Recovery nutrition: timing and composition after endurance exercise

Curr Sports Med Rep. Jul-Aug 2008;7(4):193-201. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31817fc0fd.


Consumption of macronutrients, particularly carbohydrate (CHO) and possibly a small amount of protein, in the early recovery phase after endurance exercise can enhance muscle glycogen resynthesis rates. A target of at least 1.2 g x kg body weight(-1) x h(-1) CHO (over several hours) is suggested. This rate of CHO intake could be sustained with liquid, gel, or solid food rich in CHO for maximizing muscle glycogen. Whether the coingestion of protein with CHO compared with isocaloric CHO results in meaningful differences in glycogen replenishment that translate into subsequent performance enhancement is equivocal. Advantages of added protein with CHO in reducing true muscle damage from endurance exercise remain to be verified. There are, however, no apparent contraindications for using milk or specialty CHO/protein/amino acid products either. Future investigations that examine signaling mechanisms within muscle should be conducted in parallel with translational evidence in humans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Energy Intake*
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Glycogen