“Anything is possible with hard work.” Tegan Fourie (SA Under-21 Hockey Player)

There’s nothing worse than struggling through hockey practice, or worse a game, with a sometimes-debilitating pain from your last workout or from an injury. While plenty heart, soul and hard work goes into achieving hockey success, young players needn’t feel disheartened. We share the ABC’s of understanding muscle recovery and what players (and parents) can do to speed up this process.

Addressing muscle recovery

When we exercise or play sport, we damage the cells in our muscle fibres causing muscle soreness or “stiffness”.

While our bodies have a natural recovery system in place, controlled by protein and hormones, to ensure that our cells are replaced and recover well enough to handle that activity better, there are a few things players can do to help this process. A combination of rest after practice and healthy eating are key to speeding up the recovery process.

But first things first

Plenty of hydration and a nutrient-rich diet are very important when it comes to recovery. However, players should remember that you should first rehydrate after practice before attempting to eat a snack – your body won’t want food straight after exercise.

Cook up the right thing

The idea behind eating for recovery is to replace the nutrients lost in exercise through perspiration and to increase the supply of nutrients that feed the recovery process. Here are the key nutrients needed for a faster recovery that you can incorporate into your pre- and post-workout snacks.

  • Protein – an energy source which helps to repair muscle tissue.
  • Antioxidants – helps prevent free radical damage to your muscle cells.
  • Water – prevents cramps, fatigue and dizziness.
  • Potassium – helps prevent muscle cramps.
  • Omega 3’s – helps prevent inflammation.
  • Carbohydrates – whole grain sources are a good energy source.

Looking for some delicious, healthy, protein-packed meals? Try this Protein-Packed Burger for lunch or dinner. It is packed with lean protein and healthy fats as well as a good dose of antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids to balance your recovery the healthy way.

Serves 4



  • 30g quinoa
  • 125ml chicken broth
  • 60g Butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 can black beans, well rinsed and drained
  • 2 raw beetroot, finely ground/ grated
  • 5ml cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 Tsp paprika
  • 5ml worcestershire sauce
  • 45g raw pecans, finely chopped
  • Handful of flax seeds
  • Salt & pepper
  • Whole wheat hamburger rolls


  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt (Non-fat, 2% or Whole)
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, pushed through a garlic press or finely chopped
  • Generous pinch of salt


  1. Cook the quinoa in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat, then sauté the chopped onion for several minutes, until they start turning translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté for another five minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the black beans.
  5. Using a potato masher (or a food processor), mash the beans until mostly mashed. Try to maintain some texture for the burgers.
  6. Add the beetroot, spices, Worcestershire sauce, chopped nuts and flax seeds to the burger mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Preheat the oven to 190˚C.
  8. Place the burger mixture in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes – the mixture should firm.
  9. In the meantime, line a baking tray with baking paper.
  10. Once burger mixture has firmed in the fridge, remove from fridge and shape into four uniform patties and place on baking tray.
  11. Brush the top of the patties with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Turn the patties over, treat the other side with olive oil and bake another 20 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, make the topping by mixing together all the topping ingredients.
  14. Assemble the burger and enjoy.