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The Food Ratio For Recovery

The Magic Ratio For Recovery

Replenishing your body post-workout is just as important as what you eat before you hit the road or gym. If your workout is over an hour, or you run over six miles, you need to refuel your muscles so they will be ready for your next workout.

Thirty to 45 minutes after working out, your body is more responsive to insulin, which helps the muscles pull glucose, made from carbs, out of the bloodstream and into the muscle. You should aim to eat 100 to 200 grams of carbs during this period. Add a little protein to the mix and your muscles can store even more fuel, and the protein also helps repair the muscle damage associated with strengthening them. The ratio of carbs to protein is four to one. You can find this ratio in recovery drinks like Accelerade, but real food can work just as well. In fact, chocolate milk comes close to the magic ratio for recovery and adds other vital nutrients.

I have read that you have until two hours post-workout to fuel your muscles with carbs and protein, but I have also read that you should start replenishing your muscles even before you hit the shower. You can always start off with a large banana immediately after your run plus eat
30 grams of carbs, and worry about refueling your muscles with the magic ratio after your shower.


Join The Conversation
The-Fitness-Guru The-Fitness-Guru 8 years
100-200 grams is a very wide window. I usually tell my clients to try for .5 gram for every pound of body weight. My 100 lb. former ballerina would consume about 50 grams (two thirds a cup of cooked pasta) whereas I, at 210 lb, would consume 105 grams. That formula would change with the intensity and duration of exercise. If I am exercising for more than an hour and a half, or I am burning more than 2000 calories, I would replenish as I am exercising. With most of my workouts, however, which are 45-60 minutes, I find that 10 oz of chocolate milk, with 34g of carbs and 10 grams of protein, is perfect.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
100-200 g of carbs is a lot for one meal. I suppose it may depend on your goals, but that's way too high for mine.
EastVillageAmy EastVillageAmy 8 years
100-200 grams of carbs!? That sounds like a lot! I'm not one of those people that is afraid of carbs or anything, but I'm looking at the yogurt I'm eating (stoneyfield farms key lime, soo good) and I'd have to eat 4-8 containers to get that many carbs. I've marathon trained and still do a few long runs and I get refueling with some chocolate milk or a banana, but never quite that much.
ferret ferret 8 years
Very cool article.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 8 years
mmmm Chocolate milk. perfect.
miss-malone miss-malone 8 years
Good to know..
flamingo08 flamingo08 8 years
When I was training for the marathon, I would go out right away after the long run and have an El Pollo Loco meal, with tortillas, beans, lemonade, chicken, salsa. Mmmm.... It tasted SO good after a long run, and it seemed to really make a difference when I ate that instead of just fruit or something.
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