Sports and Nutrition-The Winning Connection
Keeping Energy Levels Up

Eating Strategies After the Game

After the game or practice session, much of the glycogen in your muscle and liver tissue has been used up, and synthesis, or creation, of new muscle protein slows. To promote glycogen recovery, consume nutritious foods and drinks that are high in carbohydrates. When you eat the right foods, your body can replace lost glycogen rapidly, and normal synthesis of new proteins can resume.

Whole foods like cereals, breads, and pastas with a glass of milk are better for total recovery than pure carbohydrate supplements. A mix of whole foods contains proteins, minerals, and vitamins in addition to carbohydrates. You need these other nutrients along with high levels of carbohydrates for a complete, rapid recovery.

To insure that you get enough carbohydrates, take in one gram of carbohydrates for each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. For example, a 110 pound athlete should consume about 50 grams of carbohydrates for maximum glycogen replacement after an event. A 156-pound athlete would need about 70 grams of carbohydrates. One ounce of breakfast cereal contains about 20 grams of carbohydrates, and one slice of bread has about 12 grams. Remember, whole foods, such as breads and cereals, when eaten with beverages like milk promote more rapid recovery than pure carbohydrates alone.

To assist in total, rapid recovery, you should consume nutritious foods and drinks as soon as you can tolerate them after an event or workout. Ideally, you should eat food within two hours afterward. However, if you can't tolerate eating that soon, choose what's comfortable for you.

Remember to drink plenty of fluids, even if you aren't thirsty. Keep your fluid levels up!

Next: What About Quick-Energy Foods?



Sports and Nutrition—The Winning Connection

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