Ok we are injured, sidelined almost certainly unhappy and frustrated in equal measures. Well we are where we are so lets deal with it!
LETS LOOK AT NUTRITION.
Athletes are normally very good at focusing on nutrition when in serious training but most times overlook the importance of it when “on the bench” through injury. Probably the first thing that enters an athletes mind when injured is “will I put on weight”, a fear of getting fat due to inactivity. Well whilst that is a possibility we need to look at the facts and myths surrounding that.
Before doing at that, I want to just touch on the mental side of nutrition/eating when in recovery. We all know our mental state has a direct influence on our physical ach of us has different reactions to setbacks. If we are in a bad place mentally this can manifest itself in abnormal eating patterns.
It is important to see our nutritional intake as part of the overall strategy of returning to fitness, an integral a part of the team that we have surrounded us with as our doctor, physiotherapist, coach etc.
See more on the mental mindset required for recovery here
Ok back to a couple of myths.
FIRST, not exercising will lead to fat. Not true. Of course if you keep tucking into the same pre injury high calorie intake, whether to cope with depression, boredom or because of habit you will gain weight. However your body should respond to its new non-training status. Your desire to eat should naturally become proportional to the calories being expended. If it doesn’t, take control.
Lets not forget that around 65% of calorie intake by a moderately active person is required just to keep the bodies metabolic functions running. The recuperating athlete needs a healthy excess of clean calories to aid efficient recovery.
SECOND, muscle turns to fat. Not true. Yes the muscle will atrophy and will need to be rebuilt during the return to fitness phase of your recuperation. Muscle adds weight not fat.
Quality food within a balanced diet is essential and can be enhanced with carefully chosen supplements.
Meals and snacks should always be taken five times per day.
Found in: Lean meat, low fat dairy products, legumes, tofu, fish and poultry.
Quantity: 20-30 grams per serving.
Supplements: As your body needs an amino acid boost during recovery, protein shakes which include Creatine and L-Carnitine can be indicated. Always look for
L-Carnitine as it most closely resembles the natural Carnitine produced by the body.
Found in: Canola, Flax seed and olive oils, nuts, avocados. Omega 3 oils in fresh fish particularly tuna and salmon and mackerel.
Quantity: Fresh fish meals taken 3-4 times a week. Avoid processed fish as it often includes undesirable hydrogenated oils in the packaging, which can hinder the healing process by increasing inflamation.
Supplements: Omega 3 1000mg capsule are available in various combinations and permutations. However a word of caution laboratory tests conducted in the United States by Labdoor showed all fish oil capsules tested to contain mercury.
Found in: Whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Quantity: insufficient quantity of carbohydrate in our diet can cause to the body to burn proteins instead. This will hinder the healing process. Eat some form in every meal or snack.
Home made vitamin drinks and smoothies are a great and fun way to easily boost the intake of the anti-oxidents that help to reduce inflammation. Always use colourful fruits and vegetables. Carrots, spinach, strawberry, pineapple and blueberries can all bring out your creative side when inventing your drinks smoothies. If you don’t feel creative there is lots of help online.