Thursday 29 January 2015

Adequate protein intake is crucial for the body's recovery

Karl Henry

Published 19/08/2014 | 02:30

No matter what your training type, every time you train you put your body under stress
No matter what your training type, every time you train you put your body under stress
Karl Henry

Q: 'I was just wondering if there are the any ways to speed up recovery from over-training?'

Karl Henry replies: Over-training is a huge problem for those who are training very hard for a multi-sport event such as ironman triathlons, adventure races and marathons. It is probably the most underestimated aspect of training, and yet one of the most important. Firstly, lets look at what happens when you train. No matter what your training type, every time you train you put your body under stress; you put minute tears into your muscle fibers which cause your muscles to repair and grow stronger. With constant adaptation in training and greater stress put on your body, you get stronger, fitter and perform better.

This is one of the reasons that constant change in your training plan is so important - when you do the same sessions again and again without change, you don't get the results that you are looking for. It's important to switch up your programme as much as possible in order to get the very best results.

Now that you have trained, you have to look at your recovery process. First, let's take a look at what you should be eating. You have two key nutrition windows after your training session. The first is up to 20 minutes afterwards, this is when you need some simple carbohydrates such as a piece of fruit, or something like high-protein milk is perfect too.

Then, you have a second window of about another 40 minutes, when you need to get lean protein into the body and plenty of minerals and vitamins in your food - coloured vegetables are perfect for this.

Lean proteins include white meats or beans and pulses for vegetarians. Remember, protein is the nutrient that helps the body to repair itself and improve muscle growth. Ideally, you should get your protein from real food rather than shakes, due to the sugar content in the shakes. However, if life is very busy and you're struggling to get enough protein into your diet, shakes can come in handy .

The harder you are training, the more important your protein intake will become.

One of the simplest ways you can measure over-training is by checking your resting heart rate on a regular basis. Your resting heart rate will tell you what your heart is doing, and when you are over-training it can increase. If you're getting a cold or flu it also increases, which means you have to rest and back-off to let the body recover. To measure your resting heart rate, simply take your pulse at the side of your neck or the base of your wrist. Count the beats for 15 seconds and then multiply this figure by four to get the beats per minute.

Other simple ways to improve the body's recovery are:

• The use of compression clothing such as skins or under armour

• Getting a regular full-body deep-tissue sports massage

• Having a cold shower, or ideally, a bath after your session

• Ensuring you get deep sleep, so maybe get a black-out blind in your bedroom.

These methods will ensure you recover faster, train better and race better in the future, so go and enjoy!

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