Question:

What is the best type of recovery drink that can help my muscles recover quicker from exercising?

– David A.

Answer:

The optimum content of your recovery drink depends on the type of exercise, intensity and duration.  

  • For heavy resistance training you’ll want 10 to 20 grams quick-delivery protein, such as from concentrated whey, casein, albumin or soy in powdered or liquid form to prevent muscle breakdown and enhance repair. Micro-fractionated isolated protein, peptides or amino acids might be suitable after an extended weights workout. Still, some carbohydrate helps ‘push’ that protein into muscle cells where it’s needed. 
  • For an hour’s worth of high intensity interval training (HIIT) or circuit training which incorporate both aerobic work and strength, a diluted yogurt and fruit smoothie might be suitable. It has carbohydrates to replete, plus some protein and electrolytes to combat muscle soreness. 
  • For exercise that is lower intensity, such as for fitness or endurance, a glass of chocolate milk or protein-enhanced juice will help replenish electrolytes and glycogen stores

Stop by your club’s juice bar to see what’s likely to fit into your recovery nutrition. No matter what you choose, remember to consider portion/energy since some shakes can contain over 300 calories and may surpass what was burned during the exercise

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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