Nutrition to Support Recovery from Endurance Exercise: Optimal Carbohydrate and Protein Replacement

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2015 Jul-Aug;14(4):294-300. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000180.


Proper nutrition is vital to optimize recovery after endurance exercise. Dietary carbohydrate and protein provide the requisite substrates to enhance glycogen resynthesis and remodel skeletal muscle proteins, respectively, both of which would be important to rapidly restore muscle function and performance. With short recovery windows (<8 h), coingestion of these macronutrients immediately after exercise can synergistically enhance glycogen resynthesis and rapidly stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS), the latter of which is augmented by protein ingestion alone. Consuming frequent meals throughout the day containing adequate carbohydrate (according to training intensity) and protein (approximately 0.25 g·kg) will help fully restore muscle glycogen and sustain maximal daily rates of MPS over prolonged (8 to 24 h) recovery periods. Given the complementarity of these macronutrients, endurance athletes aiming to maximize postexercise recovery to maintain or enhance subsequent exercise performance should target a nutrition strategy that features optimal ingestion of both carbohydrate and protein.

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins