Different Breed Nutrition

Post Workout Nutrition

August 23, 2023 // Liza Smith

Why Eat after a workout

Focusing on recovery is one of the most important and often overlooked aspects of proper sports nutrition.

An effective nutrition recovery plan supplies the body with the right nutrients at the right time.

Recovery is the body’s process of adapting to the previous workload and strengthening itself for the next physical challenge.

The key nutritional components of recovery are:
Carbohydrates to replenish depleted fuel stores.
Protein to help repair damaged muscle and develop new muscle tissue.
Fluids and electrolytes to rehydrate.

A full, rapid nutritional recovery plan supplies more energy and hydration for the next workout or event, which improves performance and reduces the chance of injury, meaning we become fitter and improve our endurance.

Rapid recovery is especially crucial during periods of heavy overload training and anytime two or more training sessions happen within 12 hours 

When to start replenishing carbs

Training will generally deplete muscle glycogen.

The first 30 minutes or so after exercise provide the best opportunity for nutritional recovery due to factors such as increased blood flow and insulin sensitivity, which boosts cellular glucose uptake and glycogen restoration. 

To maximise muscle glycogen replacement, you should consume a carbohydrate-rich snack within this 30-minute window. Ideally this should include foods providing 1.0-1.5 g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight. Since it can be difficult to eat whole foods so quickly after exercise liquid and bar supplements may be useful and convenient choice. 

For endurance athletes especially, if you are going to do another intense session within 24 hours you should ideally repeat this carbohydrate load for 2-hour intervals for up to 6 hours, 

Consuming smaller amounts of carbohydrates more frequently may be the way to go if the previous recommendation leaves you feeling too full.

Now on to Protein

Recovery nutrition is essential for muscle tissue repair and muscle growth. Whether you’re focusing on endurance or strength training – or both, taking on protein after your session provides the amino acid building blocks needed to repair muscle fibres that get damaged and promote the development of new muscle tissue. 

As a rough guide, as protein requirements vary from person to person, consuming 15-25 g of protein within 1 hour after exercise can increase the muscle rebuilding and repair process and help you achieve those all important strength gains. It will also help those trying shift, or maintain, their body composition from fat to lean muscle and can be worked into a calorie restricted diet. 

Effective Rehydration

Pretty much all weight lost during exercise is fluid, so weighing yourself (without clothes) before and after exercise can help gauge net fluid losses. Knowing this is something recommended for endurance athletes especially. 

Be sure to replace fluids gradually and not by gulping down an entire litre of water as soon as you are done. The recommendation is, over the course of 4 to 6 hours drink 1/2 a litre of your chosen recovery fluid or water for every pound of weight lost. 

It is essential, for performance levels, to properly rehydrate before your next exercise session. If your sessions are an hour or less as low to moderate intensity than water should suffice. However, if you are in hot or humid conditions, or undertaking long or high intensity sessions you will likely find rehydration more effective if sodium is included with the fluid and food consumed. 


As with effective pre workout nutrition, post workout nutrition will need personal experimentation regarding the best fluids and foods to deliver the necessary nutrients. 

Everything here is a guideline, a recommendation and a starting off point. There are no exact hard and fat rules that suit every individual.

Pay attention to how you feel during your sessions. Notice when you feel like you have no energy to being with or when you book really quickly on your runs and/or rides.

Play around with timings and quantities until you hit upon what really works for you and your body. 

About Liza Smith

Liza: The Endurance Expert – Unlock Your Peak Athletic Potential!

Dedicated to endurance, particularly in extreme events like Ironman, OCR and Ultras, Liza stands out not just as a coach but as an emblem of determination and tenacity.

With a reputation for moulding winners and transforming raw potential into prowess, Liza is the top pick for those aspiring to reign supreme in their sport.

Liza’s coaching philosophy centres on the power of the mind. Her five pillars – Control the Controllable, Find the Positive, Focus on You, 100% Effort, and Extreme Ownership – guide athletes to both mental and physical excellence.

Whether you're just starting out or vying for the gold, Liza ensures your hard work delivers results. Train with Liza and unleash the ultimate athlete within you.

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