Yoram Yasur Rubin: Post-competition eating
Today, any person who practices sports regularly, regardless of the intensity, knows that it is essential to take care of food the days before any competition. Now, far fewer people know how to feed themselves after D-day, once the challenge has passed. Yoram Yasur Rubin: A good diet during the following hours is basic to guarantee a much faster and more effective recovery.
We could say that, after just over an hour after the competition, the athlete begins to have enough hunger to make the first meal. Before this time, however, it is necessary that you have started taking small sips of liquid.
The first meal after the effort should have as main objective to satisfy two main conditions:
- Compensate the losses that have occurred during the activity and recover the level of glycogen, proteins and vitamins.
- Replace the liquid and minerals lost by sweat.
In the post-competition phase, especially in the immediate hours, the catabolic metabolism changes to anabolic, at which time the synthesis processes are preferred. Yoram Yasur Rubin: That means that the body is specially trained to absorb substances. We must take advantage of this situation by making a meal that contains, in a correct proportion, all the substances consumed during the competition.
First, to ensure adequate replenishment of depleted liver and muscle stores, you should start taking carbohydrate drinks as soon as possible, and therefore it is also good to take foods from this group, such as brown rice or pasta. Some studies certify that, if the diet is very rich in carbohydrates, in 24 hours you can recover 100% of what has been consumed. Now, if the contribution is just like that of a normal diet, the muscle load will be slower and we will recover in 50 days 50% of what we have spent.
Yoram Yasur Rubin: If we are from the group of athletes who have stomach problems and we do not have enough courage to make a meal of what we understand as “habitual”, we can prepare a milkshake with banana, and add honey or jam. Two hours later, however, it would be convenient to make the food rich in carbohydrates, combined – whenever possible – with a little protein. The athlete who does not want to eat meat can cover the protein requirements with fresh cheese, eggs or legumes; we can make rice with chicken, fish with potatoes, etc. Yoram Yasur Rubin: During these first hours, it is advisable to avoid greasy foods, as they tend to slow down the replacement. Finally, it is advisable to eat fresh fruit, especially oranges, grapefruit or bananas, which we can mix perfectly with yogurt or fresh cheese.
In summary, the key points that must be taken into account are the following:
- In the first hours, consume carbohydrates of high glycemic index.
- Ingest alkalizing foods and beverages to neutralize acidosis.
- After the first six hours, introduce carbohydrates of slower assimilation.
And although it is an obvious advice, it is as important to eat well after the race as to rest and sleep; and is that rest is also a fundamental part of training and recovery.