Live Blog: OPTIMIZING RECOVERY: Maximizing Post-Exercise Nutrition

This session was captured by Kristi of Becoming Supersonic.

Dr. Wendy Bazilian is a writer, researcher, educator, food enthusiast, and award-willing journalist with a PhD in public health currently working in private practice.

Dr. Bazilian’s talk was divided into three parts; an overview of good post-exercise nutrition, planning post-exercise food/drink choices and chocolate milk and post-exercise scientific research.

Part 1: Good Post-Exercise Nutrition

A combination of nutrients from a variety of foods and beverages is critical for function. This includes; carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, water and other nutrients.

Post-exercise nutrition can:

  • Affect performance at the next event
  • Help reduce the chances of injury
  • Boost health and well-being of athletes

Who benefits from recovery?

  • Runners training for a long-distance race
  • Triathletes doing double workouts
  • Track athletes during an all day meet
  • Any athlete participating in strenuous exercise benefits

What is recovery?

  • Muscle/glycogen replenishment and rebuilding
  • Electrolyte replenishment and re-hydration
  • Mental rest and recovery
  • Recovery can help athletes avoid injuries, and feel their best so they can stick to their training routines

Bottom line…recovery sets you up for your next event or workout.

What to eat:

1. Carbs refuel depleted muscle glycogen

  • Carbs are considered the master fuel, they are essential! Consume carbs 30-90 minutes after your workout.
  • How much should you consume?  (.75g/lb body fat) To put that in context that means 75 grams of carbohydrate per 100lbs of body weight.

2. Protein reduces muscle breakdown and stimulates growth

  • Protein helps with muscle glycogen resynthesis, enhances the blood sugar molecules and rebuilds tissue.
  • How much should you consume? It should be a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein

3. Fluid and electrolytes to rehydrate the body and replenish sweat losses

  • How much should you consume? 16-24 fl oz liquid for each pound of body weight lost during exercise
  • Electrolytes: based on extent of sweat loss – sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium

Part 2: Planning Post-Exercise Food/Drink Choices

Considerations for post-exercise recovery:

  • Food vs. beverage
  • Carb and protein combinations
  • Convenience and affordability
  • Taste and tolerance
  • Intensity of workout, recovery timing

What to eat? A health-promoting and energy boosting diet this includes: whole foods, plenty of fruits veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, along with lean protein, healthy fats, calcium right foods and plenty of water.

Snack ideas:

  • Turkey and cheese with apple slices and pretzels
  • Nuts and dried fruit
  • Sliced apple and almond butter
  • Tuna on whole wheat
  • Banana and peanut butter sandwich
  • Chocolate milk

Wendy described her favorite on the go snack called the “banana dog”. Take a whole grain hot dog bun, spread your favorite nut butter inside. Bring the bun and a banana on the go with you and when you’re ready to eat open your banana up and put it in the hot dog bun. Voila! Banana Dog!

Part 3: Chocolate Milk and Post-Exercise Scientific Research

Why chocolate milk?

  • Backed by science: researchers first began studying milk because it had the same 3:1 carb/protein ratio supported by science.
  • Trusted by athletes: for years athletes have grabbed chocolate milk after exercise as a convenient and great-tasting way to refuel and recover.
  • What’s in milk? Carbs + protein + 9 essential nutrients, calcium, vitamin D, electrolytes.

Drinking chocolate milk after a hard workout could give athletes a performance edge according to a growing body of research. After the first bout of exercise athletes who recovered with chocolate milk exercised longer and with more power.

Lowfat chocolate milk contains the right 3:1 ratio of carbs and proteins scientifically shown to help refuel muscles. It helps restore muscles quickly to their peak potential and helps replenish what your body has lost – including liquids and critical nutrients lost in sweat.

Milk helped maintain hydration better than other popular post exercise beverages. Researchers believe milk’s natural electrolyte content and energy density may help restore and maintain hydration after exercise. Milk also helps replace electrolytes including potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium.

Drinking chocolate milk post-workout could help athletes tone up and reshape their bodies, according to research. In addition studies have shown that milk drinkers gain more muscle and lose more fat. To read more about the research and find the references from the studies mentioned visit:

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