Nutrition for Post-Workout Recovery

By Texas Boesch, BS, NET

For athletes of all ages, abilities and activities, recovery is as important as working out. There are many things you can do to help aid the recovery process, which will in turn, help improve your performance.

tex(2)Let’s start with the basics, the healing treatment called RICE.  You have no doubt seen this acronym that stands for rest, ice, compress and elevate.  Why are they important?

Rest:  Your body needs adequate rest, it is as important as your workout.

Ice:  Icing any inflamed joints or muscles reduces pain and swelling.

Compress:  Compression wear has come a long way, and studies show that wearing compression sleeves and/or socks can combat fatigue and speed recovery.  (RecoFit Compression Gear offers a variety of compression products, so do yourself a favor and invest in some.)

Elevate:  Helps to alleviate any swelling and/or leg discomfort by relaxing so put your feet up.

Another important factor, and one that is often overlooked by many athletes, especially age-groupers, is post-workout nutrition. How and what you eat after working out is as important to your results and recovery as your physical training itself.  Timing and macronutrient ratio are two critical factors to consider when refueling post-workout.

Brendan Brazier, a Canadian endurance athlete, author, advocate of a vegan diet, and creator of the Vega line of food products and supplements, believes that a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is the most effective combination of macronutrients to support glycogen replenishment immediately post-workout. So when should you refuel? In the 20 minutes immediaolive_hearttely after your workout, when your body is most open to restoring lost glycogen. Focus on high glycemic, glucose-rich carb sources, such as dates along with a small amount of protein. Tasty examples to try:

  1. 1/4 cup of nut butter with 3/4 cup of apple and banana slices or dates.
  2. High protein salad with plenty of vegetables, and high protein seeds, pseudograins and legumes (such as quinoa, peas, lentils and pumpkin seeds).
  3. Smoothies made with fruits, leafy greens and nuts/seeds, nut milks or nut butters.

I always recommend getting your nutrition from whole food sources rather than powders, bars and supplements. Treat your body like the finely tuned machine that it is. Fuel it with high quality whole foods. Don’t let a hard workout be an excuse to over-indulge just because you have expended the calories.  Nutrition and health are far more than calories in/calories out. High quality foods now means better performance and faster recovery later.

About the  Blogger:

Tammy “Texas” Boesch, BS, NET, is a nutrition specialist, yoga teacher atexprofilend personal trainer at The Fitness Underground in Manhattan Beach, California, and the founder of

I believe that being healthy and fit is acquired by living each day in the best way that you can and making choices that serve you well. The combination of daily exercise, a positive mind-set and healthy nutrition all add up to wellness,” she says.