Good nutrition is important, especially if you engage in high-intensity activities on a regular basis. The right diet can maximise your athletic performance and optimise the beneficial effects of physical activity.

You may have heard that exercise is an inflammatory event. In fact, if you want to get any results from your workouts, some degree of inflammation is necessary.

Exercise induces muscle damage which is defined as an “injury from a mechanical force applied externally”. This causes strain which in return leads to a cellular response and inflammation. Inflammation can both cause injury as well as performance related adaptation.

Muscle soreness and stiffness which are often experienced after a high-intensity activity are caused by inflammation. 

In order to prevent injury while gaining the benefits of muscle strengthening post-workout, it’s crucial that you refuel your body with essential vitamins and minerals to promote cell repair, cell regeneration and healing.

After a gruelling workout, your glycogen stores are depleted and you need to consume carbohydrates to replenish them. You also need protein to help with muscle repair and muscle growth. However, it’s important to choose foods that are rich in phytonutrients. The anti-inflammatory components and antioxidants in plant foods promote faster recovery which prevents DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) and sports injuries. This way you can train more often and stay competitive longer.

I find smoothies a great post-workout snack.

Below are 2 smoothie recipes. I recommend the “Green Recovery Smoothie” after a rather light training session whereas I find the “Beet Smoothie” (inspired by Dr Loomis’ recipe) rich and recommend it after a high-intensity workout.

GREEN RECOVERY SMOOTHIE (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grapes
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1 pear (cored)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

 

BEET SMOOTHIE                               (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium beet (boiled)
  • 2 cups tart cherry juice
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • a dash of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Maca powder

 Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.