Dietary Help for Muscle Recovery

Pure Sports Medicine Logo After you have been the gym it's important to turn your attention to recovery. After a workout, your body's stores of glycogen (the carbohydrate that is stored in the muscles and liver) are depleted, so it is essential that you start refueling as soon as possible. During the first 30 minutes to 2 hours post-exercise glycogen storage is faster than at any other time, as your blood flow is increased and your muscle cells are more sensitive to insulin.

If you don't replenish your glycogen store, your body won't recover properly and your performance will suffer during your next workout. If you only workout a couple of times a week, you will probably restore your glycogen between sessions; however, athletes who train hard almost every day must really pay attention to what they eat immediately after they exercise.


  • A high carbohydrate intake is required on a daily basis to replenish muscle stores after each training session
  • This involves including foods such as: bread, cereal, fruit, pasta, rice, vegetables, yoghurt and milk as the focus of meals and snacks
  • While in heavy training recovery nutrition plans need to be started straight after each training session
  • Plan to have 50-100 grams of carbohydrate within 30 minutes of finishing training
  • For efficient glycogen refuelling you should continue to eat at least 50g carbohydrate every 2 hours until your next main meal
  • It isn't all about carbohydrates, as studies have shown that including some protein (10 grams to 18 grams is ideal) into your post-workout snack or meal helps to replenish the glycogen more quickly, and stimulates muscle growth and repair
  • Organise to have suitable drinks and snacks available after training. These drinks can be water, diluted squash or juice. If it has been a long training session in hot weather, then a specially formulated sports drink is effective
  • The best Carbohydrate sources: brown rice, whole barley, whole buckwheat, whole rye, foxtail millet, wild rice, whole corn, pearl millet, whole wheat, rolled oats.
  • Even if you finish training late in the evening you still need to start the refuelling process so do not ever go to bed on an empty stomach

What is 50g of carbohydrate?

  • 2 medium pieces of fruit - but try to add a handful of nuts as well
  • 2 slices of toast with nut butter - try almond, cashew or hazelnut
  • Fruit salad and ½ a carton of yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoons of raisins
  • 800-1000ml sport drink
  • A bowl of cereal with skimmed milk and yoghurt
  • 2 cereal bars


Rehydrating is a valuable part of recovery and it is usual for most athletes to finish a training session with some fluid deficit.

How do you estimate your own fluid requirements by weighing before and after training?

Each Kilogram of weight loss is equivalent to one litre of fluid, and will show the net deficit at the end of each training session. The volume of any fluid consumed in the exercise session should be added to this deficit to estimate total fluid losses during the session. For example, a runner who finishes a session 1kg lighter and has consumed 750ml of fluid has a total fluid loss of 1750ml for the session and has a remaining fluid deficit of 1000ml (1 litre).


Sports Multivitamins and minerals

If you are exercising regularly, you may wish to consider a sports multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. This will be a high potency supplement specifically designed with the sports enthusiast in mind. A good example is the Sports Multi from Viridien.

Vitamin C and Magnesium

Vitamin C can improve post-exercise recovery by counteracting the damaging effects of cellular oxidation. Taken in combination with magnesium in water post-exercise it can reduce the incidence of delayed onset muscle soreness. If you have a sensitive stomach, you may need to be a little careful with this as it can cause mild stomach upset.

Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 Plus plays an integral role in the production of ATP, the energy source for all body processes. This will sometimes be paired in a supplement with linseed oil which provides a source of the Omega 3 fatty acids. Most importantly for promoting good recovery, coenzymeQ10 has the ability to decrease lactic acid build up

Henrietta Bailey
Nutritional Therapist
Pure Sports Medicine

Telephone 08447 700 800