Regeneration drinks

After a severe physical activity, a high-quality compensation fluid replacement should be a priority. This will result in the establishment of a fluid balance in the body. If physical activity takes place in such environment in which there is a risk of dehydration, it is necessary to know the rate at which the body sweats. The goal is to have planned consumption of liquids so that we do not lose weight by more than 2% (or 1.5 kg for a person weighing 75 kg).

Ideal fluid intake should not affect body weight drop, but this can be very difficult at high-intensity activities.After exhausting training, many athletes drink sports “energy drinks” believe that they will quickly quench thirst and compensate fluids. They do not realize that low-fat or skim milk is a very effective beverage for refilling a part of the liquid. (Karp, Johnston, Teckelenburg and colleagues, 2006). Milk contains electrolytes (as well as all natural foods), which support their retention and result in their balance in the body. Sports energy drinks are drinkable during physical activity, once it’s finished you do not need it.

Drink (240ml) Sodium (mg) Potassium (mg) Proteins (g) Carbohydrates (g)
Skim milk 100 400 8 12
Powerade 55 45 19
Chocolate milk 150 425 8 26
Water

Fact or myth

Do you need to eat immediately after training so that regeneration can be successful?

Fact: It’s true that tired muscles can fastest store sodium within 1 hour of the end of the training, but the muscles increase the saccharide to a greater extent during the next 24 hours. Top athletes who are engaged in some of the following sports should supplement the nutrient reserves as soon as possible, especially if they train two or more times a day:

  • footballers on preparations, who train in the morning and afternoon;
  • swimmers, who have several races during one day;
  • triathlets who train twice a day;
  • basketball players who have to maintain their form throughout the season.

Athletes who train 3 or 4 times a week have enough time to fill glycogen stores in muscles between training, without having to eat immediately after training.


Food in regeneration

If the next training phase starts in 4 to 6 hours, try to eat as soon as possible after the end of the first training session. It is important to plan ahead and have a ready-to-go variant of saccharide. Although some sports commercial foods can brag about the ratio of saccharide and protein 3: 1 or 4: 1, it is not strictly important that this relationship is respected. The basic idea is to eat saccharides supplemented with 10-20g protein depending on your body weight. Thus, the muscles will get a lot of proteins for their renewal. For most athletes it is quite natural (immediately or in the first hour after the end of training) to choose the composition of their food so that they contain the appropriate ratio – if they are not limited by a particular high-protein or low-calorie diet.

If your mass is 75kg, the equation then looks like this:

75kg x 1g saccharide = 75g saccharide = 307.5kcal

75kg x 0.2-0.4g protein = 15-30g protein = 61.5-123kcal

In order to see what it looks like in practice, here are several examples that correspond to nitrite:

  • 3 mixed eggs + a bowl of oatmeal with honey,
  • 5l of chocolate milk + energy bar,
  • an integral bread with peanut butter and honey + yogurt,
  • fruit smoothie (250ml yogurt + banana + mix of forest fruit)

You can eat larger amounts, but it is not recommended, because an excessive amount of saccharide and protein will not benefit the faster regeneration process. Choose the foods that are delicious and which You like. Athletes who train 10 hours a week should bring in 5-7 g / kg of saccharide. Those who train 20 hours a week require 7-12g / kg.

Often, physical stress reduces the desire for food (not feeling hungry). Liquid foods will supplement nutrients as well as solid. Enjoy chocolate milk or juice from fresh squeezed fruits or vegetables. If you feel great hunger then you should not hesitate because there is nothing wrong with a beefsteak, an integral cake, a soup with noodles and glasses of juice or milk. The beefsteak in this case serves as a protein source in a high-sugar meal.

Exhausted athletes are sometimes eating proteins. After many dishes in which the sports drinks and gels are predominant, their body requires more protein. If that is your case, then be free to take the beefsteak – but together with either a vegetable or potatoes , as sources of saccharide.

Electrolytes as an important part of regeneration

By sweating body looses not only water, but also some minerals (electrolytes), such as potassium and sodium, which allow the normal functioning of the body. Half a liter of sweat contains about 80-100 mg of potassium and 400-700 mg of sodium. It can be assumed if you do the harder training, you will be hungry. Therefore, it is likely that you will enter a lot of electrolytes via food in natural form (Table 2 and Table 3). It is not necessary to take additional pills containing sodium or potassium. For example, a marathon runner who drank more than a liter of red orange juice after the end of the race introduced three times as much potassium as he lost through a sweat during a race. Salt losses can be compensate with of a bag of salted feather.

During an activity that lasts longer than 4 hours or during excessive sweating it is great to take an extra amount of salt. Of course, in normal exercise of active people, it is unlikely that they will run out of sodium, although this electrolyte is lost during sweating in huge amounts. The concentration of sodium in the blood is actually increased during physical activity, because more water is lost than sodium. That’s why the first thing to recover after training is the liquid!!! Sodium can be eaten by food, either by eating a meal, or by choosing salty foods such as olives, salted integral crackers or soup.


Groceries Potassium (mg)
potatoes (1 veliki, pečeni, 300g) 1650
yogurt, low-fat (230ml) 530
Orange juice (240ml) 445
Banana 420
Pineapple juice (240ml) 325
Grapes (40g) 310
Beer (500ml) 125
Cranberries and apple juice (240ml) 50
Gatorade (240ml) 30
Coca-cola (360ml) 10
Losses after 2h workout 300

Table 2. Potassium in some groceries.

Groceries Sodium (mg)
Pizza 30cm 1190
Fruit yogurt(170g) 80-130
Chips (20kom) 180
Gatorade (240ml) 160
Beer (300ml) 15
Coca-cola (500ml) 10
Orange juice (250ml) 15-20
Losses after 2h workout 1000-2000

Table 3. Sodium in some groceries.


Do not compensate sodium with commercial beverages that are labeled as rehydration drinks because most of these sports drinks are poor in sodium. These beverages are recommended to drink during the activity, and are very diluted and quickly leaves the stomach. Which do not contain enough electrolytes or saccharides, and they do not even have a high nutritional value if you do not drink them in large quantities. It’s not about quality regenerative beverages because they contain very few electrolytes, saccharides and other nutrients.

The role of vitamins in regeneration

Many think that after exhausting activity it is necessary to compensate vitamins. For this assumption, for now, there is no scientific evidence. Vitamins are not spent during the activities, but are used over and over again.

Some reputable people think that vitamins help repair oxidative damage that occurs during exercise. It is therefore recommended to use antioxidant vitamins (C, E and A). High doses of these vitamins can violate the internal balance of the organism and lead to poor sports results. Therefore, they should not be taken on their own pill-shaped hands. It is more reasonable to use colorful fruits and vegetables that contain balanced antioxidant ratio.

Marko Popin

🇬🇧 Advanced student of medical science and nutrition expert, skyrunner and dog lover.

🇷🇸 Apsolvent medicine i ekspert za ishranu, skyrunner i ljubitelj pasa.

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