morning Recovery

  • Yogurt with berries

  • Eggs with a side of toast or fruit

  • Oatmeal topped with nuts

  • Toast with nut butter

  • Smoothies made with yogurt, fruit, and nut butter or a vegetable

For Afternoon Recovery

  • Grilled chicken sandwich with a side of fruit

  • Pasta dishes with chicken

  • Salad with grilled chicken or beans

  • Peanut butter sandwich and string cheese and a banana

For Evening Recovery

  • Grilled tuna with a side of veggies

  • Protein bowls (chicken/tofu with barley/brown rice and mixed veggies)

  • Ground turkey tacos

  • Crackers/veggies with hummus

Portable Recovery

  • Trail mix or mixed nuts

  • Bread or toast with nut butter

  • Fruit with nut butter

  • Protein bars

  • Fruit cups

  • Smoothies/shakes

  • Chocolate milk

Consuming recovery foods is just one way for athletes to optimize their performance. Contact a Physical Therapist at 401.726.7100 for more ways to increase strength, reduce soreness, and improve your athletic performance. With multiple locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Performance Physical Therapy is ready to get you moving better, faster.

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