Recovery Nutrition

I really emphasize hydration first and then food:

The top priority after completing endurance exercise is to replace body fluid. Dehydration can affect performance if more than 2% of body weight is lost during an exercise event. For example, that equates to a three pound loss for someone weighing 150 pounds.

Drinking about 2 cups (16 ounces) of fluid for every pound lost while exercising is a common method for reestablishing hydration status.  Although there are more complicated calculations for determining body hydration levels, a quick and easy method is to check urine color.  The goal is to maintain a lemonade or light yellow color for optimal hydration.  The darker the color of the urine means the greater the likelihood that dehydration is present.

The first 30-45 minutes after exercise is the best opportunity to refuel glycogen muscle stores and repair muscle damage.  Muscles will soak up carbohydrates like a sponge during this time frame.  Foods containing carbohydrates with a moderate amount of protein (about 10-20 grams), such as chocolate milk, instant breakfast drinks or a fruit smoothie, helps muscles repair and reduces post exercise muscle soreness.

You want to make sure that the carbohydrate amount is about 3 times more than the protein amount in whatever you consume (i.e. that is why chocolate milk is touted as the "perfect" recovery drink).  You can use food sources as well: lunch meat or nut butter or egg sandwich; yogurt with granola and fruit - it's just not as easy as something to drink if you are away from home and haven't prepared something in advanced.

For strength training activities, there is a little more emphasis on protein intake and you don't need to follow the 3:1 ratio mentioned above.  It's a big misconception that you need a ton more protein though.

Thanks for the excellent information Stephanie, a dietitian at
SB NutritionCheck out her page for more information and tips on diet and exercise!   She is also a fellow Boston Marathon Runner that I had the opportunity to meet, too. ;)

How Do You Handle the Pain?

Yesterday was one of those busy days, I didn't have much time to properly nourish, and today I am paying the price. Nutrition pays a HUGE role in recovery. I always try and get my carbs in after a run and my protein in after resistance training, all while keeping my water intake high. But today, I am feeling the muscle pain and soreness. I had done both resistance training and running with no time for rest or recovery in between. ( I don't suggest doing this)

I had done 2 hours of personal training with my clients, we did a lot of kettlebell training which is excellent for a total body workout. Plus your core is engaged the entire time and the movements help get your cardio going too. It felt great, but I am sore today.

Here are a few tips on muscle pain and recovery:

1. Always try to stretch and foam roll after your workout, or at least after you have warmed up. Stretching gets the blood flowing to the muscles and helps begin recovery. Foam rolling helps to loosen up the fascia around the muscles and works out any knots.

2. I also like to soak in a hot bath with Burt's Bees Bath Salts which helps release the lactic acid and ease sore muscles.

Burt's Bees Therapeutic Bath Crystals, 1 Pound

3. I use Traumeel on my sore muscle areas. First, I massage it into the muscle, then I apply moist heat to help it absorb into the muscles faster.  I have been using Traumeel for eight years now and I find it really helps, especially during marathon training and racing. It is great for: sports injuries, repetitive use injuries, sprains, backaches, muscle aches, and bruises in addition to minor arthritis pain and muscle inflammation.

Traumeel Pain Relief Ointment, 3.53 Ounce

4. After a long run, I soak in an ice bath. I fill the bath with cold water and ice and I sit in it with only my legs covered by the icy water for about 15-20 min. "The general theory behind this cold therapy is that the exposure to cold helps to combat the microtrauma (small tears) in muscle fibers and resultant soreness caused by intense or repetitive exercise.  The ice bath is thought to constrict blood vessels, flush waste products and reduce swelling and tissue breakdown. Subsequently, as the tissue warms and the increased blood flow speeds circulation, the healing process is jump-started. The advantage of an ice bath submersion is that a large area of intertwined musculature can be treated, rather than limiting the cold therapy to a concentrated area with a localized ice pack." (

5. After a long run or marathon, I put on Lunatik Athletiks compression socks as soon as possible. Especially if I have been doing a lot of hills and my calf muscles are sore. Compression socks help bring blood flow to the muscle and increase the healing.

Use Coupon Code CMHF to receive 20% off your order.

Remember to train smart and take time to properly recover so you can get back out there sooner! ~coach Jody #crossmyheartfitness

How Much Time is Needed Between Marathons?

This question came up in the book "Run Less Run Faster." Here is their answer.

"Some individuals recover more rapidly than others. The differences in recovery are influenced by the intensity of the effort and the weather conditions, running in warm conditions when a lot of fluids were lost slows recovery.

We are aware of individuals who have run marathons every week of the year. One runner who contacted us had run marathons for more than 50 months consecutively. In all sports, there are individuals who have special abilities.  These individuals may have special recovery capabilities. However, their constant racing may prevent their attaining an optimal performance.

For most individuals, we believe that running more than two marathons per years risks their being overtrained, injured, and prevented from the proper preparations needed for a solid performance. We realize that sometimes, runners enter a marathon with the attitude that it is a long training run; thus it does not entail the same stress as an all-out effort, and the recovery needed will be shorter. However, a marathon is still 26.2 miles of running. Even if you do not run up to your maximum capability, you still need a recovery from the biomechanics stress.

Marathon training is stressful, even with our method that emphasizes recovery, so be cautions about jumping right back into the next marathon training cycle. After the post-marathon recovery month, we recommend two to three months of serious training before beginning the next 18 week marathon training preparation. The time off provides a break from the mental stress associated with the marathon preparation.  It is also a good time to run a shorter race and capitalize on the strong base built for the marathon."