Fast recovery after training/game is a key issue in modern football. The aims of any nutritional intervention at recovery are 1) to replenish energy stores, and 2) to repair tissues from exercise-induced muscle damage. Here are some PRACTICAL key points on nutrition for FAST RECOVERY
- · Start eating as soon as possible after the end of training that lowers muscle glycogen. Muscle glycogen can decline at a critical point after 90 min of match.
- · Carbohydrate (CHO) in a liquid or solid form is the most important determinant of muscle glycogen synthesis.
- · Literature suggests that CHO intake should exceed 1.2 g/kg body weight/hour. Practically, this is a very large amount of CHO. Players should take as much CHO as possible within the first 2 hours after exhaustive exercise that lowers muscle glycogen.
- · Co-ingestion of a small amount of protein (0.2-0.4 g/kg body weight/hour) with CHO (0.8 g/kg body weight/hour) seems to result in similar amount of muscle glycogen repletion compared with a high CHO intake of 1.2 g/kg body weight/hour. Thus, co-ingestion of CHO and protein may speed-up recovery.
- · Protein and amino acid intake is suggested in order to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and inhibit protein breakdown.
- · Players should consume about 20gr of protein during the first hour of post exercise recovery. Protein intake should be encouraged during the day to maximize muscle protein synthesis rate.
- · Replacement of fluid losses is also necessary particularly when exercise is performed in warm weather.