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Recover and Refuel with Plant-Based Nutrition

Written by Jessica Duffin

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Posted on August 06 2019

 

When training for your chosen physical practice, nutrition becomes an integral part to ensuring that you can keep progressing and reaching your personal targets.

If you do train to push the limits of your body, making sure that it is sufficiently fuelled to both perform and recover is important.

In an age where an emphasis (and possible exaggeration) for constant protein intake is marketed and selling very well in terms of building performance and recovery, it is also wise to look towards the other nutrients that you can include in your daily diet to help you recovery faster.

Whether you are on a training high, or working your way back from an injury, plant-based nutrition, or at least adopting more elements of a plant-based diet, can arguably improve your recovery around training.

Here are some tips and food groups that you can look to include more of for your best shot at a full and fast recovery after training. 

 

Recovering and Maintaining Energy Stores

The handy thing with eating a plant-based diet is that a lot of the time it tends to be higher in carbohydrates due to our protein sources being beans, legumes and wholegrains.

Unless you follow a ketogenic diet (high fat, low carb), then this is great news as carbs are very easily processed in our body for energy.

When we head into an intense workout, we use our bodies’ energy stores, damage our muscle tissues, and then after our body attempts to repair them. In order for us to get stronger, fitter and more muscular this needs to happen, but this repair requires fuel.

Ground Nutrition’s Advice

If you are looking to maintain your bodyweight or gain muscle from an intense workout (weight, interval or endurance training lasting longer than 45mins) try taking a sip on a protein and carb mixed drink with water throughout the session.

This will prevent your body from using too much of its stored macronutrients for energy, thus keeping yourself fuelled and ready to go.

Drink mix – No need for a fancy/expensive pre-workout:

  • 30g of carbs – Table sugar, blended oats or oat powder will work here 
  • 15g of protein – hemp, brown rice and pea protein powders will provide you with a full protein profile
  • 500ml water
  • Adding 5gs of BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) can support new muscle growth and maintain a state of muscle protein synthesis too.

Post-workout:

This is where you will want to refuel your body with all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals it will need as it recovers.

If you are hungry enough for a whole food meal after your workout, head for a dish that is going to give you enough protein (20 grams+) and carbohydrates to aid protein synthesis and rebuild the body’s energy stores.

A plate of seitan, tofu or tempeh with wholegrain rice or quinoa will be an excellent start. Then add in your colourful vegetables and leafy greens to get yourself some extra vitamins and minerals. 

B12, vitamin D and Iron all support recovery and aid energy levels.

 

Injuries

If you have recently been injured, understand that Inflammation is important as it starts the process of recovery in that area. But also be wary that too much inflammation can cause further damage.

Fats can be your friend here, but make sure they’re the right kind.

Also keep in mind that fat has a higher caloric value (9 calories per gram) than that of carbohydrates and protein. So if you are including more fats in your diet to help with inflammation, and you can’t progress with your training as you normally would, make sure you don’t overeat if you would like to stay away from gaining excess bodyweight.

Ground Nutrition’s Advice

Include more anti-inflammatory fats and foods:

  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Mixed nuts and seeds

Increase inflammation managing herbs and spices:

  • Curcumin - 1,500 mg daily and 60 mg of black pepper extract per day (many supplements come with this blend already)
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic or 600-1200mg of aged garlic extract daily
  • Bromelain from pineapple or 500-1000mg in supplement form daily

Eat less pro-inflammatory fats / food: 

  • Processed foods high in saturated fats
  • Vegetable oils
  • Foods with trans fats (typically cakes, pastries and fast foods)
  • Sugary and alcoholic drinks 

As always, keeping your food intake as whole and unprocessed as possible is always going to reign supreme for your health and training.

A balanced diet, sleep schedule and strategic ‘down-time’ away from training should always be at the foundation of your workouts, before your start looking at adding in supplements.

Always start from the ground up.

Guest contributor - Jack Morgan – Founder of Ground Nutrition   

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