It doesn't matter what time of day you exercise, it's important not to neglect the post-exercise recovery phase. This is essential if you want to make progress and get fit quickly, whatever your training level. The winning trio for combating fatigue? Stretching, hydration and food. To help you succeed, we've set out the 6 golden rules so you can learn to eat properly and recover correctly after exercise.


Rule no. 1: eat within 2 hours of exercising

Eating properly after an intense exercise session will help your body to recuperate and prepare for its next training session. To derive benefit, you need to eat just after exercising or in the two hours following your session. During this time period, your body is looking to replenish its reserves as quickly as possible. In fact, at this precise moment, an increase in enzyme activity allows the body to store glucose (for energy) and build protein in fatigued muscles.


Rule no. 2: drink water

Water is the first thing the body needs after exercise. Water helps offset fluid loss and restores good blood circulation. Choose a bicarbonate-rich water which will help regulate the body's PH level. After excessive perspiration, choose fizzy water which is rich in minerals (sodium, magnesium, potassium etc.) After a sporting event, you can also drink a vegetable stock which is excellent for rehydrating the body and replenishing mineral reserves. As far as possible, avoid coffee, tea and alcohol which slow down the recovery phase.


Rule no. 3: put an end to snacking!

Have you just completed a fitness session? Eating junk food is not an option! In addition to stretching and proper hydration, recovery requires an appropriate diet. It would be a shame to just eat any old rubbish and destroy all the good work done. Exercise is not an excuse for greed...So forget about snacking which is an impulse act and bad for you as the food is often high in fat and lacking in nutrition. After exercise, it's much better to prepare a proper snack, or even a recovery meal.


Rule no. 4: choosing the right snack

What snack should you choose after sport? Amongst those products capable of offsetting nutritional and energy deficiencies, focus on those that contain fast-release sugars, which are particularly useful just after exercise: bananas, dried fruits, honey, cereal bars and fruit juices etc. Note that dried fruits are an excellent energy snack as their natural sugar is easily absorbed. In particular, they provide minerals which are beneficial for muscle activity.


Rule no. 5: focus on protein

Whatever physical activity you decide to do, protein is essential to ensure good muscle repair during the recovery phase. Muscle fibres are used during exercise sessions, resulting in microlesions that will alter muscle tissue. In response to these microlesions, muscles adapt by repairing muscle fibres thanks to amino acids, which are present in proteins.


  • What should you have for breakfast after doing sport? If you train in the morning, choose eggs and wholemeal bread. Egg white and yolk are rich in protein and will help repair your tired muscles. Bread will replenish your energy supplies. You can also treat yourself to a bowl of low-fat cereal with skimmed milk.


  • What should you eat for lunch or in the evening after exercising? Fish! Preferably choose salmon, which is rich in protein and omega-3 (good for the heart). Serve with brown rice and steamed vegetables to provide the body with a healthy source of carbohydrate and vitamin B which help produce energy.


Rule no. 6: choose a home-made recovery drink

Individuals who exercise excessively can also prepare a home-made recovery drink to replenish their muscle glycogen stores and help repair tissue after their workout. Moderately active individuals do not need this kind of drink as it will cancel out the calories burned during exercise. The right formula:


  • 1 banana, 100ml of skimmed milk (or almond milk), 1 natural yoghurt (or Greek yogurt), 15g of rolled oats. Mix the ingredients together and drink well-chilled after your sport session.


NB: bodybuilders may choose a fast assimilation lactoserum protein drink (whey or pure whey) which can be completely absorbed within 2 hours of exercising. Discover the range of Aptonia protein products, specially designed for building muscles.




As you will have gathered, eating well after exercise is essential to help your body recover. Remember these words of advice which will encourage you to develop good habits after your workout!

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Your body needs energy and the resources that will keep you going during a work out! Eating well helps your body make the most of exercise.