Refueling After a Workout – What Every Young Athlete Should Know

Refueling after a hard work-out or competition is vital to every athlete to maximize outcomes.  Consuming carbohydrate with a little protein is the ideal recovery snack, recommends CHOC pediatric clinical dietitian, Jessica Brown. Timing is important – maximum recovery is accomplished when carbohydrates are consumed within 30 minutes after exercise.

“After a hard workout, athletes should take in 0.5-0.7 grams of carbohydrate for each pound of body weight.   Snacks that include 10-20 grams protein can enhance recovery,” says Jessica.

Consider the following examples for different sized athletes:

120 lb
8oz chocolate milk
1 med Banana

150 lb
4 fig newtons
6oz fruited low-fat yogurt

175 lb
8oz Orange juice
4oz Bagel
2T peanut butter
Keep Hydrated
Maintaining hydration is also important for recovery, explains Jessica.  Muscles are 70-80% water, so focus on hydration for peak performance.  A good way to determine adequate hydration throughout exercise is to measure pre & post weights.  For every pound of body weight lost, consume 2-3 cups of liquid for complete rehydration after exercise.

It is ideal to maintain body weight within 1-2% of usual body weight throughout exercise to prevent fatigue.  Drinking fluids in short intervals is best.  For an average-sized athlete, 5-10 fluid ounces every 15-20 minutes is recommended.  Consuming a sports beverage during exercise lasting longer than an hour will replenish carbohydrate and electrolytes needs.   Not all sports drinks are created equal.  Choose drinks that contain 14-20 grams of carbohydrate and at least 100mg of sodium in every 8 fluid ounce serving, such as Gatorade, Powerade, or Accelerade.

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Learn more about CHOC’s Clinical Nutrition and Lactation Services.

Hopefully, with these easy tips, your young athlete will be on his way to a succesful work-out and season!

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