How to Refuel After a Hard Workout

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What are some good carb-protein recovery foods?

Your recovery meals and snacks should include a foundation of carbohydrate-rich breads, cereals, grains, fruits, and vegetables plus a smaller amount of protein (at least 10 to 20 grams per recovery snack or meal).

More: What to Eat for a Faster Recovery

Here are some options:

  • fruit smoothie (Greek yogurt + banana + berries)
  • cereal + milk       
  • bagel + (decaf) latt?   
  • pretzels + hummus     
  • baked potato + cottage cheese
  • turkey sub       
  • pasta + meatballs     

Do not consume just protein, as in a protein shake or protein bar. Protein fills your stomach and helps build and repair muscles, but it does not refuel your muscles.

More: The Role of Protein in Exercise Recovery

Your muscles want three or four times more calories from carbs than from protein. If you like the convenience of protein shakes, at least add carbs to them. Blend in some banana, frozen berries, and graham crackers.

Keep in mind that recovery calories "count." Many frustrated dieters complain they are not losing weight despite hard workouts. Perhaps that's because they gobble 300 or so "recovery calories" and then go home to a hefty dinner. By organizing your training to end at mealtime, you can avoid over-indulging in recovery-calories.

More: 3 Recipes for Fast Recovery