Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fueling for endurance exercise. Part III: Nutrition for recovery

During your workout, you fueled your body. After that long training session or event the fueling isn’t over! It is important to give your body fuel to recover. Here are some guidelines for a good recovery

Within 15 minutes of stopping your exercise, you need to consume carbohydrate. After a long workout, you have surely depleted your glycogen stores. (Glycogen is simply the storage from of glucose found mostly in the muscle, which is a sugar that gives your body energy.) Eating a snack high in carbohydrate post workout helps to replenish those glycogen stores. This is the time when your muscles can store glycogen most easily, so take advantage of it. Use this formula to decide how many grams of carbohydrate you need.

Body weight in pounds x 0.5 = grams of carb needed (Clark, N. Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Human Kinetics, Brookline, MA. 2003.)

Example: 150 lbs x 0.5 = 75 grams of carb

If you are still feeling hungry in 30 minutes, you should eat this amount again. Continue fueling until you are satisfied.

Research is somewhat conflicting about whether or not consuming protein post- endurance training is needed or not. Regardless, you probably need some fat and protein to make you more satisfied, so I would suggest a small amount. A tablespoon or two of peanut butter could be used to top a bagel; or you could have a handful of almonds with an orange.

Just as electrolytes were important throughout your long journey, they are also important post-endurance exercise. Any of the suggestions on last week’s post are good, but just make sure that you are having some snack that provides sodium and potassium.

Electrolytes go hand-in-hand with fluids so don’t forget that! Be sure to drink fluids as needed to continue rehydrating. Monitor your body weight and urine if you’re not sure if you have rehydrated enough.

Happy training!


  1. Thanks Erin...great info that I can put to good use!

  2. Refueling is the best part after long as you don't go overboard...which is my problem! :)