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Promoting recovery

Being an athlete in the new millennium means pushing yourself hard and long—striving to go beyond your best, using training, science, will power, skill, everything you’ve got, and holding it all together until the finish. And then doing it all over again.

Rehydration

Even if you have consumed fluid exactly to plan before and during an exercise session—whether competition or training—you are still likely to finish the session with some degree of dehydration. This is particularly true for prolonged and intense sessions in a hot environment, where sweat losses exceed your fluid intake. However, dehydration may also be expected in short events during which you’ve had little or no opportunity to drink. Ideally, you should aim to fully restore such fluid losses by your next workout or event

Amount of fluid

Simply drinking a volume of fluid equal to the fluid deficit at the end of an exercise session won’t fully restore fluid balance. After all, you keep on sweating and producing urine during the recovery phase. Depending on factors such as the type and timing of what you consume, you may be good at retaining this fluid or you may waste a lot in unnecessary wee stops.

Type of fluid

On the face of it, any drink should help to restore fluid levels. In practice, some fluids are better at doing this than others—and in some situations, speed is the name of the game. Your net fluid gain is effectively the difference between the amount of fluid you consume and the volume of urine you produce afterwards. So when you want to rehydrate, you need to balance the incentive to drink a fluid against your body’s ability to retain it.

Conclusion

Finally, when you get home after training or competition you may be looking to boost your fuel intake again. When it’s late and you’re tired, or a lot of time has passed since your session finished, you need to be organized enough to prepare a quick meal. Breakfast-type meals are quick and easy. Sandwiches and toasted sandwiches/waffles are also speedy—provided you have some tasty and nutritious fillings available.

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