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Recovery Nutrition - What's To Drink?

The four R's of recovery nutrition can be obtained through fluids such as water and sport drinks.

Published February 12, 2013 04:38

Recovery Nutrition - What's To Drink?
Samantha Stosur

As an elite tennis player having a recovery nutrition program is vital. After a tennis match or heavy training, your body is depleted of glycogen stores, is dehydrated, muscle tissue is broken down and your immune system is vulnerable. When you do this on a daily basis, you are at risk of not playing optimally, not adapting to your training program, losing in the finals and/or getting sick or injured.

For a hard match or training the nutritional requirements of recovery are: 1g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight; 10-20g protein; 1.5L of fluid per kg of sweat lost and electrolytes. For moderate to easy matches/sessions the balance of nutrients is less.

There are four R's for recovery nutrition. These consist of: Rehydrate with fluids and electrolytes; Replenish your glycogen stores with carbohydrates; Regenerate your muscle tissue with high quality protein and Reinforce your immune system with fresh nutritious foods (fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil).

The four R's of recovery can be obtained through totally or partially by fluids. Fluids include water, sport drink, flavoured milk products and sport recovery drinks. Water and sport drink, however, need to be consumed with food to help obtain the nutritional requirements of recovery, while low fat flavored milk, fruit dairy smoothies and recovery drinks can act independently. These fluids should be cool (60F, 30c), non carbonated, contain sodium, be flavored and low in fat. Sodium is critical for optimal cellular rehydration, low in fat aids quick digestion, cool helps regulate your body temperature and flavored stimulates drinking.

Nutritional Facts of Recovery Drinks

Type - 16oz (1/2L) Carbohydrates Protein Fat Sodium
Sport drink 40 0 0 110
Fruit smoothie 64 10 5 155
Flavored milk 52 16 5 304
Recovery drink 40 8 1 500


Low fat chocolate milk has become a favourite recovery drink for athletes as it has the right combination of carbohydrates and high quality protein; it is low in fat, it has key electrolytes and it is very inexpensive to buy.

When you think of recovery from tennis - think what's to drink!

Thanks to Susie Parker Simmons, MS, RD, MED
Sports Dietician and Physiologist
WTA Sports Nutrition Advisor

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