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Swap Pain Killers for a Quick Bite

Swap Pain Killers for a Quick Bite

The motto for many a tough exerciser is “No pain, no gain.”

But, lets all be a bit honest: The “pain” part of that equation is a bit of a pain in the arse. Not ready to admit it? Well, if you have ever tried to sit down on a toilet after a tough leg workout, then the message is probably quite clear. Even if you have not yet come in contact with this quite pathetic experience, constant difficult workouts can take a toll on the body in dangerous ways. Without repair, your muscles will not be able to respond as well during your next workout and you will be at a higher risk for injury.

But what if you could fix it all with a solid post-workout meal?

While athletes of the past believed a carbo-load of pasta and pizza did their body good for a pre-workout snack, new research shows that the reverse action is actually ideal for muscle recovery. Also, doctors say protein should be added to your post workout meal. If vegetarian meals are the name of your food game, then experts say a soy protein-based recovery drink is a great option for a snack. And the protein-carbohydrate coupling is a necessary one—it triggers your muscles to store even more glycogen, a necessary fuel for your body, for use during your next workout.

Follow up your after-workout snack with a real meal within two hours. This continued eating allows you to maintain your rates of recovery for about four to six hours. And even though many exercisers swear by massage, heat, ice and Ibuprofen to thwart muscle injury, doctors say sip on your smoothie or chocolate milk instead. It will make your muscles—and your tummy—happy.

We want to hear from you: What’s your favorite method for workout recovery? [The New York Times]

Posted: 6/3/08