Recovering the right way, with real food!
Recovering correctly can determine how you feel hours and even days after your run and how you will feel during your following run. After you are finished running, make sure to get water and food in your body within the first 30 minutes; post-run nutrition is extremely important. You do not need a full meal directly after your workout, just a snack. Your post workout nutrients should consist of protein, liquid, glycogen, and electrolytes.
PROTEIN after you run is important so that your broken down muscles can rebuild themselves. Something to keep in mind though is that if you are running under an hour it's okay that you do not fill up on the snack after your run. It is important that if you had a hard run or a longer than usual run that you rebuild muscles so that you recover quicker, which will make you feel better on your next run.
Many people have protein powder to make there own post workout protein drink with, which is fine but we highly recommend that you check what is in the protein powder you are buying. There are many different kinds but we recommend that you go to your nearest health food store and see what protein powders they have! Many protein powders are highly processes and are full of GMOs, preservatives, and animal products. One of the best ways to get protein in your body is with real foods. A few suggestion would be foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grain bread. Something that is refreshing and beneficial is a smoothie with a scoop of almond butter/peanut butter. Also, one of our favorites is whole grain bread that is toasted then spread peanut butter. These are just examples, feel free to experiment with different proteins that make you feel good!
LIQUIDS after you run is super important because you want to put back into your body what has been lost through sweat. Depending on how far you are running, water might be needed throughout the run. From personal experience we only bring water when we are running over 10 miles. It all depends on the person and once you get to know your body. What we mean is that you can adjust your consumption for how well you can handle water while running. Some people can run fine with a good amount of water consumption during the run, while others will get side cramps and be uncomfortable. If you are doing a long run, a hard run, or a race make sure that you are well hydrated the night or day before you run.
GLYCOGEN is made from glucose, which is a simple sugar that our bodies use as energy. Your body also stores glucose in your muscles as glycogen. Make sure that your post workout snack has carbohydrates in it so that your body can rebuild the glycogen stores that were burned during your workout. Some post workout food that has carbohydrates, as mentioned above in the protein section, toast with peanut butter. Something more simple and easy to bring is a slice or two of bread or some fruit. A slice of bread and an apple/banana have around the same amount of carbohydrates in them. This makes them great for post or pre workout snacks! One of our favorites is to have are a couple bananas.
ELECTROLYTES are very important for athletes, but what are electrolytes? Electrolytes are essential salts that can carry an electrical charge. Electrolytes are extremely important for your body because they are what carry an electrical charge that your muscles need to contract. Every time you move your muscles they contract. Without electrolytes your body would not be able to function.
A lot of electrolytes are lost during exercise when we sweat and work our muscles. It is important to replenish your body with electrolytes after a high intensity run. I say that a high intensity run is one that you've worked hard or were sweating a lot. After doing a lot of experimenting with different types of food and drinks that contain electrolytes we have found that Gatorade is something that we DISLIKE. Yes, Gatorade does have electrolytes in it as shown in advertisements, but it also is full of junk that your body does not need. An example of this junk is the high amounts of refined sugars, and artificial ingredients. If you want to see for your self, go to a store and read the ingredients on the side of a Gatorade bottle.
We found a product called Nuun that we think does a great job with replenishing electrolytes. They are tablets that you put into your water after you workout or when you are working out. Nuun does not contain corn syrup, artificial colors, or artificial flavors. What is so amazing about them is that you can decide which type suites your lifestyle and physical activity and what tastes the best of you!
Obtaining electrolytes naturally from real foods is what we recommend you do! One of the best natural sources of electrolytes is bananas and/or coconut water. Bananas are loaded with potassium, which is an electrolyte. They are great pre or post workout snacks! Coconut water is extremely effective in rehydrating the body because coconuts contain a lot of electrolytes such as potassium. Potassium is what regulates the balance of minerals and water in your body.
Coconuts are something that are not hard to get because of the mass amounts of coconut trees on Kaua'i. Coconut water is one of our favorite drinks that taste great and is also nutritious. Load up a cooler with some coconut water (or coconuts) and ice for a great post run drink!