Eat Like a Pro: Post-exercise recovery
England Squash Performance Nutritionist Ollie Turner shares a quick smoothie to make on court recovery smoother
Banana and berry smoothie
Preparation time = 2 minutes; Cooking time = 1 minute
Energy (Kj) = 2087kj
Energy (Kcal) = 497Kcal
Fat = 16g
– of which saturates = 5.7g
Carbohydrates = 63g
– of which sugars = 60g
Fibre = 7.7g
Protein = 21g
Salt = 0.54g
The banana and berry smoothie is the ultimate recovery strategy as it encompasses the four pillars of recovery: Repair, Refuel, Rehydrate and Repel.
When you exercise, you get little microtears in the muscle as a result of contractions. Protein helps repair and rebuild the muscle so consuming a source of protein post-exercise helps reduce soreness the following day, meaning the muscle can produce more force and greater speed on court. This is predominantly found in the form of the milk and yogurt in this recipe. These can be swapped for soya milk and yogurt for a plant-based alternative which provides a protein source.
Squash is a high-intensity sport with carbohydrates being the body's high-intensity fuel. Approximately 60–90 minutes’ worth of squash will fully deplete carbohydrate stores in the muscle so if you are exercising at a high-intensity the following day, it's important to get a source of carbohydrate immediately post-exercise to ensure you have enough fuel in the tank. Muscles store carbohydrate more effectively when consumed immediately post-exercise in comparison to the hours following. By blending the banana and berries, the carbohydrate is absorbed more quickly, making you ready for the next session.
Squash players have been shown to lose up to 3 litres of fluid per hour during match play, although it is more common to see sweat rates of 1-2 litres per hour. As a result, it’s important to consume fluids post-session to rehydrate. If you don’t replace the fluid you have lost on court, this can reduce the water content of blood, reducing blood flow and increasing feelings of fatigue. The milk provides some fluids, while the berries and banana also mainly compromise of water.
The lunging demands of squash can cause inflammation in the muscle. This can cause an intense soreness which can last for a few days (you may have experienced this after your first match back!). Polyphenols, which are found in berries have been shown to reduce this inflammation, meaning that the muscle can produce more force in the following bouts of exercise - this can increase your speed and lunging ability on court.
- 1 banana (approx. 100g flesh)
- 15g of almonds
- 15g of honey (for a plant-based alternative use maple syrup)
- 150g of frozen berries
- 200ml of semi-skimmed milk (or plant-based milk)
- 150g of natural yogurt (or plant-based yogurt alternative)
- Mix all the ingredients into a food processor
- Blend for roughly 30 seconds until smooth