The importance of nutrition strategies is crucial to meeting energy needs during hard periods of training. A failure to do so can result in muscle loss, reduced performance, slow recovery, risk of fatigue, illness and injury.
It goes without saying that a varied and healthy diet is essential. But let us look specifically at the roles of carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates are an important fuel for exercise. The more active you are and the greater your muscle mass, the higher your carbohydrate needs. They help delay fatigue and increase your endurance. The amount you need depends on the intensity and duration of exercise and is unrelated to body size.
Proteins are the building blocks for new tissue and the repair of body cells but will only provide a small fuel source. They help to compensate for the increased muscle breakdown that occurs during intense exercise. Timing and the amounts are crucial when promoting muscle repair and high quality sources are better. Many people are eat high protein diets in the belief that this leads to greater strength. It is only through exercise, and not extra protein, that muscle growth occurs. In fact most of the population, sporty or otherwise is already believed to have too much protein in their diet. It is not harmful, but will only be broken down into urea, which then eventually is simply excreted from the body.
A combination of protein and carbohydrates is the most effective way in promoting recovery and that milk is a near-perfect recovery drink, in terms of glycogen, muscle replenishment and for rehydration. Studies have shown that consuming 500ml of milk after training can even help with alleviating the symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness.