Written by Elsa Chu, P. Dt.
Elsa is part of Coast to Coast Nutrition - an Instagram page dedicated to helping Ultimate players navigate their nutrition
Proper recovery habits will help you get your muscles ready for the next workout as fast as possible. Proper cooldown and rollout methods will help a lot with getting you back to 100%, but you may be surprised to know that eating properly after exercise can impact your recovery.
The most important thing to remember is to eat protein and carbs after you exercise—at least 20 grams of protein to stimulate maximum muscle recovery when pushing your muscles. If the exercise is very straining, depending on your body weight/composition, you might need more than 20 grams. Depending on the type of exercise you’ve performed, you’ll want to either match your protein with a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates, which will refuel the energy burned. Cardio and other endurance training requires 60 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein, or 3:1 carbs to protein. Weight or stop-go training that involves short bursts of activity requires 2:1 carbs to protein, or 40 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein. Because ultimate typically involves short bursts of high intensity, a 2:1 carbs to protein meal or snack is recommended after a game.
The last thing to consider is timing. The sooner you eat after exercise, the more effective food will be. It’s not always possible to eat right after working out, for logistical reasons or because you don’t have an appetite, but don’t put off refueling for more than 60 minutes after exercise. Even a small or liquid snack can make a difference. Eating at the right time will decrease microtears, increase bone strength, and promote weight regulation.
In short, any foods that match the recommended ratio of protein to carbs following activity will aid recovery, but here are our recommendations for some easy and quick snacks that will keep you operating at the top of your game.
For your next post-workout snack, try some of these foods that are super easy to find but packed with the right stuff to help you recover fast.
2 Cups of Chocolate Milk (3:1)
This can be soy or dairy, but the milk will provide protein, and the added chocolate will top up the carb count. Portable and convenient, this snack can travel with you in your bag, car, or locker. Soy milk doesn't need refrigeration, so it can live there, too.
1 Bagel + 1 Can of Tuna or 2 Eggs (2:1)
This sandwich can be made at home or ahead of time and will serve as a large snack to tide you over until your next meal.
Yogurt Parfait (3:1)
We recommend 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt with 1 cup of fruit, topped with some granola and honey. This snack contains a few more ingredients to prepare but adds some variety and nutrition.
Protein Bar (2:1)
Check labels to make sure your bar contains 20 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbs—don't worry so much about the sugar amount, as that counts under carbs, after all!
Protein Smoothie (2:1)
Combine one scoop of protein powder (or 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt) with 2 cups of fruit for an easy, light smoothie right after exercising.
These are just suggestions, and they should not be substituted for full meals. Remember that your body is unique, so stick to foods that agree with you. These are just snack ideas, designed to work between meals. If you want more info on nutrition for ultimate athletes, check out our Nutritional Guide for Athletes, or follow Coast to Coast Nutrition on Instagram, who provided the nutritional expertise for this blog post. Huge thanks to them, and please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns!
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