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How to Fuel Your Body to Recover From Exercise

After exercise, the body has an optimal window of time to consume fuel in order to expedite recovery. Ideally, within 30-60 minutes you should consume protein to repair muscles, and carbohydrate to replenish glycogen (the fuel for your muscles) in time for their next training session. If the recovery window is missed, it can take as long as 24-48 hours to fully replace glycogen stores.


How much protein and carbohydrate should I consume?

General guidelines are 20-30 grams of protein and 3-4x that amount in grams of carbohydrate in order to repair muscle tissue and replenish muscle glycogen stores. (If you’re really serious about the right recovery for you, aim for 0.75-1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kg of body weight.)

By appropriately replenishing glycogen, you ensure your muscles have enough energy to perform. Feeling tired/sore or “heavy legs” is usually a result of inadequate muscle glycogen stores. Improper recovery can also make you more susceptible to injury and illness.


Sample Recovery Fuel Ideas:

  • Greek yogurt with fruit and granola

  • Low fat chocolate milk

  • Beef jerky and sports drink

  • Bagel with peanut butter and jelly and glass of milk

  • Smoothie (fruit and yogurt)

  • Protein powder and sports drink

  • Graham crackers with peanut butter and low fat milk

  • Odwalla protein drink

Be sure to also consume a well-balanced meal 2-3 hours after your recovery snack.



  • 2-3 scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of whole-wheat toast with jelly, and fruit

  • Grilled chicken with a small baked potato and green beans

  • Whole-wheat pasta with marinara or tomato based meat sauce (made from lean beef), and a side salad 

  • Baked fish with brown rice and mixed vegetables

  • Turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread with a glass of low-fat milk, and an apple

  • Grilled chicken on salad greens with low-fat dressing, and a whole-wheat dinner roll

  • English muffin, egg, and cheese sandwich

  • 1 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch with 1 cup skim milk

Just think of how good this will all taste after a good workout! Your muscles will enjoy it as much as you do!

Interested in hearing more from Whitney? Stay tuned for her next two articles about fueling during and after performance, and contact her directly! 

Call (610) 762-0050 or email wjb176@gmail.com

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