Refueling after a hard work-out or competition is vital to every athlete to maximize outcomes. Consuming carbohydrate with a little protein is the ideal recovery snack, recommends CHOC Children’s pediatric clinical dietitian, Jessica Brown. Timing is important – maximum recovery is accomplished when carbohydrates are consumed within 30 minutes after exercise.
“After a hard workout, athletes should take in 0.5-0.7 grams of carbohydrate for each pound of body weight. Snacks that include 10-20 grams protein can enhance recovery,” says Jessica.
Consider the following examples for different sized athletes:
8oz chocolate milk
1 med Banana
4 fig newtons
6oz fruited low-fat yogurt
8oz Orange juice
2T peanut butter
Maintaining hydration is also important for recovery, explains Jessica. Muscles are 70-80% water, so focus on hydration for peak performance. A good way to determine adequate hydration throughout exercise is to measure pre & post weights. For every pound of body weight lost, consume 2-3 cups of liquid for complete rehydration after exercise.
It is ideal to maintain body weight within 1-2% of usual body weight throughout exercise to prevent fatigue. Drinking fluids in short intervals is best. For an average-sized athlete, 5-10 fluid ounces every 15-20 minutes is recommended. Consuming a sports beverage during exercise lasting longer than an hour will replenish carbohydrate and electrolytes needs. Not all sports drinks are created equal. Choose drinks that contain 14-20 grams of carbohydrate and at least 100mg of sodium in every 8 fluid ounce serving, such as Gatorade, Powerade, or Accelerade.
Learn more about CHOC’s Clinical Nutrition and Lactation Services.
Hopefully, with these easy tips, your young athlete will be on his way to a succesful work-out and season!