We all know the story – long day at work, maybe time to grab something quick for dinner before dashing off to a 2-3 hour practice in a sweaty arena, right?
Yeah, that’s pretty much every practice day.
And how often do you find yourself starving after your skate session is over, and looking to eat whatever is closest and easiest? I won’t name names, but I definitely have had some teammates over the years who’ve taken full advantage of Whopper Wednesday after every Wednesday practice!
And I can ‘t really blame them. It’s really important to refuel after burning through your energy resources in the way that a tough derby practice can. But what do you need to eat, and how can we make it easy?
Here’s the science behind post-training nutrition:
When we exert ourselves, our muscles use up stored glucose, called glycogen. Exercise also creates small tears in our muscles. To repair the damage and glycogen depletion, we need to eat the right foods at the right time.
The most important components of a post-practice meal are carbohydrates and protein. Protein gives your body the amino acids it needs to rebuild your muscle proteins and helps build new muscle tissue. Studies have suggested that 20-40g protein post-training is a good target.
Carbs help to build back your glycogen stores (and make you feel less spent). Replenishing your carbs is especially important for folks who are training every day or more than once a day (or playing in multi-day tournaments). You can aim for about 100g carbs after a heavy training session.
What About Fat?
While fat might slow down the absorption of your post-training meal, it won’t diminish the benefits. Good fats, like Omega-3 eggs or fish can still be a part of your after-derby chow-fest.
It doesn’t have to be exact, but science suggest that eating within 45 minutes of heavy training will optimize your gains.
What to Eat
When you’re on the road heading to and from practice, the last thing you want is to come home and cook a big post-derby meal. It can be totally simple to fuel right after derby – you can even bring some easy snacks to practice with you to eat on the ride home. Here are some easy options that you don’t need a fork and knife for –
Portable Carb Snacks:
- Chocolate milk
- Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi)
- Rice cakes (add nut butter for some extra protein)
Portable Protein Snacks:
- Protein Shake
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Protein bar
- Trail Mix
And what can you make after you get home?
- Chicken (or other lean protein) with cooked veggies on the side
- Egg omelet with avocado toast
- Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread
- Salmon with sweet potato
- Oatmeal with protein powder, fruit and nuts
- Cottage cheese and fruits
- Pita and hummus
- Greek yogurt, berries and granola
- Quinoa bowl with berries and nuts
Just some ideas to get you started – but as long as you have some healthy staples in your fridge all the time, eating healthy after practice can be super easy! Also, make sure you hydrate properly!
And what should you avoid after practice?
- Raw veggies on their own: Veggies are great, but they’re too low-cal to help you rebuild. Pair them with some yogurt dip, nut butter or hummus.
- High-fat fast food: Any benefit from the food will be way slowed down by all of the bad fats that fast food contains.
- Salty snacks: Potassium is key to your recovery (it’s a more important electrolyte than sodium) and it too is depleted by training. Know what depletes it more? Chips.
- Bacon: Sorry dudes. It’s okay in moderation, but again the sodium and fat content don’t make it the best option.
- Sugary sweets and sodas: Sure they might taste good, but they don’t offer anything that helps you rebuild your body. If you want a sweet treat, stick to fruit.
What’s your favourite post-practice meal or snack? We’d love to hear from you!
Leave a comment below and let us know your favourite post-practice nosh.