I recently got a chance to sit down with Dr. Julie Herman, M.D., an internal medicine physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
1. Have a beer
You've worked hard today. You deserve a beer.
I knew I liked this doctor. But make sure that after your beer, you consume a generous amount of water. A sports drink with electrolytes also would be beneficial. Proper hydration after a skiing workout allows your muscles to rebuild properly and maintains circulation (bringing essential nutrients to your muscles and the body's other tissues). Multiple research studies have shown that when you are dehydrated, you are not able to exercise as strenuously and your muscles take longer to heal. So drink up!
2. Soak in a hot bath or hot tub
Taking a refreshing soak in a hot tub (or a hot bath if you are not staying in the chalets in Courchevel) relaxes your muscles and helps remove the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles following skiing.
The heat of the bath also increases peripheral circulation in your body (more blood flow to muscles, joints, and skin), which helps rebuild any strained tissues and cells in these areas. It's also thought to be beneficial to perform light muscle massages in the bath and to stretch after your soak. However, people with circulation/heart problems should consult their doctor first before taking hot baths or using hot tubs. Pregnant women should not take hot baths. But otherwise, enjoy and relax some hot water!
3. Eat protein
Eating foods with protein gives your body the fuel needed to rebuild glycogen (energy) stores that are lost from your muscles during exercise.
Protein consumption also increases the amount of amino acids available to the body for rebuilding and drives your metabolism to increase muscle buildup. Protein consumed through diet and food is usually more bioactive and effective than protein supplements. Foods high in protein consist of meats, milk and dairy, eggs, beans, nuts, and legumes.