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The One Natural Food that Cuts Recovery Time in Half at the Gym

Gym Training Nutrition Diet

If you don't take the opportunity to replenish your blood sugar and muscle glycogen stores after a workout, forty-eight hours may be needed before these stores are refilled. This is typically the standard recovery time for most fitness enthusiasts, with the second day often feeling worse than the first, but it doesn't have to be this way. You can cut your recovery time in half by simply eating fruit.


How many days do your muscles need to recover after weight training or a cardio workout? If you’re eating a high protein diet, the answer is generally, forty-eight hours. Conversely, if you’re eating a plant-based diet that is high in fruit, you could be back in the gym without the limitations of soreness in as little as twenty-four hours.

One study done on sore muscle relief published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that watermelon fueled muscles and dramatically lessened recovery time. The study looked specifically at the amino acid L-Citrulline to reduce muscle soreness, and watermelon is a fruit rich in this amino acid. Was the study on to something more? Perhaps.

Eating fruit before, during, and immediately after an intense workout is essential to speeding recovery time, especially when the exercise is intense or of long duration.

Watermelon Is Certainly Not The Only Fruit To Aid In Muscle Recovery

If watermelon juice were the only fruit to help with recovery time, it would be offered at every marathon and running race. Instead, it is the highly nourishing banana that makes the race. The banana can aid in muscle recovery after a workout as well as other high sugar fruits such as citrus, grapes and apples.

In other research, a study compared the effectiveness of glucose and fructose feeding on restoring glycogen content after glycogen was decreased with exercise -- a 90-minute swim -- or, a twenty-four hour fast. After two hours of recovery from either the exercise or fasting, there was no measurable glycogen repletion in red vastus lateralis muscle in response to just fructose. In contrast, glucose feeding induced a similar and significant carbohydrate storage after both depletion treatments.

The study concluded that fructose is a poor nutritional precursor for rapid glycogen restoration in muscle after exercise, but that both glucose and fructose promote rapid accumulation of glycogen in the liver. Incidentally, fructose and glucose are the two most abundant sugars found in bananas, and these occur in roughly equal amounts.

Where Can I Find Fructose and Glucose?

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Glucose and fructose are the simplest forms of sugar that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and are naturally present in foods plant-based foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. What is more, glucose and fructose are also the major ingredients in many sweeteners and processed foods, which are to be avoided.

According to Douglas Graham, Author of The 80-10-10 Diet, “eating fruit during long training sessions and directly after exercise, accelerates the replenishment of muscle glycogen, thus optimizing recovery rate.”

Replenishing blood sugar and muscle glycogen stores immediately after a workout is essential, otherwise it could take the standard forty-eight hours until your glycogen stores are refilled -- that’s where you feel two days of soreness, with the second day feeling more intense than the first.

How To Cut Your Recovery Time In Half

You can cut your recovery time in half and replenish the glucose reserves in the muscle by eating fruit in abundance. Bananas are, perhaps, the most perfect food for muscle recovery. Making banana or date milk by blending the fruit with water or combining both to make a banana date smoothie will provide all the necessary sugars, hydration and nutrients you need for optimum sugar uptake after a strenuous work out. Other fruits high in sugar such as pineapples, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit also provide the glucose and fructose necessary for quick replenishing and rehydrating.

Protein Powders Need Not Apply

It is a common mistake to believe you need protein to grow a muscle after a workout, when the reverse is true. Forgo the protein powder in your fruit smoothie. If you’ve added banana, you’re getting protein, as well as manganese, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, biotin, and copper.

Adding protein powder to a fruit smoothie is not only acidic it slows the uptake of glucose into the muscles, impeding recovery time. Protein powers also commonly contain MSG or some form of glutamic acid. http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/free-glutamic-acid-msg-sources-dangersacid, particularly whey protein.

Rest Is When The Magic Happens

It has been said that “Muscles grow on both glucose and rest days.” Glucose is what feeds the muscles, as well as your brain, but rest develops strength. For this reason, adequate rest after each workout will prepare you to get back into the gym the following day. This is why nature created fruit -- the body knows exactly what to do with it. Fruit is complete in that it can multitask at a cellular level providing much needed fructose/glucose to your muscles and brain, while also supplying your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to function and train optimally.