Recovery – Fuel after Workouts

Inge ScheveNovember 3, 20102
Home made energy bars (Photo courtesy of Sunn Jenteidrett)

This is the third article in a four-part series on eating to perform while balancing life and training demands. The information provided here is from the Norwegian organization “Sunn Jenteidrett,” which published the “Eat Smart” cookbook and resource guide on nutrition and training. Sunn Jenteidrett is dedicated towards increasing the awareness about nutrition and performance among young athletes, and is a joint effort of the Norwegian Ski Association, Norwegian Orienteering Association and Norwegian Track and Field Association, backed by the country’s Olympic Development Center.

The recovery snack contributes to making your body more receptive to harder training loads, and it prevents injuries, overtraining and infections. Follow up with a complete meal, preferably within two hours. If you are tired after your workout, make sure you’ve made your snack ahead of time, so that it is ready for your when you are done. Toss it in your gear bag, leave it in the car, have it ready in the fridge once you walk in the door – make it convenient!

Exercise drains the glycogen stores in your muscles, increases protein and fat metabolism and drains your body of salts, minerals and liquid. Be sure to replace lost liquids as soon as possible after your workout, with at least two cups of liquid immediately and then following up with more liquids the next two hours, until rehydration is complete. Hard intensity workouts and strength sessions metabolize protein, so it is important to include some protein in the recovery snack. Protein also stimulates the restoration of glycogen, as well as repairs muscle tears caused by the workout.

Some options for recovery snacks:

  • Smoothie with yogurt, banana, juice and fresh/frozen berries (the yogurt provides proteins, carbs and minerals such as calcium, while berries and bananas provide vitamins, carbs and minerals)
  • Milkshake (Go easy on full-fat dairy and added sugar – try using 1 or 2% milk and 2-4 tablespoons ice cream)
  • Sports bars and meal replacement bars
  • Chocolate milk
  • Yogurt and cereal/granola
  • Toast and a glass of milk
  • Sandwich with ham and/or cheese

Mango Lassi (Photo courtesy of Noema,

Recipe: Mango Lassi

What you need:

  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup yogurt (plain or vanilla)
  • 1 mango, cubed

What to do:

Puree the mango cubes in a food processor. Add juice and yogurt. You can use different varieties of juice and yogurt – using white grape juice will make it sweeter, as will mango-flavored fruit yogurt. Adding bananas will make your drink consistency thicker; ice cubes will make it colder. Experiment with different ingredients and see what you like!

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Inge Scheve

Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.

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  • juniorbiathlete

    November 3, 2010 at 10:13 am

    The picture at the top of the page with the homemade energy bars look GOOD! Any way you could post the recipe?

  • Inge Scheve

    November 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Sure thing! Recipe for energy bars here:

    What you need:
    1 1/4 C grains (equal parts oats, spelt flakes and rye flakes)
    6 teaspoons sugar
    2 eggs (1 whole egg and 1 egg white)
    6 Tbsp peanut butter (room temperature)
    1-2 oz chocolate chips

    What you do:
    Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F (160 C). Mix peanut butter, sugar and grains in a bowl. Add the whole egg and the egg white. Mix well. Add chocolate chips. Stir fast and mix well. Shape into bars (as large or small as you like them, for instance 2×4″) and set them on a cookie sheet. Give your bars a gentle push with the spatula to flatten slightly and make sure they stick together. Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on how crunchy/chewy you like them).

    Experiment with mix-ins: You can substitute chocolate chips for a good handful raisins or chopped nuts/almonds or dried cranberries or white chocolate chips…

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