Eating after recovery drink

The general guidance is to take a recovery drink within 30 minutes of finishing training, but how long after that should we wait before eating normally?

The recovery drink is a specific ratio of protein and carbs, so eating anything at the same time would knock off that ration, but how long is the ration important?

I asked SiS about it with their Rego drink, and they suggested the protein in a standard serving would take two hours to digest, so not to eat till after that. If I’ve done a session big enough to warrant a recovery drink, I’m not waiting around two hours to get more food in, however filling they claim their drinks are.

I normally have a recovery drink straight after and then eat one hour later - I believe that always used to be the suggested advice.

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Personally, I don’t put much credence in marketing BS and hyperbole that accompany most sports nutrition products. Yep. Some carbs and protein shortly after a workout are good, but I don’t believe throwing off the purported optimal ratio will have any deleterious effects.


Check out the Knowledge Podcast - Sir Coach Henderson gives a great rundown on pre-during-and post workout nutrition.


Eating normally is my go to option, real food has a far wider ranger of micro-nutrients in it than a processed “recovery drink”. Real food also has the added bonus of nice tastes and textures.

For me a recovery drink is only there to fill the gap if I can’t eat a proper meal in the 2 hours after a hard workout. I’ve not read any compelling evidence that there is a limit to protein absorbed per meal that would deter one from eating with 2hours of using a recovery drink.

“suggested the protein in a standard serving would take two hours to digest, so not to eat till after that”
SiS would say that wouldn’t they


They talk about recovery drinks, but not what to do after them. This was the episode that got me thinking about it.

I’m the same, I prefer eating properly, but occasionally I’ve not got chance.

Was thinking about this more just from a pure science point of view rather than what I’d actually do. I rarely manage to go half an hour after a session without having something decent to eat.

Just eat what you want! modern thinking seems to rate carbs over protein for recovery these days. Check out Dylan Johnson on you tube

I should have added in the original post, I’m thinking about this from a purely scientific point of view. If the scientists state you have to have the 2:1 ratio within 30 minutes, then they should also be able to give a time for that ratio to stay important.

That is all I was thinking about.

Personally it depends on what my workout was and what I did. Sounds odd but if it’s a long day, for example 40-60km running in the hills then I usually try to get some sort of protein shake down me when I’m done as I don’t get hungry for a good few hours afterwards. Then it’s just taking in small bits of what I feel like until my stomach/appetite return to normal

For shorter stuff like intervals or a tempo run I just drop back into my nutrition normal routine depending on what time of the day it is. Now I’m an older athlete (45 in a couple of months time) I do try to get a protein shake in through the day - which even back when I was a competitive powerlifter I didn’t overly pay much attention to. I like the concept of getting something into me within an hour or so of a workout finishing but at the end of the day I just listen to my body; I feel like I instinctively know what I want and need, and when

I tend to limit recovery shakes to after very hard sessions that are multiple hours when time is short for cooking/eating, or during stage races. Other than that, rice and fish, or beans on toast. Plenty of carbs, enough protein. In reality with the drinks it’s the quantity not the ratio that matters most. So generally 20ish grams of protein and 40-60g carbs. More protein is debated as to whether it gets used by the body or is surplus to requirements. 60g of carbs straight after exercise is generally a good amount for the average weight person at the average power they may be expected to produce. So if your energy requirements are higher, there is nothing wrong with adding food to that mix. Additional protein won’t hurt, and from my experience I always needed more carbs in my post workout meal or I’d get brain fog when working


When so inclined, I make a recovery shake that tastes as good as a fast food milkshake. 50% Kefir, 50% vanilla soy milk and a small scoop of vanilla whey isolate. 16 oz is ~300 cal. I usually reserve this as a treat for after a particularly taxing ride.

My recovery shake is a banana, a few tablespoons of plain yogurt, a little bit of honey or brown sugar, a scoop of chocolate whey isolate, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Yum.

You are clashing with Neil and Mac here as in their podcast they say the ratio is important and it should be 4:1 or 3:1 which matches the numbers you’ve got, but not the idea that higher quantity is better.