The Recovery Window of Opportunity

There can be a real pressure to knock back a protein shake within minutes of finishing your workout – but are all those training gains ‘lost’ if you miss that 30minute window?

The truth is, the evidence of this essential window even existing is not really definite – as a lot of the research on this is from athletes training fasted. The process of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) – the thing essential for exercise recovery and adaptation – is actually elevated for more than 24hrs after a session. So, if you are only focusing on your initial recovery nutrition and then finding yourself choosing less than ideal options or under fuelling – you are likely missing out on some real opportunities for improved performance.

The urgency of the ‘window’ is actually more dependent on what you have eaten pre-session, your overall schedule and what sessions you have coming up. If you have gone into a session well-fed, then simply aiming for recovery within a couple of hours of finishing the session is fine – THEN remember to continue this recovery via your meals & snacks for the days to come.

However, if you:
• Are hungry; &/or
• Have gone into a session fasted &/or
• Struggle with getting adequate energy in &/or
• Have another session within the next 12hrs –

then getting a recovery snack/meal in within that 30-60min window becomes a lot more important.

As you can see, if you are someone who trains a few times per week – you are literally always in a state of building and recovering! Try to challenge the thought of recovery being only immediately after a session, and instead think of it as this continual goal for the days after your session.

Watch the original Live Q&A

Download the Show Notes (yours to keep)

Alicia Edge


Alicia is the head Advanced Sports Dietitian at Compeat Nutrition. She is also a mum and triathlete, so advice extends beyond the basics and is instead focused on providing effective and achievable nutrition for both training and racing.

Our Features & Contributions

Nutrition Challenges of the Female Athlete