Recovery after a great effort is just as important as the effort itself. So when we exercise regularly, we also need to take care of the recovery of our muscles after training. Especially if our goal is threefold and includes increasing strength, strengthening muscle mass and improving overall fitness, our body needs support.
None of the above can be achieved without the necessary nutrients through a complete and careful diet. What do we mean by “complete diet”? Small and frequent meals that include protein, carbohydrates, plenty of water for extra hydration and electrolytes. But let’s look separately at the benefits of each ingredient for the muscles and how they support our body in its effort.
Protein, our faithful friend in every muscle effort
Essentially, protein is made up of amino acids, these very important building blocks for our muscles. Although our body produces amino acids through protein, these are not enough, as not everything can be synthesized by the body. So we need to give the necessary boost through our diet. Both after training and in our general diet plan.
The fact that protein is our best friend when it comes to recovery after a muscle effort is a common assumption . But the question is whether we get the necessary amount of protein, which is not limited to the meals that follow our workout.
Where to find protein: Meat, fish, legumes, meat substitutes, dairy products, milk substitutes, nuts, quinoa, broccoli, mushrooms and dietary supplements and meal replacements that in most cases we need to get it.
Carbohydrates, the misunderstood of the diet
Carbohydrates have misunderstood formed a “bad name” for the fitness industry. In reality, however, without carbohydrates we will not have the required energy, as they are the best source of energy. We need them both before training, for greater performance, and after exercise for muscle recovery. They provide us with energy through the production of glycogen . In the post-exercise period we need to restore the “lost glycogen” and this is easily done by consuming the right amount of carbohydrates. Otherwise our body will look for its lost energy in fat… 
Where to find carbohydrates: Spinach, wheat (in all types of cereals), quinoa, legumes, pasta, rice, couscous, potatoes, oats, fruits, vegetables.
Hydration and electrolytes, essential for muscle recovery
When we exercise, we lose a lot of water and a lot of electrolytes through the sweating process. The amount we lose depends on the intensity of the effort and of course the weather. For example, if we go through a period of heat, such as summer, high temperatures cause more sweating. Hydration is also associated with many parameters. Some of them are age, gender, fitness, body composition [2,3].
In any case, when we exercise, it is good to have water with us, which we can even consume during training. Since our thirst is not always the best guide to our body’s hydration needs, it is recommended that we do not lose more than 2% of the water in our body from our initial weight [3,4]. An auxiliary guideline to better understand this percentage is between 170 ml and 340 ml per quarter .
Isotonic sports drinks with carbohydrates are indicated for intense effort lasting 60 to 90 minutes. Isotonic sports drinks contain electrolytes that are necessary during intense training or high temperatures, to compensate for excessive water and salt loss through sweat, but also to regulate our body temperature [4.5]. In the case of a moderate workout, without much intensity, water is enough to hydrate us.
Therefore, protein, carbohydrates and water are the three components that will significantly contribute to muscle recovery after training. Vitamins and minerals are also valuable for the whole process, but if our foundation is not right, it does not make sense to resort to them.
Herbalife Nutrition recommends the Herbalife24 sports nutrition series for optimal muscle recovery. Rebuild Strength is a high quality protein drink that helps restore and support muscle growth after strength training and high intensity, while Rebuild Endurance is rich in a carbohydrate-protein recovery drink, ideal for endurance and endurance sports. after intense aerobic exercise. For more information visit the page www.herbalife24.gr
[1.] Jager, R., et al., International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2017. 14: p. 20.
[2.] Kerksick, C., et al., International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2008. 5(1): p. 17.
[3.] ACSM, Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2016. 48(3): p. 543-568.
[4.] Sawka, M.N., et al., American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 2007. 39(2): p. 377-390.
[5.] Shirreffs, S.M. and M.N. Sawka, Fluid and electrolyte needs for training, competition, and recovery. Journal of sports sciences, 2011. 29(sup1): p. S39-S46.