The goal of nutrition post-performance is to restore the bodies fuel stores and provide the nutrients required for muscular repair and recovery. The nutrients needed are: water, carbohydrates and protein.
Athletes sweat at varying rates, but it is important for an athlete to know their sweat rate and to replace any fluid lost during competition. Athletes can calculate their sweat rate by weighing themselves before and post-performance and keeping track of the fluid they consume. They can then subtract their end weight from their pre-performance weight; minus the fluid consumed to find how much sweat they lost during the competition. Athletes should then consume all the fluid lost over the first hour post-event and then continue to maintain hydration.
Carbohydrates are consumed in order to restore glycogen stores that have been lost in both muscle and liver. Initially high GI foods can be eaten, but a large meal of complex carbohydrates 1-2hrs post-performance is recommended. This will help replace glycogen stores. Further carbohydrates will need to be consumed over 24-48hrs in order to restore and possibly increase glycogen stores.
Protein should be consumed 1-2hrs post-performance to help repair damaged tissue. This is particularly important for power and strength based activities and contact sports, where body tissue is frequently damaged. The protein consumed is used by the body to repair the damaged tissue and may help strengthen the tissue to avoid damage next time.
In addition to this, a good sleep is vital for recovery. The body repairs itself and recovers during sleep. Sleep is still THE BEST recovery strategy available.