The Role of Nutrition When Recovering from Sports Injuries
If you have incurred an injury and your diet is made of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats then you are on the right track to support your recovery.
I have stayed injury free most of my life. Three years ago, I trained for an Ironman competition in Maryland and was in the best shape and fitness for my 50 something years. The swim was cancelled at that race so even though I was prepared for the race in the back of my mind I still needed to complete a full Ironman so off to the races I went training once again about 2 months later for Ironman Louisville.
I was at the peak of the training but honestly feeling tired and run down. I didn’t feel physically strong because strength training had taken a back seat and on my 90-mile ride. At mile 60 I overcorrected on my bike and went down hard. I fell and ended up with a fractured clavicle. Ironman Louisville was out for me. I was in a sling for 8 weeks with no exercise except to walk. I went into full throttle with supplements because with my functional medicine background I knew certain nutrients, enzymes and minerals could speed up the recovery.
Diet played a key role in my recovery. It included:
Reduced sugar intake (major contributor to inflammation)
Vitamin C, to boost immune system and to help with collagen support
Collagen Type I to support tendons and II for skin, tendon and ligament support
Curcumin to decrease inflammation
Immune support and proteolytic enzyme support which helped with breaking down protein in turn, helping with recovery from the physical stress I had been through.
I Targeted Each Stage of my Recovery
My focus was on decreasing pain by decreasing inflammation and supporting connective tissue.
After I was out of the sling, I began a new exercise regimen. I was beginning Physical Therapy and I needed to support muscle repair. Honestly the curcumin, hops, frankincense, and ginger helped keep the pain low. I took this opportunity to heal and to eventually get stronger.
It took a year for the strength to return, however I’m happy to say I was able to start training for a marathon 3 months later, thanks to a good diet, supplements and of course a great coach!
Fast Forward to Today
I’m currently training for Ironman Florida and staying healthy but I have a specific protocol of supplements for injury prevention as I want to have a strong and healthy race.
Remember each injury is different and the way to heal is to make sure you are taking the correct dose of supplementation as well as the correct nutrients. It’s crucial to target the injury during each stage of healing so making sure your diet is comprised of foods that reduce inflammation and promote healing. Each person and injury are different, and your nutrition and supplement program should be individualized based on your needs.
Why Work with an IFMCP? As an IFMCP, I work with hundreds of individuals to tailor a plan of diet and supplementation to achieve their health goals. Whether the goal is improving a chronic condition or recovering/preventing sports injury, there are specific nutritional protocols to follow. Supplementation is also a key component, especially understanding the proper amount to take.
If you’re an athlete recovering from an injury or want to be proactive to avoid future injuries, consider consulting with an IFMCP.