Nutrition for recovery: what should I eat to prevent injury and recover quickly?

posted Nov 14, 2020

by Mohit Pabbi

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Do you enjoy and active life? Are you a keen athlete or sportsperson who exercises regularly? Being side-lined by injury can be a frustrating experience. Stress fractures, muscle strains and pulls are par for the course if you push your body to the limits. You can reduce the risk of injury and speed up recovery if you do get hurt by ensuring that you get the right nutrition. At The Sweat Coach we are very aware of the need for proper nutrition when exercising.


Avoiding injury

It is always best to avoid something in the first place rather than trying to fix it after the event. That philosophy definitely applies to sports injuries. The RunnersConnect website has an excellent article on this written by Coach Jeff. He summarises the two main causes of injury in runners as being some form of structural imbalance. A leg being shorter than the other is a good example or a major weakness in one muscle group. The other cause of injury is when the body isn't ready to perform at the level that the runner feels that he can. Essentially, the muscles and organs may be able to run at a certain pace. The structure of the body though is not ready yet. An example given is shin splints where a runner feels that he can keep on running further and faster. He is not getting out of breath anymore. However, his shins are not ready yet for the extra pounding they are getting on these longer and faster runs. Painful shin splints are the outcome.

A diet for injury prevention should include low fat proteins - the basic construction material for muscle. Fruits and vegetables are also important to provide fibre, vitamins and other nutrients. The final key element is water - hydration is key to so many of the body's processes. Calcium is important too. It makes for stronger bones and the athlete will need lots of outdoor work to boost the Vitamin D that is needed to utilise the Calcium.


Avoiding injury isn't all about diet though. Wearing the right clothing, particularly footwear. Increasing the intensity of exercise over a period of time. Having adequate rest breaks from exercise to allow your body to recover. Stretching before and after a workout. Breathing using the diaphragm to maximise the oxygen available for recovery. These all add up to a package of measures that will reduce the risk of serious injury. The great thing about having a fitness coach at a local gym is that they can guide you through this process. They will help you with your diet. They will make sure you take the physical measures to stay healthy as well.


Recovering from injury

Very few sportspeople can claim to have never had an injury of some sort. It goes with the territory. Hopefully, by following a few simple rules, you will be back on the track in no time at all.


One of the first things to do when you get injured is to rethink your calorie intake. You will not be burning up the energy for a while so cut back on your carbohydrates. Concentrate on foods that will keep your body fat low and focus on the nutrients that will help you recover quickly. Healthline.com suggests:


  • Protein with every meal through the day to reduce muscle loss. There is also some evidence that an increase in protein during injury may speed up the increase in muscle mass once you start training again.
  • High Fibre foods are good - vegetables, nuts, fruit, wholegrain. They will prevent body fat increasing during your recovery period.
  • Vitamin C helps us to make collagen - a building block of skin, tendons, and muscle. It also contains antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory. Sweet peppers, tomatoes, oranges and broccoli will all help you get fit again. Vitamin C is a very common nutrient and there are a lot of leafy greens and fruits that are good sources.
  • Foods rich in omega 3 fats. Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), walnuts and chia seeds are good for this. Omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory and will speed up recovery. Omega 6 fats, however, are the opposite so reduce your intake of sunflower oil, corn and soy products.
  • Zinc is vital to repairing soft tissue injuries and wound healing. Fish, shellfish and meat are all good sources of zinc. It is also found in nuts, seeds, pulses and wholegrain products.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D go together as you cannot absorb the Calcium in your diet if you do not have Vitamin D with it. We all know that Calcium is important in forming healthy bones and teeth. It is also important in the way that muscles work and how the body sends signals through the nervous system. Dairy products are an obvious source of Calcium but you will also find it in broccoli, leafy greens and sardines. Vitamin D gets into our system through sunlight. Spend time outside in a sunny garden to shorten your recovery.
  • Creatine may help recovery by reducing muscle loss whilst you cannot train. Meat, fish, eggs and poultry are all sources of creatine. A 20g dose of a supplement (split into four through the day) may be beneficial.
  • Glucosamine is found in the fluid around joints and it helps in the creation of ligaments, cartilages and tendons. It can be extracted from shellfish and a few grams a day may help to speed up recovery from strains or broken bones.
  • Minerals, vitamins and other compounds that will speed up recovery of fractures. Magnesium, Silicon, Vitamins K1 an K2, Boron, Arginine and Inositol are all important in the repair of fractures. A properly constructed recovery diet will include foods rich in these substances. That way, you'll recover quickly and be stronger for it. Wherever you are in Surrey, the Sweat Coach fitness team will have the expertise to get you back up and running as soon as possible.

Conclusion - avoiding injury or recovering from injury

If you want to find personal trainers in Surrey and you live in Guildford, Woking, Epsom and Ewell, Farnham, Haslemere, Dorking or Reigate and Redhill, get yourself down to the best gyms in the area - The Sweat Coach Ltd. You will find personal trainers who can help you with your diet as well as your exercise plan and your pre and post workout routines.


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