Recover Faster From Exercise with Protein AND Carbs

A study from James Madison University shows that runners recover faster when they take in large amounts of protein, carbohydrates and antioxidants after their workouts (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, Volume 17, 2007). Athletes train by taking a workout hard enough to damage their muscles, feeling sore on the next day, and then going easy for as many days as it takes for the soreness to lessen or disappear. The sooner they recover from their hard workouts, the sooner they can take another hard workout and the stronger they will be.

Muscles are made primarily from protein building blocks called amino acids. Muscles heal from a hard workout when amino acids and other nutrients travel from your bloodstream into the muscles. Eating any food, particularly foods with plenty of protein, immediately after you finish your workout helps your muscles heal faster so you can do more work. The sooner you eat after you finish your hard workout, the quicker you will recover.

This study confirms many others that show that taking carbohydrates and proteins immediately after exercise hastens muscle healing and gets rid of the soreness faster. The defect in this study is that the authors fed a drink that combines protein, carbohydrate and antioxidant vitamins. They concluded that you need all three components to recover faster, and that a drink is superior to food. However, other studies show that you can get the same benefit from a wide variety of foods that are rich in protein and carbohydrates, and that these foods would be so rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that it would not be necessary to take any supplements. More


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