Your body is at a simple level a machine for converting food into energy. The more energy you use the more food (fuel) you will need. The harder you train, the more fluids you require to rehydrate. You need to be able to plan what you will eat immediately after training and your nutrient and fluid intake over a longer period. You have choices to make and it is vital that managing your nutritional and fluid intake is part of your overall training plan. With careful planning you can eat food and intake fluids that not only make you feel good but also help you perform to your full potential when it really matters. Food = Fuel Rowing uses up energy and that energy needs to be replaced by replacing food (fuel). Making sure you have the right mix of fuel at the right time is essential. Fuel comes in three basic forms: Carbohydrate Protein Fat All of which are important to Rowing. Consuming carbohydrate replenishes the carbohydrate (glycogen) stores When carbohydrate is consumed after training the hormone insulin is released in response. The insulin 'drives' the carbohydrate and protein (as glucose and amino acids respectively) into the muscles enhancing recovery. Carbohydrate will also go via the liver to help normalise blood sugar levels and 'feed' certain immune cells. Protein intake is also needed to provide the ingredients (amino acids) that will help repair muscle damage, replenish red blood cells, enzymes and provide nutrients to allow the immune system to repair the damage caused by exercise. Within 15 minutes of exercise or competition you should aim to: Consume carbohydrate rich foods and drinks Drink to replace fluids lost in sweat Include a small amount of protein: e.g. from milk Include electrolytes, especially sodium (salt) The amount your consume depends upon your body weight and the training type (i.e. light, medium or heavy) How much does my body need? Carbohydrates: 1g - 1.5g per kg of bodyweight immediately after heavy training / competition 0.5g per kg of bodyweight immediately after light training Protein: 0.1g - 0.2g per kg of bodyweight immediately after heavy training / competition 0.05g - 0.1g per kg of bodyweight immediately after light training. Think about .....how you have refuelled after training today. How might this need to change? Take a look at the attached "Snack chart" for some guidelines about which snacks are best for you. Remember A recovery snack should not replace a main meal but be an additional part of your diet. The ARA states that protein powders and supplements should not be used You may have heard of carbohydrates being complex or starchy. More recently they have been referred to by their Glycemic Index or GI Factor. This is the degree to which the amount of glucose rises in your body after eating different kinds of food. Carbohydrates that breakdown quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic indexes. The blood glucose response is fast and high. Pure glucose is given the number 100 and all other foods are given a number relative to the effect of glucose on the body. Low GI = 55 or less Medium GI=56-69 High GI=70+ Low GI foods should be eaten prior to excercise, to provide a prolonged release of energy. High GI foods (which should be eaten after exercise) will provide a quick insulin boost that will aid recovery by ensuring the muscles are replenished with fuel quickly. However you need to consider whether other nutrients are present in the food. Carbohydrate intake should not be the exclusive focus of your recovery plan. Although it is generally agreed that more research is needed to understand the effects of GI, it is a useful source of information for planning your food intake. Perhaps more important than the Glycemic Index of food, is whether the source of carbohydrate is solid or liquid. After heavy training, liquids will also provide essential fluid and you might find them easier to take than solid food. For example, to obtain 50-65g of carbohydrate after training you would need to eat/drink one of the following: A pint of Ribena or a "Gulp" or "Frijj" milkshake or 4 medium slices of bread or 2 pieces with at least 4 teaspoons of jam or 200g cooked pasta (3 good handfuls of dried pasta) Remember It is good practice to plan and record your snacks and recovery meals. Snacking For Success Nutritious Carbohydrates Carbohydrates that are high in fat Refined carbohydrates Breads and bread rolls - particularly wholemeal varieties Garlic bread Cheese-stuffed pizza bases Sugar Breakfast cereal Crisps Jelly babies and jelly beans Potatoes, thick cut chips Pretzels Thin cut chips and French fries Jelly Low fat flavoured milk and milk smoothies Yoghurt and yoghurt drinks Luxury ice-cream Lower fat ice-cream and sorbet Pasta, rice and noodles Chocolate Sports drinks Fruit -tinned, dried and fresh Cakes, especially fancy and cream filled varieties Soft drinks e.g. coke, lemonade Fruit juice Flapjacks Fruit juice drinks Lower fat fruit-containing biscuits e.g. fig rolls, garibaldi Biscuits Low fat biscuits e.g. Jaffa Cakes Pure fruit spread Chocolate spread Honey, jam, marmalade Lower fat, bread-like cakes such as Currant buns, scones, bagels, malt loaf Pastries e.g. Danish pastries, croissants Meringue Marshmallow Breakfast bars and some muesli bars Chocolate covered health bars Some sports bars Baked beans These foods and drinks provide essential nutrients in addition to carbohydrate. For example bread will contain a small amount of protein and, if wholemeal varieties are eaten, bread will provide nutrients such as B Vitamins and magnesium, which are needed in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. These nutritious carbohydrates are low in fat e.g. fruit or lower in fat than similar foods e.g. a currant bun will be lower in fat and higher in essential nutrients than a croissant. These foods are excellent general snacking foods. Carbohydrates that are high in fat - be careful These foods do contain carbohydrate but they are high or higher in fat. Although some fat is important, these foods do not provide a good type of fat and generally contain few of the other essential nutrients needed for health and performance. Care must be taken not to overeat these foods as you may fall short on essential nutrients that may affect your immune system or you may struggle to control your weight. Refined carbohydrates - plan their use for fast and convenient recovery These are foods and drinks that are low in fat, but are high in sugar (sucrose) and glucose. Too many refined carbohydrates are not good for overall health and performance, but in a carefully planned diet, they can be included by athletes to help meet high carbohydrate requirements for training and competition. Sports drinks such as Lucozade Sport, Powerade and Gatorade drunk before during and after a long or intense training may help the immune system and certainly help offset fatigue in a long training session.