The right way to refuel and recover after exercise

I’ve been exhausted lately. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t really have any idea where to start. Not enough sleep? Too much exercise? I had a couple of early nights and found myself just waking up earlier.

Hmmm. I looked at my workout routine and it’s not really any different to before. I’ve stepped it up a bit, but nothing major, they’ve all been gradual additions. I still only have one rest day a week, but I think that’s okay. Really.

My workouts tend to be no more than 40 minutes. And if I do sneak two into one day, they are only 30 minutes each – including running.

So I decided it wasn’t that. My body really should be able to handle the amount I’m making it do.

Then I realised, I felt tired until I did exercise. No problem, right? Except I tend to do my exercise at the end of the day, so it’s not really workable.

Enter Pinterest, the answer to everything.

I read a post about recovery. It contained the obligatory mention for how important cooling down and stretching are, of course. But it also covered nutrition and recovery. Interesting.

I eat a balanced diet. I don’t obsess about it, but I’m aware of the types of foods I eat and when I should/n’t eat them. Mostly, I pay attention to that.

The article went on to talk about the golden 45 minutes after exercise. I’d heard about the golden hour – I think it’s mentioned in the Atkins diet isn’t it? Dunno, I’m not a fad dieter, so those things sort of pass me by. I just have a vague recollection of reading something about Jennifer Aniston, meat and a golden hour. Of course, that could be something totally different!

I’ve digressed.

According to this article, the 45 minutes after exercise are crucial for refuelling. The best ratio was 4:1 carbs to protein. It was specifically aimed at replenishing muscles after climbing, and allowing better recovery and building strength – so that the next climb is better and so on. It doesn’t take much, just a few hundred calories. There was more than one graph, so I decided this was serious.

I thought I’d give it a go. I haven’t been scientific about it. I haven’t been calculating my ratios of carbs to protein. In fact usually I just grab a packet of wotsits and a handful of nuts or a bit of cheese  and call it done. It might not be sophisticated, but it’s quick!

I feel SO MUCH better. I’m slightly amazed by how much better I feel. How much I don’t ache. Nothing else has changed. Just the addition of a small snack.

It’s not even difficult. I’d already been thinking about what I ate before I do exercise, so to force myself to grab the right food straight after and follow some seriously loose guidelines I’ve set myself, well, it’s easy.

I’ve started experimenting and I’ve made some awesome flapjacks which are a lot closer to following the 4:1 rule. It’s a made up recipe, but basically oats, chopped pecans (any nut would work I think, I only had pecans to hand), a generous teaspoon of peanut butter and a small handful of dark chocolate chunks. All bound together with a smidge of melted butter and golden syrup, then baked in the oven. I’m sure there are healthier alternatives!

They are amazing and after the weekend I’ve put myself through, I still feel like I could jump up and do something else, right now. This weekend I have done:

  • 10 mile cycle ride
  • 5K Parkrun
  • 1.5 hours solo bouldering
  • 1 hour of crazy games on the beach

In total, I’ve burned over 6K calories. No aches, no lagging feeling.


Dear Recovery,

I’m sorry. It’s taken me too long to take you seriously. Thank you for being there for me when I was finally ready to learn the lesson. 

Love and kisses

TS x


If you want to check out the original article, you can find it here:…/nutrition-eating-your-way-to-better-climbing

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