How to speed up recovery immediately after a workout

By Kaye Lopez | Photo by rawpixel/Unsplash

Here’s how to take advantage of the 30-minute glycogen window or the critical first 30 minutes after a workout when your muscles repair damaged tissues and replenish your glycogen stores.

1. During the first 30 minutes immediately following a workout, your body is most capable of absorbing and replenishing fuel depleted during strenuous activity.

2. A proper balance (4:1 ratio) of carbs and protein consumed during this time immediately replaces glycogen stores and provides protein needed to repair damaged muscles.

3. This brief time frame is also when cortisol, a stress hormone, levels are at its peak. Proper post-workout nutrition reverses this as well.

4. Your recovery meal or snack should contain 70 to 100 grams of carbs and 20 to 25 grams of protein.

5. Most specially formulated recovery drinks will do the trick but if you don’t want to spend extra money on those, chocolate milk is a great alternative.

6. If your workout or race lasted two hours, short-term recovery continues for the same amount of time.

7. Fruits and starches like potato, pasta, rice, and bread with a moderate amount of protein are good options.

8. If you have a hectic schedule, pack a small bar, a piece of fruit, a hard-boiled egg, a carton of chocolate milk, or some nuts so you can start the refueling process as soon as you can.

9. Even as simple as rehydrating with water or sports drink is better than nothing.