Meeting Nutrient Needs After a Workout

Many athletes think about what they are eating before exercise to improve performance, but they don’t realize that what they eat afterwords affects recovery time and muscle development.  If carbohydrates are consumed immediately after a workout, they can enhance the rate that glycogen stores are made.  Use the following as a general guide if you exercise hard for 90 minutes or longer:

  • Consume 0.68 grams carbohydrate/pound immediately after exercise
  • Eat an additional 0.68 grams carbohydrate/pound 2 hours later

Including protein in the post workout meal can help to build and repair muscle after both endurance and resistive-type exercises.  The most effective way to build muscle after a workout is to eat small doses of protein repeatedly during the recovery period.  You can use the following as a guide:

  • 0.45-0.9 grams protein/pound/hour

For fluid needs after exercise, refer to Hydration for Athletes.