Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Defeating Muscle Soreness

As I am surrounded by sports people for the majority of my day it's inevitable that I am constantly asked for advice.  But that's what I love, the chance to go off and do a bit more research and to be able to help somebody with a simple solution - and that's the great thing about nutrition, normally the solution is quite simple, it's just a matter of doing it!
So this week, one of my fellow Masters students (who was clearly suffering from over-training, as he couldn't walk in a normal manner!) asked me what he could do nutritionally about Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, otherwise known as DOMS.
As with most things there is not one magic pill to cure all, but a planned diet may certainly help in relieving some of the soreness, which is mostly due to mechanical and oxidative stress.
Protein is an important component of the diet and is involved with almost every structural and functional component of the human body.  In general, exercise may affect the need for dietary protein by increasing the oxidation of amino acids.  Protein rich foods include eggs, fish, lean meat, lentils and beans, so be sure to include these regularly into your diet.  Antioxidants help counter oxidative stress, so including lots of colourful fruit and vegetables into the diet is also important for athletes.
The timing of nutrient delivery is also important for resistance and endurance athletes, with the first 40 minutes post-exercise being the time when your body is ready to absorb and replenish stores of nutrients it has used.  Replenishing nutrients is imperative to ensure your body is ready for the next training session or race - without replenishment your body will not recover to its' full strength.  Having a bag of dried fruit and mixed nuts and seeds in your sports bag will ensure you are never without food straight after training, follow that within two hours with a healthy protein rich meal such as this delicious Salmon recipe - 

Salmon with Lentil and Roast Vegetables

Serves 4

250 g butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 x 400 g can green lentils, drained
4 x 150 g salmon fillets
40 g watercress

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C(400°F)Gas Mark 6.
  • Place the butternut and peppers into a roasting tray and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, the cumin seeds and seasoning and toss together.  Roast for 25-30 minutes.  Just before the end of cooking time, stir in the lentils to warm them through.
  • Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and pan-fry the salmon steaks for 3-4 minutes each side.
  • Divide the watercress between four plates, spoon over the lentils and vegetables and top with the salmon.
If you need an even quicker protein fix, cook yourself a tortilla filled with colourful peppers and herbs - the left-overs can be taken to the gym for after your next training session!

Happy training.

J x

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