Once exercise ends, an athlete's job isn't finished yet -- preparing for the next game or practice begins with first properly recovering from the last one.
While taking time to decompress and do things unrelated to sport is also important, following good recovery practices is crucial, and it doesn’t need to be complicated or too time-consuming if you follow these basic tenets of a good recovery plan.
Heavy focus is often put on what to eat and drink before a game and how much to sleep the night before. But after the final whistle has blown at a practice or competition, we tend to forget that those three things are just as important afterwards, too.
Food: While nothing beats a post-game ice cream cone, a more optimal recovery meal contains quality carbohydrates (grains, breads, rice, fruit) and protein. Eating a meal like this an hour or so after exercise will allow the body to recover and replenish itself efficiently. An easy go-to snack that follows these guidelines and tastes great is chocolate milk and a banana, or a fruit smoothie. For some more ideas, check out our quick guide to post-game nutrition.