If you have read the white paper offered on the website, you have a strong understanding of the 7 biggest challenges associated with recovering from ACL surgery. This is an important first step in optimizing the recovery process, because you are now armed with the information needed to know what you’re up against.
In this post, we will focus on a few ways that diet and proper nutrition affect ACL recovery and can help overcome some of the challenges highlighted in the white paper. My hope is that with this additional information, you’ll be motivated to not only get after it with your exercise routine, but also in the kitchen, to truly optimize all facets of the ACL recovery process.
If you’re an athlete, you’ve likely put in years of hard work building the perfect physique for your sport. And you may be chomping at the bit wondering how much of that muscle mass you’ll be able to retain throughout the recovery process. In general, the body loses about 0.5% of muscle mass per day due to disuse atrophy. In order to put yourself in position to maintain as much muscle as possible, make sure you are doing the following:
- Consume as many calories as you expend (give your body the energy it needs).
- Target at least 90% of your weight (lbs) in grams of protein each day.
If you’ve read other posts on our blog about how to optimize exercises during the ACL recovery process, you know that we place a lot of focus on…focus. Strive to go into each and every exercise session knowing what you intend to accomplish, what will prevent you from accomplishing it, and then focus like heck to achieve your intentions.
One surefire way of NOT being able to focus during an exercise session is by not giving your body enough fuel through proper diet and nutrition. When you are hungry or lacking energy, you simply will not be able to get the same amount out of your exercise sessions. Conversely, proper diet and nutrition will set you up for more productive exercise sessions.
One of the most limiting factors in the timeline associated with ACL recovery is the graft-tendon healing process. In order to heal, the body NEEDS the building blocks to “print” new tissue. When you optimize your diet, you are providing the body with these building blocks.
Think about the food you put in your body as the “ink” in a printer. You are trying to print a complex, colorful mosaic, so it’s important that your printer has everything it needs for it to turn out properly. Hitting the protein target above and supplementing with Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids can all facilitate this process.
Inflammation is one of the first barriers that needs to be overcome after surgery to start increasing mobility and strength in the affected leg. What’s generally considered a “healthy” diet will also help to manage inflammation.
Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are all safe bets here – the higher their anti-oxidant activity, the better. Foods that are processed, have a high amount of added sugar, or are extremely greasy should generally be avoided in order to optimize inflammatory conditions in the body.
Hopefully, this information gives you all the motivation you need to not only get after it in the rehab room, but also the kitchen. As always, please feel free to comment below with questions or suggestions for additions!
Reading to the end of this article tells us that you are highly motivated to optimize the ACL recovery process. As a reward, you have gained free access to this report on the 7 most significant challenges associated with ACL injuries and surgery. Just click download to claim yours.