Using Nutrition To Aid Recovery

Nutrition & Exercise for Fat Loss

If there is one thing that differentiates the nutritional needs of triathletes compared to other types of sport, it is the frequency of sequential training sessions the average triathlete will “back up” for.

It is almost considered normal for an athlete training for triathlons to be out of bed at 4 or 5 in the morning for a 2 to 3 hour ride, back up at lunch for a swim and run set, followed by another 2-3 hour session in the evening.

Obviously, it is vitally important that the right types of foods are eaten immediately after each of these sessions to ensure optimal muscle glycogen replacement in preparation for the next session.

Compare some of these examples to see how your current recovery foods fare in terms of achieving all your own nutrition requirements.

It is well documented in the sports nutrition scientific literature that muscle glycogen replacement is significantly greater if high glycaemic index carbohydrate foods are consumed within thirty minutes of an intense session.

This means it is extremely important that a range of these food types are kept in the car, workout bag, office desk drawer and briefcase to be consumed immediately after each session. Keep in mind that is not enough to just rely on these foods.

You will also need to consume your regular meal, a balanced choice of low glycaemic index carbohydrate, protein and unsaturated fat, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

There is a wide range of high glycaemic index, high carbohydrate foods to choose from, ranging from the more expensive sports foods such as carbohydrate gels and protein/carbohydrate bars to basic cereal bars, sports drinks, fruit and white bread.

The absolute amount of carbohydrate each individual requires immediately post training will differ depending on the individuals overall goals eg if they are trying to lose body fat, gain lean body tissue or maintain current weight.

There is also some evidence to show that consuming some protein in addition to high glycaemic index carbohydrate will help muscle regeneration.

A general rule of thumb is to choose recovery foods that contain 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per serve and up to 20g of protein.

 Here are some ideal “recovery foods” and some ideas on how to use them:

Food TypeContainsCostBest forAdvantagesDis-Advantages
Energy gels such GU,20-30g of carbs$2.00-$3.00Competition, Run leg.Sit lightly in gutEnergy low after consumption
Eg GU Powergel,Final energyCaffeine boostCan cause stomach


Carbo ShotsboostRelatively Expensive
Carbohydrate Bars25-30g of carbs$3.00-$4.00End long ridesSit lightly in gutVery chewy
Eg Powerbar“Filling”
Sports drink30g carbs/600ml~$3.00Long ridesElectrolyteNeed large volumes
Protein/Carbohydrate30-40g carbs$4.00-$5.00Long ridesFilling
Bars20-30g proteinGood snackSlowly digestedVery chewy
Eg Powerbar Protein +
Protein FX
Cereal bars25-30g carbs80c-$1.00Day to dayEasy to eatNot good for

fat loss

Eg Sustain/Fruit TwistsrecoveryCheap
White bread30-40g carbs/20-50cDay to dayCheapNeed to


+ jam2 slicesrecoveryCan add
Long ridesprotein fillings
(with protein
Liquid meal drinks30-40g carbs~$2.00Day to dayGood balanceRelatively Expensive
Eg Sustagen/Up & Go10-20g proteinrecovery
Pre AM ride
Pre competition

The material that appears on is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site.

Articles on training-related topics represent the personal opinions of the author based on their own experience and research. provides these for your review and consideration, but does not endorse any particular recommendations of the authors.

Susie Burrell, Nutrition & Diet Advice, Nutrition Weight Loss Diet

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