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Recovery Nutrition

Recovery in 3s: Pre-, During and Post-workout


  • Don't go into your workout with an empty stomach.
  • Top off your fuel tank with a small, balanced snack containing carbohydrates, fluids and a small amount of protein about one to two hours before your workout.
  • Going into a workout properly fueled will improve performance and jump-start recovery.
  • Great pre-workout snacks:
    • 1 yogurt with 1/2 cup berries and 3/4 cup high-fiber cereal
    • Small bowl of cereal with a banana
    • 1/2 turkey sandwich and fruit
    • 1/2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich and fruit
    • Homemade trail mix: (1 cup high-fiber cereal, 2 tablespoons dried fruit, 2 tablespoons nuts)
  • Make sure to hydrate with 16-20 ounces of water.

During Workout

It is important to stay hydrated while exercising.

  • How much do you need to drink?
    • Losing 2 percent or more of your body weight due to sweating can decrease your performance and put you at greater risk for heat illness.
    • A good way to monitor how well you are hydrating is to weigh yourself before and after training.
  • Do you need a sports drink?
    • No, if...
      • Training for less than one hour
      • Weight loss is the goal of the training session
    • Yes, if…
      • Training for more than an hour
      • Training in extreme environments
      • Lean body mass gain is the goal
      • You enter the workout without any fuel
      • You have a short, but extremely intense, workout

General Hydration Guidelines During Workouts:

Maintain Hydration Maintain Fuel and Electrolytes
  • Keep weight loss to less than 2 percent during the workout.
  • Take four to six gulps of fluid about every 15 minutes.
  • Pay extra attention to your hydration when you are sweating more than usual or in an extreme environment. Maintain fuel and electrolytes.
  • When you need something more than water, choose a sports drink with at least 110 milligrams of sodium per 8 ounces, to help prevent cramping and maintain electrolytes.
  • When your exercise level warrants the consumption of a sports drink, 20-32 ounces per hour is all you will need to keep you fueled. Balance the rest of your hydration needs with water.

Hydration Example: 150-pound Sailor

  • 2 percent of their body weight is 3 pounds.
  • If this Sailor loses more than 3 pounds during their training, they are not hydrating effectively.



  • The sooner you get your post-workout nutrition, the quicker you recover.
  • Your recovery snack or meal, such as a granola bar with at least 5 grams of protein or a fruit smoothie, makes up one of your five to six meals per day.

The Open Window of Opportunity to Get Your Body the Nutrients It Needs for Recovery

Re-Fuel Re-Build Re-Hydrate

Within 10 minutes of training:

  1. Refuel with carbohydrates
    The more intense the training, the more carbohydrates you need.
  2. Rebuild with protein
    Protein needs post-workout are based on body weight.
  3. Rehydrate with fluid
    Drink 20-24 ounces of fluid for each pound lost during training.


What do you need to recover?

Body Weight (Pounds) Grams of Protein Grams of carbohydrates
120-150 15-20 30-60
151-180 20-25 40-75
181-215 25-30 50-90
216-245 30-35 60-105


  • 20 ounces of low-fat chocolate milk and a banana
  • Turkey and pasta salad
  • Tuna sandwich with baked chips
  • Meal replacement bar and 20 ounces of sports drink
  • Scrambled eggs or egg whites with whole wheat toast and 6 ounces of juice
  • Turkey sandwich and yogurt
  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Fruit smoothie blended with yogurt or whey protein
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