When you perform a cardiovascular workout, you separate your body into two energy systems. The first system is the aerobic or fat-burning system, which uses oxygen to create energy. The second system is the anaerobic or glycolytic system, which creates energy without oxygen. This type of training usually lasts longer than an hour but less than 90 minutes at a moderate-to-high intensity level (this means that you are not going as hard as you can).

The longer cardio sessions are usually done at a moderate to high intensity level and with short rest periods. A well-trained runner or cyclist can sustain these kinds of workouts for about 90 minutes.

Your primary energy source is from carbohydrates, so in order to maximize carbohydrate oxidation during intense anaerobic work your post-workout should include fast acting carbohydrates such as yogurt and/or fruit (even though it will also have sugar).

You should also eat protein with your post-workout meal because you need the amino acids to make new muscle. Carbohydrates and protein are the best post-workout recovery foods in terms of refueling. You should refuel within 45 minutes of your workout’s completion and don’t wait longer than 2 hours.


The primary energy source used during a weightlifting workout is carbohydrates. After your weightlifting session, eat the same post-workout recovery foods that you would use for other forms of cardiovascular exercise. This means that you should include fast-acting carb such as greek yogurt and fruit in your post-lift refueling meal.


The first category of workouts is for those who do intense intervals and short bursts of hard activity in between. This might be a martial artist or someone who is into cardio kickboxing or circuit training and you alternate intense sessions with low-intensity sessions (or rest).

These are the types of workouts that will benefit the most from a refueling meal that has a lot of carbs and protein. Because you are doing so many lower intensity sessions, you will have a limited amount of muscle glycogen stored. This means that in order to maximize recovery and growth, it is crucial to eat enough on the days where you do intense cardio which may not be followed by enough rest. When your session intensity is very high you can make due eating less in order to maintain muscle size.