Your cart
Free Two-Day Shipping and Lifetime Warranty Free Two-Day Shipping and Lifetime Warranty

The Important Relationship Between
Nutrition, Fitness, and Recovery

What Foods to Eat to Recover Better From Tough Workouts

The Important Relationship Between Nutrition, Fitness, and Recovery

What Foods to Eat to Recover Better From Tough Workouts

Nutrition & Recovery

Often, when people set out to get fit, they focus on fitness only. They become laser-focused on the pursuit of getting stronger, faster, fitter — and allow indispensable factors take a back seat.

One of those indispensable factors? Nutrition.

Your food choices make or break your ability to recover from workouts and hit the gym harder next time. Read on to find out why.

What to Know About Nutrition

Food is everything. Nutrition should be the foundation of your health and fitness pursuits, not the cherry on top. What you eat dictates your mood, your sleep quality, your energy levels, your productivity, and so much more.

How Nutrition Affects Workout Recovery

Your day-to-day diet indisputably impacts your body’s ability to perform essential functions, including holistic recovery from workouts.

What to Know About Nutrition

Food is everything. Nutrition should be the foundation of your health and fitness pursuits, not the cherry on top. What you eat dictates your mood, your sleep quality, your energy levels, your productivity, and so much more.

How Nutrition Affects Workout Recovery

Your day-to-day diet indisputably impacts your body’s ability to perform essential functions, including holistic recovery from workouts.

Products rich of carbohydrates. Healthy diet food on a white wooden table.

Good Nutrition
Lowers Inflammation

As much as exercise is a good thing, it’s still a stressor on your body — especially if you perform high-intensity, high-impact, or long-duration workouts. When you lift heavy weights or run a 10K, your body endures physical stress and hormones like cortisol increase.

You can control whole-body inflammation with your diet, especially if you attune your post-workout nutrition to that purpose. Anti-inflammatory post-workout foods include nutrient-dense carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, whole grains like oatmeal, and fruit. A combination of quick-digesting carbs (fruit) and slow-digesting carbs (whole grains) will set your body up for efficient recovery.

Your nutrition is important during more than just the post-workout period, though. Fuel yourself with lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds to ensure your body is functioning optimally before, during, and after workouts.

Good Nutrition
Helps You Sleep

If you consume a lot of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods, you might be sabotaging your sleep. This is a problem when it comes to workout recovery, because sleep quality and duration directly affect how well your muscles recover from exercise.

To enhance your sleep quality, limit foods and beverages that keep you up at night. Eating heavy meals too close to bedtime can ruin sleep by causing indigestion; alcohol may help you fall asleep faster but often causes sleep disturbances; sugar may cause jitters, anxiety-like symptoms, or headaches; and caffeine causes sleeplessness for obvious reasons.

Tired young woman sleeps well in soft bed with white sheets. Female teen peacefully resting with eyes closed in bedroom, enjoys sweet dreams. Perfect conditions, comfortable good night sleep.
Fit young athletic woman stretching arms and shoulder joints on embankment. Fitness female in pink leggings doing warmup workout outdoor.

Good Nutrition
Speeds Up Muscle Recovery

If you provide your body with the right nutrients, your body will use those to your advantage. Protein, carbohydrates, and fats all serve different but important purposes in the nutrition-fitness continuum. Follow the three “Rs” of workout recovery nutrition: refuel, rehydrate, rebuild. Refuel with carbohydrates, rehydrate with water and electrolytes, and rebuild with protein.

Products rich of carbohydrates. Healthy diet food on a white wooden table.

Good Nutrition
Lowers Inflammation

As much as exercise is a good thing, it’s still a stressor on your body — especially if you perform high-intensity, high-impact, or long-duration workouts. When you lift heavy weights or run a 10K, your body endures physical stress and hormones like cortisol increase.

You can control whole-body inflammation with your diet, especially if you attune your post-workout nutrition to that purpose. Anti-inflammatory post-workout foods include nutrient-dense carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, whole grains like oatmeal, and fruit. A combination of quick-digesting carbs (fruit) and slow-digesting carbs (whole grains) will set your body up for efficient recovery.

Your nutrition is important during more than just the post-workout period, though. Fuel yourself with lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds to ensure your body is functioning optimally before, during, and after workouts.

Tired young woman sleeps well in soft bed with white sheets. Female teen peacefully resting with eyes closed in bedroom, enjoys sweet dreams. Perfect conditions, comfortable good night sleep.

Good Nutrition
Helps You Sleep

If you consume a lot of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods, you might be sabotaging your sleep. This is a problem when it comes to workout recovery, because sleep quality and duration directly affect how well your muscles recover from exercise.

To enhance your sleep quality, limit foods and beverages that keep you up at night. Eating heavy meals too close to bedtime can ruin sleep by causing indigestion; alcohol may help you fall asleep faster but often causes sleep disturbances; sugar may cause jitters, anxiety-like symptoms, or headaches; and caffeine causes sleeplessness for obvious reasons.

Fit young athletic woman stretching arms and shoulder joints on embankment. Fitness female in pink leggings doing warmup workout outdoor.

Good Nutrition
Speeds Up Muscle Recovery

If you provide your body with the right nutrients, your body will use those to your advantage. Protein, carbohydrates, and fats all serve different but important purposes in the nutrition-fitness continuum. Follow the three “Rs” of workout recovery nutrition: refuel, rehydrate, rebuild. Refuel with carbohydrates, rehydrate with water and electrolytes, and rebuild with protein.

Section

Things to Consider

Things to Consider

There’s no arguing that good nutrition is critical for fitness and recovery. But, it’s important to realize that stricter isn’t necessarily better. Overly restrictive diets can lead to a strained relationship with food, which may backfire on you later.

Here’s a rule of thumb we find helpful at Ekrin Athletics: Choose mostly whole, nutrient-dense foods that make you feel good and energetic, but allow yourself to enjoy less nutrient-rich foods when the time is right.

There are no “good” and “bad” foods — just more nutrient-dense and less nutrient-dense foods — and they all have a place in a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle.

Learn More About Nutrition and Exercise Recovery

  • 5 Ways to Accelerate Post-Workout Recovery
  • How to Recovery From CrossFit Workouts (the Right Way)

References

  • Mielgo-Ayuso J, Fernández-Lázaro D. Nutrition and Muscle Recovery. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):294. Published 2021 Jan 20. doi:10.3390/nu13020294
  • Beelen M, Burke LM, Gibala MJ, van Loon L JC. Nutritional strategies to promote postexercise recovery. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2010;20(6):515-532. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.20.6.515
  • Lee EC, Fragala MS, Kavouras SA, Queen RM, Pryor JL, Casa DJ. Biomarkers in Sports and Exercise: Tracking Health, Performance, and Recovery in Athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(10):2920-2937. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002122

Keys to Recovery

Sleep

Massage

Rest

Supplements

Stretching

Keys to Recovery

Sleep

Massage

Rest

Supplements

Stretching