During exercise we damage our muscles. Protein assists in the growth and repair of these muscles, allowing our bodies to recover from training and games, but also increasing muscle size and strength.
Recovering from a game includes replacing fluids lost in sweat,, refuelling depleted muscle and liver glycogen stores, and manufacturing new muscle protein and cells. Liquid options are best immediately after training and games; the best recovery fluids are sports drinks, protein shakes, mineral water, fruit juices and plenty of cold water. Liquids should be followed by a more nutritious and filing meal option that includes carbohydrate, protein and other nutrients.
The role of protein
Protein is in all the cells in your body and provides the building blocks for muscle growth. Getting enough protein in your daily diet is important because it helps your body repair older cells and produce new cells.
What to eat after a game and why?
Post-match nutrition should include a snack and fluids, followed by a carbohydrate and protein meal to aid the recovery process. Suitable recovery foods for immediate consumption include yoghurt, fruit (bananas, pineapple, oranges, watermelon), flavoured milk, protein shakes, Winners protein bars, sandwiches and rolls.
Protein – The Facts
- Muscles are made from protein, if you eat too little or use up too much during excessive exercise your muscles will begin to break down.
- Protein alone does not increase muscle growth; it helps repair and restructure muscles after physical activity such as resistance training.