• Blog Series: The How-Tos And Whys Of Nutrition On Race Day: After

Contributed By: Jessie at Full Pursuit Health

Post Race Nutrition

Welcome to Blog Post #3 in our series on Race Day Nutrition! If you'd like to brush up on pre-race nutrition check out the blog post here, or if you'd like a refresher on during-race nutrition needs click hereWith Nutrition being 90% of the training equation, not eating right is the nutritional version of skipping leg day. By discussing pre-, during, and post-race nutrition (and most importantly, hydration), we hope to guide you into creating better habits to help you peak on race day.

To set your body up for optimum recovery and muscle repair, what and when you’re eating are both incredibly important. Just because you went to the gym and put in the work, does not give you an excuse to pig out, just like skipping meals after a workout (for cutting purposes) can be just as harmful

So Post Race Nutrition: What's It All About?

Generally, post-workout nutrition has three specific purposes:

1. Replenish glycogen and enhance the role of insulin in transporting nutrients into cells (via carbohydrates)
2. Decrease protein breakdown
3. Increase protein synthesis (via protein)

In other words, nutrient dense nutrition post-workout creates the environment for:

  • Improved recovery
  • Less muscle soreness
  • Increased ability to build muscle
  • Improved immune function
  • Improved bone mass
  • Improved ability to utilize body fat

All in all, a post-workout routine should include:

1. Fluids to rehydrate
2. Carbohydrates to refuel (approx. 30-45g)
3. Protein to repair (approx. 15g)
Remember: Teamwork Makes The Dream Work on your post race nutrition needs: the magic of protein synthesis happens when you combine protein and carbs. They depend on each other to complete the entirety of their duties – most importantly, increasing the restoration rate of muscle glycogen stores. When carbs or proteins are insufficient the body cannot do this and will start to breakdown those muscles you just worked so hard to build, in order to meet your body’s basic energy requirements.

Because Science

A review in the Journal of Sports Medicine found that muscle-building hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormones, tend to show up in the bloodstream about 15 to 30 minutes after a workout.

Why is this important? The right combination of carbs and protein during this time helps stimulate muscle repair, rebuilding and growth. Studies have shown that you can actually train your body to break down less and stimulate more of the building when the right nutrients are consumed. Rebuilding happens through the breakdown of old, damaged muscles (aka protein breakdown) and the construction of new muscular tissue (aka protein synthesis). What this means is that it’s super important to make sure we have enough new/raw materials available for protein synthesis to occur in the timeframe when it needs to happen, so it doesn’t lag behind protein breakdown. Without the proper food (in a timely manner), your body is not able to optimally repair itself. 

When it comes right down to it, you can improve protein synthesis in two ways...the power is yours!!

  • What You're Eating: Make sure you have those protein/carb dense specific nutrients in the bloodstream to increase the rate of protein synthesis. By doing this, we improve the ability by having more blood circulating more rapidly and having more nutrients in that blood. As a reminder, the general guideline is 15g protein : 30-45g carbs. Different things work for different people, so be sure to try out different options (before race day). Some products that Fierce Gear OCR carries which might work well here are the Munk Pack Protein Cookie (18g protein: 34g carbs) or the Picky Bar (7g protein: 28g carbs)
  • When You're Eating It: Have those new/raw nutrients available shortly after a workout (when the blood flow is increased) ensuring it reaches the skeletal muscles faster. So on race day, get over to bag check and grab your post race fuel of choice within 15-30 minutes...then take your awesome photos and grab that beer (more on that below!)
If you’re not hungry for a full meal right after your workout another great option is to ingest a liquid form of the protein carb combo. A protein shake or smoothie with this combo of nutrients rapidly increases digestion and absorption and can jumpstart the rebuilding process faster. It’s also better tolerated during and after exercise. Check out Rebuild Recovery by Tailwind, available in vanilla and chocolate, which has a great ratio of 10-11g protein: 43g carbs. Studies also suggest that certain specific (natural) fruit juices (such as watermelon juice and cherry juice) can reduce muscle soreness after exercise. The VitalFit Tart Cherry Capsules, made 100% from the skins of tart cherries, are proven anti-inflammatories that help with muscle soreness. For a list of some great smoothie recipes using the Tart Cherry Capsules to prevent muscle soreness, click here

...So What About That Post Race Beer??

I know everyone's asking the free post race beer question!! What harm could it do right? We all love to celebrate after a race with that free beer. We earned it right? Well...yes and no...and here's why: Before we knew the importance of post race nutrition and hydration, we drank our free beer with pure bliss (ignorance is bliss right?), but the truth is athletes actually shouldn’t be consuming alcohol during the recovery period. Alcohol delays the restoration of glycogen and can be harmful to both future performance and muscle growth. 

After a sweat session, you've prepped the body to accept new nutrients to refuel and rebuild any kind of damaged muscles, and to replace any glycogen that’s been used up. We’ve damaged tissues at a cellular level and need proper fuel to rebuild. If you’re fueling that rebuild with junk, such as that post race beer, you can expect to see similar results in your next workout and could be potentially taking steps backwards as far as your training goes. If you must have the post race beer (and we know some of you must!) aim to get some protein and healthy carbs in your system about 15-20 mins beforehand.


So, if you’re ready to perform instead of just getting by and skipping the nutritional version of leg day, I personally recommend doing it slowly and work on creating habits sustainably. For more information, and to learn more about nutrition and personalized coaching for Obstacle Course Racing and Endurance Sports success please visit us at fullpursuithealth.com and feel free to reach out to me personally with any questions. - Jessie@fullpursuithealth.com.


Thinking about having your Macros calculated? Full Pursuit Health is offering Fierce Gear OCR followers a 50% discount for a full macro breakdown! 


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