3 Recovery Meal Options for Maximum Gains
Post-workout recovery doesn’t need to be complicated. There are a lot of good options available that can be very effective. The aim of this article is to review a few of the various options and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each.
In my opinion, a meal consisting of whole foods is the best option for your average day-to-day recovery needs. Supplements have their place, such as during extreme blocks of training, multi-day events, or when completing more than one bout of training in a single day. For your typical training ride where ultra-quick glycogen replenishment isn’t needed, whole foods will provide you with tasty, high quality nutrition.
I hesitate to call this a negative, but it should be noted that using whole foods for recovery requires some planning. The last thing you want to do after a hard training ride is spend the next 45 minutes cooking while you’re starving. These are the time you end up annihilating a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies while waiting for your food to finish cooking. I’m sure the Girl Scout’s appreciate your lack of planning skills, but your waistline and recovery won’t. Remember, we’re chasing those gainz!
- Increased nutrient variety/quality
- Taste awesome
- Requires preparation / planning
- Not always the best option when super fast recovery is required
- Can sometimes be hard to eat after very difficult training/racing
There are dozens of options on the market when it comes to recovery supplements. My suggestion is to find one that has a good balance of carbohydrates and protein, taste good, has a limited ingredient list, and isn’t too expensive.
Aim for 15-25 grams of protein, and maybe a bit more if you’re a larger athlete. For carbohydrates I recommend aiming for a 3:1 or up to a 5:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein depending on training volume .
It’s important to note that a lot of bodybuilding focused recovery supplements will typically be higher in protein and low in carbohydrate, so if this is your preferred supplement I suggest adding something like a banana or two to ensure you get enough carbohydrate.
- Balanced for optimal recovery (assuming you choose a good product)
- Cost per calorie can be more expensive than other options
- Taste can vary from ‘okay’ to ‘horrible’ depending on product. Rarely do these products taste as good as chocolate milk or whole foods.
A great supplement to check out is Repair, made by Infinit Nutrition. This is one of the better tasting supplements I’ve used when mixed with water alone and is very convenient. Just throw a scoop in your shaker bottle before leaving for a race or training ride and then add water afterwards. I personally only use this supplement when I know a whole foods meal won’t be available within the next 30-45 minutes, or when speedy recovery is a must (such as an omnium with multiple events in a single day).
Move Up Coaching is an Infinit Ambassador, so we do receive a small commission for every order you place using our discount code.
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This is arguably the best option out there for quick and convenient recovery. The typical bottle of chocolate milk is full of complete proteins to repair muscle, and easily digested sugars for glycogen replenishment. As a bonus it’s usually not too expensive and can be found at nearly every gas station.
The main downside to chocolate milk is that it needs to be kept cool, which can sometimes be a challenge on the road. A lot of riders keep a cooler in their vehicle to keep bottles chilled, so throwing a chocolate milk into the mix shouldn’t be a problem. Many times a convenience store is a short bike ride away from the race venue, so riding over to purchase a chocolate milk can double as a cool-down ride as well.
If you like to use chocolate milk for your at-home recovery method then consider purchasing plain 1% or 2% milk and the chocolate syrup separately. This way you can save a little money and dial in your milk to chocolate ratio to your exact liking.
- Taste great
- Relatively inexpensive
- Complete proteins and sugars for optimal recovery
- Needs to be kept cool
- Some folks are lactose intolerant
Casey’s – the unofficial sponsor of midwest cycling and a great place to find chocolate milk.
The serious athlete should always be taking steps to maximize their recovery from hard training. By utilizing one of these 3-options in your daily recovery routine you’ll be on the fast-track to quick recovery and maximum gains!