This article is a guest post from Shim Ravalia, who studies a master’s in sports rehabilitation at the University of Kent (Gillingham, Medway).
In this article, she outlines the current knowledge on optimising our recovery by choosing the right recovery drink after training.
If cyclists do not recover properly straight after exercise, there is no point in their training. Without the proper nutrients to refuel the body, such as Carbohydrates and proteins, the performance of the individual will drop.
Timing is absolutely important because the muscle cells in the body are highly insulin receptive after exercise. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates the level of glucose. Insulin is in charge of transporting glucose and the essential amino acids to the cells. This speed up muscle repairs and reduces the breakdown of protein.
It is best to consume a recovery drink 30 to 45 minutes straight after exercise. If this window of opportunity to recover is missed, then the muscles will no longer be insulin receptive.
Depending on the intensity of training, cyclists should be aware of the types of recovery drinks to consume. Working in the gym environment, I often see many people just pick a bottle of drink after exercise without looking at the contents of the beverage.
Some drinks contain too much sugar, which can be distressful for the gut to absorb quickly.
Below are the some examples of the types of drinks:
- Cyclists who perform low to moderate intensity training, they should
consume Carbohydrates and Proteins on a ratio of 2:1 (Carbs:PRO).
For example: approximately 450ml – 600ml of semi skimmed milk with 1 tablespoon of syrup or powder (any flavour). This should contain up to 25g of Protein; up to 48g of Carbohydrates and up to 1g of fat.
- Cyclists who undergo moderate to high intensity training, they should consume Carbohydrates and Proteins on a 3:1 ratio (Carbs:PRO).
For example: 350ml to 600ml of chocolate milk which contains approximately up to14 g of Protein and 35g of Carbohydrates. You can also buy ‘ready to drink’ milk based drinks which contain more Carbohydrates for higher intensity training such as Goodness Shakes, Nestle’s Nesquik.
Remember, the higher the intensity of your training, the more carbohydrates and proteins your body needs. Therefore, the amount and contents of your recovery drink should relate to this. There shouldn’t be an excuse not to recover appropriately. For cyclists who are lactose intolerant or does not like cow’s milk, soy milk is also an option as a recovery drink.