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Importance of Post-Workout Recovery Foods/Drinks

Recovery foods/drinks provide many post-workout benefits

Most endurance athletes recognize that it’s important to eat and drink within an hour or so after completing a workout to promote muscle recovery. Recovery foods and drinks provide the body with what’s needed to begin muscle refueling, rehydration, muscle/tissue repair, and inflammation control. With some exceptions, just about anything you might choose to eat or drink after a workout is better than nothing, from a recovery perspective. However, some choices are more beneficial than others. So what are the best recovery foods?

The nutrients your body needs most after exercise are carbohydrates for muscle refueling, protein and amino acids for muscle repair, water/electrolytes for rehydration, and antioxidants to manage inflammation. Your post-workout nutrition choices should provide all of these nutrients and little else. You don’t want anything to “get in the way” of the absorption and activation of these nutrients. There are plenty of natural foods (oatmeal anyone?) that will do the job.

Specially formulated post-workout recovery products such as bars and drink mixes offer certain advantages. The best recovery products are carefully formulated to provide exactly what your body needs. They’re formulated with the correct amounts, and nothing extra. They also tend to be more convenient than regular foods. You can take them with you to workouts away from home and not have to wait to eat. And often they are easier to consume soon after workouts when you may not be especially hungry.

Some of our favorites:

nuun performance – rehydrates, provides electrolytes and carbs

Clif Energy Granola – all the goodness you need!

RXBAR – packed with protein, carbs, and sugars

Gatorade Whey Protein Bar – mixture of carbs and protein

Epic Bars – high in protein, gluten-free, grain-free

What are your preferred recovery foods?