Recovery is a big challenge for athletes that train more than twice a day, work out for prolonged periods, or compete in multiple events.

Recovery goals:

  1. replenish muscle and liver glycogen replenishment
  2. replace fluid and electrolytes (lost in sweat)
  3. rebuild muscle protein

So, what are the optimum strategies for recovery?

Repair & Rebuild

Muscle protein breakdown occurs during prolonged and high intensity workouts. During the recovery phase there is a reduction in catabolic (breakdown) processes and an increase in anabolic (building) processes, which may continue for 24 hours after a workout. Therefore, high quality protein – like whey and casein – is essential. Athletes will benefit from consuming approximately 25g of whey protein in the first hour of exercise. Adding a source of carbohydrate post exercise will further enhance the training adaptation by reducing muscle protein breakdown.


Recovery Snacks 

(50g carb/portion)

  • 700-800ml sports drink
  • 2 sports gels
  • 500ml fruit juice or soft drink
  • 2 slices toast/bread with jam/honey/banana 
  • 2 cereal bars
  • 1 cup thick vegetable soup + large bread roll
  • 115g cake style muffins, fruit buns
  • 300g baked potato + salsa 


Recovery Snacks  

(50g carb + valuable source of protein)

  • 250-300ml liquid meal supplement/milk shake/smoothie
  • 600ml low fat flavoured milk
  • 1-2 sports bars (carb/protein)
  • 2 cups cereal + milk
  • 1 large cereal bar/300g fruit salad  + 200g fruit yoghurt
  • 220g baked beans on 2 slices of toast
  • 2 rice cakes + peanut butter + 250ml milk
  • 300g baked potato + cottage cheese + 250ml milk


Failure to drink sufficient volumes of fluid leads to an overall negative impact on performance. Consume 330-550 ml of water along with electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium) to enhance fluid balance immediately after the workout. Athletes should drink more water than the daily water intake for non-athletes.


Whether moderate (jogging) or high intensity (weightlifting), your body relies on muscle glycogen as fuel for a workout and the inability to replace these stores will impair performance. Carbohydrates are a major source for post-exercise fueling. Athletes should consume between 7-12g of carbs per kg of body weight (350-840 g/ day for a 70kg athlete), including 1-2 g carbs per kg of body weight within the first hour of finishing a workout. This is especially important if the time between prolonged training sessions is less than eight hours.

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