Trainers post-workout nutritionThere are a lot of ways to recover post-workout, but what really does the trick? It occurred to us that going to the soldiers in the trenches, the people who workout and recover like it’s their job (because it IS their job) might be a great way to find out what really works.

We asked 17 top trainers, coaches, PhDs, and fitness pros what they consider the most important food or nutrient for muscle recovery and why. And some great responses came back as well as a common theme that definitely emerged: Protein, carbs, and water. Protein and carbs might seem obvious, but how many of us really do the work of supplying our muscles with some quality goods post-workout? You’ve worked the muscle, go the extra mile and get some great nutrients in there to recover faster.

And water is so completely obvious that a lot of people might not actually hydrate adequately. You lose a ton of water during even a short workout, and swigging a Gatorade isn’t going to replenish what you’ve lost. It’s possible to lose 1 liter of water per hour of intense exercise. You have to replace that, no questions asked.

So without further ado, here are the fitness pros in their own words answering the question “What do you consider the most important food or nutrient for muscle recovery and why?”

(And a huge thanks to all who responded!)

Nate Miyaki – @NateMiyaki
“The diet as a whole should be considered for optimal recovery, but protein first to initiate muscular repair.”

Scott Wrigley, @ScottWrigleyFit
“BOTH carbs & proteins are important. You need carbs to replenish glycogen & proteins to repair & build. I tell my clients to go for something quick & easy to break down such as @GotChocoMilk both with carbs & protein #fittip.”

Jaime Smith, @jaimesmithtv
“2 foods. In broad terms, protein with a carb. Protein for tissue repair & carb for energy & better protein absorption.”

G.A. Page, @fit2balive_a
“Complete protein sources, protein syntesizes structural hormones important for growth, recovery, strength, nutrient absorbtion.”

James Padley, @padley_james
“Fish – it has the ideal amount of amino acids and has the good carbs…”

Barbara Anderson, @FitnessbyBarb
“Alot goes into muscle recovery. I’ll go with the ingestion of essential amino acids from quality protein.”

A.J. JACKSON, @ajcelebtrainer
“Consuming protein within 30 minutes after a resistance training workout is crucial for optimum muscle recovery.”

Fred Hoffman, @FredHoffmanFit 
“I don’t consider any one food or nutrient the most important… but I do always recommend WATER!!”

Mardy King – @MardyKing1 
“I would say carbs but I like 60 grams of carbs with 30 gams of protein after working out.”

Mike Roussell, PhD – @mikeroussell
“Total calories and protein.”

Fitastic – @FeelFitastic
“…(post-workout) it’s going to be lean cuts of protein. Protein is what promotes lean muscle tissue growth. Along with promoting protein synthesis, we would suggest lean cuts of protein from chicken, turkey, to whey protein powders that are not filled with tons of fillers and artificial flavors to get in the way of muscle recovery.”

Jeff Woods, @jeffwoodsfit
“Intense training depletes glycogen. Adapt a whole food nutrient dense strategy.  Supplements are over rated! 4:1 carb/protein recovery.”

Mara – @MaraFit13
“It would have to be the egg. Cheap, sold everywhere and can be done multiple ways.”

Victor Prisk, M.D. – @victorprisk
“…LEUCINE. make sure you’re getting enough leucine with each meal.”

Eric Fleishman – @ErictheTrainer
“Protein — It’s the building block of muscle. Steak, eggs, chicken, and fish are excellent sources.”

Steve Jordan – @TrainerToStars
“Protein, h2o and rest. Proteins are the building blocks to muscle growth, h2o is essential for recovery and rest for repair.”

Chris Gorres – @TrainerGorres
“Sometimes people forget the obvious and most important nutrient.. WATER. Makes up 70% of muscle.”

So there ya go! Lots of ideas to work with to get you recovered faster and working out again sooner. Huge thanks to all these pros for sharing their input!

TFM