Recovery Nutrition for Optimal Endurance Performance

Klean Athlete making a post-workout recovery drink

Whether you’re following an intense training schedule or have an event on the horizon, performance is on your mind. You train day after day, whether your body is ready to roll, or fatigue is knocking on the door. Let’s face it: some training days, your get-up-and-go has got up and left.

These days can affect your physical, mental and emotional health, and, if they occur frequently, can contribute to overtraining syndrome and put personal bests out of reach. The key to keeping your training fresh, invigorating and effective is to invest in your recovery.

For many athletes, ‘recovery’ refers to rest and nutritional support after training and competition, but real recovery involves key strategies before, during and after exercise, as well as throughout the day. Essentially, athletes need to be in ‘recovery mode’ at all times.

Be Deliberate

It’s important to start your recovery immediately after intense training and competition. During this timeframe, there’s a high amount of blood flow to the muscles, and channels funnelling glucose and amino acids into muscles are wide open. With every minute that passes, these channels begin closing and blood flow to recently worked muscles slows.

If you wait too long to refuel your body, you’ll experience suboptimal glycogen repletion and compromised muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Glycogen plays a vital role in supporting the energy demands of your skeletal muscles during high intensity exercise.

So, prolonged bouts of intense exercise can lead to the depletion of your glycogen levels, also caused by lack of carbohydrate in your diet. This effect is particularly noticeable when there are fewer than eight hours between training sessions. It can lead to reduced strength, chronic fatigue, poor endurance and an overall decline in your athletic performance.

How to be deliberate with your recovery:

Consume carbohydrates and protein in a 4:1 ratio as soon as possible after training and competition and continue fuelling up until the two-hour mark. The International Society of Sports Nutrition found nutrient timing to be a critical component to recovery. An adequate mix of carbohydrates and protein immediately after a workout creates an anabolic environment that supports glycogen repletion and MPS, increasing MPS up to three times.

Klean Recovery, a carbohydrate-protein supplement, delivers the rapidly absorbed 4:1 macronutrient ratio that is essential for muscle building and promotion of a positive nitrogen balance. If you have fewer than eight hours between training sessions, choose a more nutrient-dense liquid, such as milk, to blend with Klean Recovery to ensure you receive 1.0-1.2 grams of carbohydrate and 0.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per hour. Water is the perfect mixer when you have more time between training sessions or competition, since expedited repletion is not required.

Be Proactive

Recovery can be initiated even before the start of training or competition. According to a recent (2016) Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine, consuming 20-30 grams of total protein comprising 10g of essential amino acids during or immediately after exercise can lead to enhanced MPS and improved nitrogen balance.

Both of these scenarios are essential for supporting the numerous metabolic adaptations your body experiences during the various stages of training. A special note for master’s athletes: due to slower recovery rates and possible impairment of muscle remodelling mechanisms, additional protein consumption after training and competition, as well as throughout the day, may be advantageous.

How to be proactive in your recovery:

One to two hours before exercise, it is vital to obtain 20g of a high-quality whey protein isolate, full of essential amino acids such as leucine, a muscle protein synthesis dynamo. A whey protein isolate such as Klean Isolate will fill up your amino acid pools, so they are prepared to synthesise muscle proteins, enzymes, mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cell), red blood cells, and other key bodily components that support your training efforts after your workout. Studies have also found that multiple feedings of protein throughout the day can help maximise MPS.

Fruit smoothies containing whey protein isolate will promote faster recovery. The addition of Greek yoghurt, flax and chia seeds, unsweetened frozen fruits, baby carrots, kale, mini peppers, and any other favourites can provide your body with a steady infusion of protein, as well as numerous phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Be Innovative

While whey protein isolate and recovery concoctions containing the proper carbohydrate-to-protein ratios will set the stage for optimal recovery, you may benefit from going the extra mile by consuming specific essential amino acids that have been linked to expedited muscle tissue repair, enhanced immune system function and overall recovery.

These powerful amino acids – namely, leucine, valine, and isoleucine – are referred to as branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Research has also shown that a 400 mg dose of ATP, a direct energy source for our muscles and other energy-requiring processes, can stimulate vasodilation, which is the widening of blood vessels, in areas needing oxygen (i.e., highly taxed muscles), allowing for enhanced blood flow and heightened recovery.

How to be more innovative with your recovery:

Supplementing with a BCAA and ATP before, during, and post-exercise promotes improved recovery and increased blood flow for better performance. There are few nutritional supplements that provide oral ATP. Klean BCAA + Peak ATP® is one of the only products on the market that offers the combination of BCAA and ATP. This dual concoction is best consumed before, during and after exercise to infuse your body with the ideal ratio of BCAAs and ATP to optimise performance and recovery.

We empower athletes to perform at their peak with our NSF Certified for Sport® supplements; explore the full sports nutrition range at Klean Athlete:


Blog by Karlyn Grimes, MS RD LDN CSSD
(biography click here)

*Our medical experts have been retained as consultants in advising Klean Athlete. They are compensated for this service.

Klean Athlete

Klean Athlete

Klean Athlete