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Post Workout Nutrition

The other day, after running an intense climbing workout class, one of my clients asked me what the best post workout foods or

supplements are to take for recovery. My answer was Chocolate Milk! This is because it has the optimal ratio of carbohydrates to complete proteins (whey and casein).

When it comes to recovery, it’s all about eating the right ratio of carbohydrates and protein within a 30 minute period after your workout.

This is when your body is sensitive to insulin. By eating the right ratio (4:1) of carbs to protein, the better your muscles can synthesize protein, replenish muscle glycogen, reduce muscle soreness, and improve muscular strength and body composition.

According to scientific research1, whey protein and casein are two of the best complete proteins to ingest after workouts. Whey protein is fast acting and increases protein synthesis, whereas casein is slow acting and inhibits protein breakdown, both very useful mechanisms for recovery after intense exercise. Whey and casein come from milk, and can be found in other dairy products. If you are lactose intolerant, manufacturers make whey protein isolate, which is lactose free, and can often include casein.
If you prefer not to consume animal products, one of several supplements that is closest to a complete protein is Hemp protein. Your goal is to have a fast acting supplement or food after your workouts.

- Mercedes Pollmeier

Below are some other examples of the preferred ratio of carbohydrate to protein:

Food Item  Carbohydrates (grams)     Protein (grams)   
Non-fat chocolate milk, 8oz 26 8
Non-fat, fruit on the bottom yogurt, 6 oz 28 6
1 mozzarella string cheese stick, 5 whole grain crackers, 10 grapes 26 8.5
1 cup Cheerios® and 1/2 cup of milk 27 7
1/4 cup of hummus and 1/2 cup of carrots 15 5
1 slice of whole-grain bread, 1 oz turkey with mustard, and 1 cup of apple juice 35 9


1. Wein, D & Miraglia, M. Whey Protein vs. Casein Protein and Optimal Recovery.  NSCA Performance Training Journal . 2013.

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