People drink recovery drinks to help replenish the loss of fluids after a workout. However, when you take recovery and nutrition into consideration, it’s not as simple as grabbing an ‘energy drink’ and you’re sorted. In this feature we take a closer look at recovery drinks and what you need to know.
During any physical excursion, your body is depleted not only of fluids but also essential nutrients. Finding the right type of recovery drink is therefore more important that you think. Additionally, your recovery drink needs to be consumed at the right time post workout in order to offer the best results.
When we’re talking about a recovery drink, we’re not referring to water, we’re referring to recovery drinks which include additional nutrients needed for recovery. Hydrating with water pre and post workout is also essential and is in fact vital for performance and recovery too, so make sure you include water in your regular hydration process.
After a workout, for the first two or so hours, your liver produces glycogen at 50% faster than the normal rate. As a result, having a recovery drink which is carbohydrate rich is important. In fact, even eating favourable carbohydrates right after a workout stimulates your pancreas to release insulin, which tells your cells to absorb glucose. While the first two or so hours, right after your workout, your body produces more glycogen than normal, it still continues to do so for a few more hours afterwards, but gradually slows down before getting back to its normal rate.
The more you train and the more you use favourable carbohydrates, like the right recovery drinks, to recover straight after workouts, the better your recovery becomes over time. Your glycogen storage capacity can increase as much as 20%, and this means it will positively affect your endurance and performance.
The amount and composition to be consumed is also important. As a general rule, aim for 1.5 grams of favourable carbohydrates for every kilograms of your body weight. Additionally, consume the same amount of these carbohydrates (albeit from recovery drinks) every two hours after that, for up to six hours. By doing this you will give your body what it best needs to recovery faster and better. This is also an important point for those who train or compete multiple times within a day.
Choosing the right recovery drink is very important. What you put into your body is what you will get out of it. Look out for recovery drinks which have a favourable mix of carbohydrate, protein and ribose. Not only will this serve as an important recovery drink, but it also gives you the right mix to gain favourable body composition over time too. Good recovery drinks also have the right mix of essential amino acids to help maximise muscle recovery.
Read up on the recovery drinks you have in mind, look up the brand and understand exactly what you’re putting in your body. Stay away from ‘energy drinks’ and any recovery drinks which have a plethora of additives and sugars.