Feed Your 'Window of Gains'

A quick how-to guide on properly refeeding your body post-workout to maximize recovery and gains.

Post-workout nutrition can be broken down into two categories:

  • Immediate post-workout nutrition – consumed within 45 minutes of a workout
  • Post-workout meal

Refeeding is a strategic plan to temporarily increase carbohydrate intake to restore muscle glycogen. Immediately post-workout consume 0.2-0.5g of quality protein (whey isolate or hydrolysate are preferred) per kg of bodyweight and 0.6-1.0 grams of simple sugars or carbohydrates (i.e. dextrose, maltodextrin, glucose) per kg of bodyweight. 1

Carbohydrates are far more important than protein during the post-workout time as they replace muscle glycogen. Muscle glycogen helps you train harder during workouts, so replenishing glycogen via refeeding should help you push even harder in your next session.  

High-quality supplements can also be utilized immediately post-workout. A high-quality whey protein and waxy maize are excellent choices. Chocolate milk is a great (and cheap) option for this. You can add a little whey protein, but it’s not necessary.

Fats should be left out of post-workout nutrition. They slow gastric emptying and can cause carbohydrates and protein to sit in your stomach (and not go to your muscle where you need them!). Additionally, leptin (a hormone that controls appetite and satiation) is less responsive to fats than carbohydrates.

The post-workout meal will look a little different. It should consist of 0.3-0.4 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight and 1.2-1.5 grams of complex carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight.2 A good sample post-workout meal consists of the 3 S’s: salmon, spinach and sweet potatoes. Baked or grilled chicken, rice and broccoli is another great choice.

And don’t forget the water before, during and post-workout!

Bryan Dermody, Former Strength & Conditioning Coach/Powerlifter



1. Kerksick et al. (2008). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition; 5: 17.   Abstract here.
2. Ivy, J. (2004). Regulation of Muscle Glycogen Repletion, Muscle Protein Synthesis and Repair Following Exercise. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 3(3): 131–138.   Abstract here.



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