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Recovery from training

In the development of training plans, it is important that recovery is a planned activity. The recovery process should not only allow the muscles and connective tissues to repair but actually improve your level of fitness. To achieve this, you need to understand what recovery is, how long it takes and how you can positively affect the process.

What is a recovery?

In simple terms, it is the time required for the repair of damage to the body caused by training or competition. This includes the restoration of the:

  • energy producing enzymes inside muscle fibres
  • carbohydrate stores in muscle cells
  • endocrine and immune systems

During recovery, muscles should increase the proteins in their overall structure to improve strength, replenish and increase energy stores and increase the quantities of enzymes to improve the lactate threshold.

Speeding up recovery

Muscle cells are most receptive to carbohydrate during the first two hours following a training session. To accelerate recovery, consume 300-400 calories of carbohydrate shortly after the training session and another 300-400 Calories of carbohydrate within two hours. This intake of carbohydrates as well as replenishing the fuel stores also have a positive effect on protein restoration in muscles.

Optimal Recovery Ratio (OR2)

The ratio of ingested carbohydrate to protein is critical in optimising glycogen restoration in the muscles after a workout. The Pacific Health Laboratories, Inc recommends four grams of carbohydrate per gram of protein. A strategy suggested by Jim Bledsoe (1999)[1] following a 45-minute workout is as follows: two-thirds of a gram of carbohydrate per pound body weight and about 15 grams of high-quality protein, repeated again within 2 hours.

Key Points

The key points to remember are:

  • Plan recovery into your training program
  • Listen to your body - if you feel tired then adjust the training to allow full recovery
  • Allow 36 hours recovery between quality sessions
  • To assist the recovery process, consume 300 to 400 calories of carbohydrate shortly after the training session and another 300 to 400 Calories of carbohydrate within two hours
  • Use the Orthostatic Heart Rate Test to monitor your recovery


  1. BLEDSOE, J. (1999) Okay, so what on earth is the "Optimal recovery ratio"? Peak Performance, 123, p.10-11

Related References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • SPITZ, M. G. et al. (2014) The Effects of Elapsed Time After Warm-Up on Subsequent Exercise Performance in a Cold Environment. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28 (5), p. 1351-1357
  • HAGBERG, J. M. et al. (1980) Faster adjustment to and recovery from submaximal exercise in the trained state. Journal of Applied Physiology, 48 (2), p. 218-224
  • IVY, J. L. et al. (1988) Muscle glycogen synthesis after exercise: effect of time of carbohydrate ingestion. J Appl Physiol, 64 (4), p. 1480-1485

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (1999) Recovery from Training [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: