The McGuigan Blog

How to Recover After A Workout

In the previous blog we spoke about some effective ways of appropriately fuelling up for a workout and what to eat prior to training. It should seem fairly obvious that it goes without saying how you recover from a training session is also extremely important. Recovery can be a fairly broad topic so for the purpose of this blog we will focus on the following subjects:

  • Nutrition
  • Stress
  • Sleep

There are many ways nutrition comes into the “post workout” period whether it be a balanced meal, protein shake or carbohydrate drink etc. Protein shakes can be used though not always necessary unless you are in a hurry and might not get to eat a proper meal for a few hours and/or your pre workout meal was insufficient or non existent! The type of exercise also matters for example, if you’re training for an endurance event or do high endurance type workouts then a more carbohydrate rich meal or even carbohydrate drink might be better to focus on. If you focus more on strength training then perhaps a more protein rich meal is better with some quality carbohydrates added if you so wish.

Please remember recovery is not just post workout as much as it is how you eat throughout the whole day! Drinking a high quality protein/recovery shake is not so important if you are not eating properly or eating good food consistently the rest of the day so make this your main focus regarding recovery. On a final note do aim to get a good meal in fairly soon (around 1-2 hours max) post training and exercise common sense on the meal size relative to how hard you trained. This is especially important for those looking to drop body fat and improve body composition!

Keeping stress levels to a minimum is another key aspect to proper recovery because training itself is just another stress on your system. Understandably we cannot keep stress out of our lives entirely but can manage stress with good nutrition, good sleep, reducing caffeine and other techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises (which are out of the scope of this blog). Planning your training around stressful days at work is also a good idea so if you know you have a tough day ahead then plan training accordingly. An important note on coffee and caffeine consumption is to try and avoid caffeine immediately post workout and for at least a couple of hours after. Caffeine increases the stress hormone cortisol which is better to keep to a minimum after training and sufficient recovery in general.

We are all aware proper sleep is good for us but it’s always worth another mention just to reinforce it. Getting to bed at a reasonable time at night and striving for those 7-8 hours pays dividends for recovery not just from training but from life in general.


Remember train hard but recover harder!

 – Shane