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Post Ride/Race Recovery

By Dana Williams | In Nutrition Tips, Optimal Performance, Race Tips | on May 8, 2016


There is a lot of literature out there on effective recovery techniques. At Achieve Performance Training & Coaching, we focus on making sure our athletes take their recovery as serious, if not more, than their workouts.

Below are some basic guidelines that every endurance athlete should know:

Post Ride/Race Recovery

The “Golden Recovery Window” – The 30 minute post-ride window is where the body is most effective at absorbing nutrients to repair damaged muscles and facilitate the adaptations you’re trying to achieve. In the wrong hands, this is the Chris Horner “Snickers and Coke” Recovery. At Achieve however, we recommend our athletes follow a healthier recovery regimen.

Achieve recommends 80-100 g of carbohydrates with 25-35 g of a complete protein

  • Simple carbohydrates – the best because they are absorbed by our bodies the quickest. Immediately following your ride, replenish lost glycogen stores by consuming simple carbohydrates. Options include, but not limited to, fruit juices, warm climate/soft fruits like bananas, oranges and melons and some simple starches like white rice and potatoes. If you have just completed a hard interval ride or race effort, stick to simple sugars like honey, caffeine-free gels, or juicy fruits.
  • Fluids/Hydration – (Variable). A good way to gauge your hydration post-ride is to weigh yourself and compare it to pre-ride weight. Depending on the intensity of the ride, Achieve recommends 1-3 water bottles per hour while riding. It’s important to hydrate before consuming protein, since protein absorption requires excess fluids to metabolize and can cause dehydration.
  • Protein – After taking in carbs and fluids, consume 25-35g of protein. Either whey or a combo of pea and hemp protein for vegetarians or those with lactose intolerance. Avoid soy protein.

A good rule of thumb: The higher the intensity, the higher the amount and addition of electrolytes.

Recovery actually starts while you’re riding. Ideally, you don’t want to wait until you are thirsty to drink. The bigger deficit you reach, the longer it will take to recover. Keep taking in fluids and nutrients as you ride (This is addressed in our blog “Race-Day Nutrition to Maximize Performance”).

Physiologically, our bodies generate free radicals when we stress it, especially during endurance exercise. Prolong stress can lead to muscle fatigue. The body has a natural antioxidant defense system that contributes to fighting free radicals, but studies have shown that increased levels of antioxidants can help aid and speed recovery.

Based on research and backed during the recent USA Cycling Webinar, “Science of Recovery” by Glen Winkel, PhD (University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, Department of Anatomy) and USAC Level 2 certified coach, Achieve suggests doubling your daily intake of antioxidants during intense endurance training (between 10-16 servings of fruits and vegetables).

For example: berries such as blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries and vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Athletes may consider an antioxidant supplement such as IsaGreens and IsaFruits by Isagenix.

A key component to antioxidant consumption is timing. Achieve recommends waiting for about two hours post-workout to begin the consumption of antioxidants. This allows the bodies natural antioxidant defense system to do its work.


Just like anything, what you put in is what you get out. It’s worth spending some time on your post-ride recovery strategy. It will have a direct correlation to your ability to recover faster so you can continue to improve.


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