30-Minute Recovery Window

In this coaching topic, we’ll focus on the important 30-minute window of opportunity to speed-up your recovery. After a strenuous workout of an hour or more, the body is very ready to bring in nutrients for a faster recovery.

Enhance your body’s recovery process by consuming carbohydrate and protein-rich beverages and foods within 30-minutes following endurance exercise. This 30 minute window of opportunity are when the muscles are most primed to synthesize glycogen. Target a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Consume 200-300 calories within this recovery window. Below are some examples. Experiment and learn what works best for you.

Recovery Drinks

  • sports-drink (PowerAde, Gatorade, etc.)
  • chocolate milk
  • fruit/vegetable juice
  • meal-replacement beverage

Recovery Foods

  • banana with honey/peanut butter
  • fresh fruit
  • yogurt or cottage cheese
  • bagels
  • energy bars
  • rice cakes or low-fat crackers with hummus or bean dip
  • turkey sandwich
  • low-fat cookies (Fig Newtons, graham crackers, gingersnaps, etc.)

Post-Workout Guidelines

Carbohydrates are the primary fuel for training and performance. Athletes will typically consume approximately 60% of calories from carbohydrates each day. High-protein diets may decrease endurance performance.

Minimize post-workout fatigue and speeds up your recovery. Consume 200 or 300 calories within 30 minutes. Carbohydrate and protein should be consumed within 30 minutes of exercise and again two hours later. High fluid intake is recommended post-workout to promote rehydration. Post-workout foods such as Bran muffin and a cold glass of milk; tortilla filled with grilled chicken, salsa and low-fat cheese; slice of leftover veggie pizza; sports bar and 8 oz. of juice.

Fluid Needs

For long distance endurance events, be sure you have drank adequate fluids on a daily basis (2-3 liters of water or more). Drink 16-ounces two hours prior to your run. Drink another 8 ounces 15-30 minutes prior to exercise. Drink 4-8 ounces every 15-20 minutes during exercise according to a schedule. Drink 16-ounces for every pound of body-weight lost after exercise. Water is adequate for exercise lasting 60 minutes or less. Sports drinks containing no more than 8% carbohydrate concentration may improve performance during exercise exceeding an hour. Thirst is not a good indicator of hydration status as you are already approximately 1% dehydrated when you begin to feel thirsty.