Nutrition for recovery after exercise can often be neglected next to cooling down or post training or even meetings with coaches or social catch ups in the car park. The importance for recovery after exercise depends on the duration of exercise, the type of exercise and any body composition goals an individual might have. 

Nutrition recovery becomes more important if you are completing multiple sessions in one day or have to train two sessions close together on different days (evening session and a morning session the next day). If this is occurring, you may need to include additional foods in your diet to meet your nutrition needs. If you are only exercising once a day or a couple of times per week, you should meet your recovery needs in your usual meals and snacks. 

When looking at recovery, we often talk about the 3 R’s:

  • Refuel- Carbohydrates are the body’s primary fuel source. Refuel your body’s glycogen stores ready for the next training session  
  • Repair- Protein is essential to aid in muscle repair and growth 
  • Rehydrate- Water and other fluids such as electrolyte drinks or sports drinks, when appropriate, can be used to rehydrate after a training session 

Another aim of nutrition recovery can be to support immune function as athletes or individuals who have a high training load can get sick more often. 


Nutrition recovery should occur within the first 60 minutes of completing exercise, especially if your next training session is within close succession. If your next training session isn’t until the next day, you could simply use your next meal as recovery. 

The types of food for nutrition recovery will vary and most of it is personal preference depending on what you feel like or what your stomach can tolerate immediately after exercise. 

Some good options include:

  • Flavoured milk- A great carbohydrate, protein and fluid source 
  • Yoghurt with muesli and fruit 
  • Fruit smoothie 
  • Lean protein and salad roll 
  • Bolognese pasta 
  • Eggs on toast with a piece of fruit 


A Sports Dietitian can help provide you with tailored advice to help you with your recovery nutrition depending on your training load.



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