LA Galaxy Performance Blog presented by Herbalife

How to Build Your Post-Training Recovery Shake | LA Galaxy Performance Blog presented by Herbalife


Herbalife is the sports nutrition and presenting partner for the LA Galaxy. Registered Dietitians at Herbalife work closely with the LA Galaxy technical staff to make sure we are maximizing their nutrition to support performance goals.

Importance of Recovery Shakes

The moment your workout ends, you should begin to think about recovery. Muscular repair and recovery is just as essential to your training regimen as the workout itself. One of the most important aspects of recovery is nutrition, and one of the simplest additions you can make to optimize your recovery after training or matches is a recovery shake. After a tough workout, your window for recovery begins. Getting in nutrients quickly after a workout helps to enhance speedy nutrient absorption, which in turn helps optimize recovery. Aim to enjoy your shake within 30-60 minutes post-workout as your body is able to utilize nutrients more efficiently during this window.

The three major components of a recovery shake are protein, carbohydrates, and hydration. Protein is essential for repairing the muscular damage incurred throughout the duration of your training session, as well as stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Carbs are needed to replenish and restore your glycogen stores (your body’s storage form of glucose, also known as sugar) in your liver and muscles. When needed, like during training sessions, your body breaks down these glycogen stores to increase blood sugar levels, which is then used by your cells for energy. When you train, you deplete these glycogen stores, so it is necessary to build these stores back up in preparation for your next training session.

Carbs and protein consumed together post-workout may actually further enhance glycogen synthesis more so than each component does alone, thus recovering better and faster.1-3 This is another reason why a combination of both carbohydrates and protein is so essential for your post-training recovery shake.

Sports dietitians typically recommend a 3:1 to 4:1 carb to protein ratio for longer duration (60 minutes or longer) cardio or endurance exercise, leaning further towards the higher 4:1 ratio the longer or more intense your training session becomes.1 A 2:1 carb to protein ratio is appropriate for strength training sessions without cardio.1 If the ratios are confusing to you, just know that hitting the exact ratio is less important than simply ensuring you are obtaining both protein and carbohydrates post-training.

Building Your Perfect Recovery Shake

Remember, your three main components of your recovery shake are protein, carbs, and hydration, so you will build your shake using these macronutrients and fluids to decide your base ingredients.

Depending on your preferences, your protein source could consist of a protein powder like whey or a whole food like milk, yogurt, or cottage cheese. Whey protein is a fantastic choice post-workout as it is absorbed quickly, giving your muscles the necessary building blocks for muscle repair and growth. Casein, another popular protein source, digests more slowly, helping to extend the process of muscle repair and recovery. For this reason, another great protein source post-workout is a protein powder consisting of a blend of milk proteins, both whey and casein. Shoot for 20-30 grams of protein in your recovery shake.

For your carbohydrate source, you could choose to use chocolate milk or 100% fruit juice, or blend your shake with fresh or frozen fruit, which will digest and absorb more quickly. Choosing carb options that are colorful and high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds may help to further maximize the recovery process.

After a sweaty, tough workout, you are likely a bit dehydrated. This is why consuming fluids is so important before, during, and after training sessions. Choose the fluid choice that you enjoy the most. Milk is a great fluid and hydration choice, and it also makes your recovery shake creamy and smooth. Fruit juice is also mostly water, so counts towards your fluid intake for the day. Try mixing fruit juice into your recovery shakes, diluted with some water. Finally, you can never go wrong with simply adding water into your recovery shake.

The third macronutrient, fat, is less important immediately post-workout. This is because fat slows down the digestion process, which ultimately slows down absorption. Since we want the protein and carbohydrates in our recovery shake to be absorbed quickly to maximize our recovery, choosing lower fat ingredients or utilizing smaller portions of fats in your recovery shake may be most beneficial.

LA Galaxy Recovery Shake Recipes

At the LA Galaxy, sports dietitians use Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength in recovery shakes to ensure the athletes are receiving the much needed protein, carbohydrates, hydration, along with many other essential nutrients, post-workout. This protein powder contains a blend of carbohydrates, free amino acids, whey protein, and casein protein, allowing for both quick and sustained muscle protein synthesis to rebuild muscle and maximize recovery*.

Below are two variations of recovery shakes that you can play around with to find your personal favorite post-training beverage.

How to Build Your Post-Training Recovery Shake in a Shaker Cup:

  • Step 1: Choose your protein. At LA Galaxy, we use 2 scoops Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength protein powder.
  • Step 2: Choose your fluid. We suggest using 12 oz total fluid from water, low fat or skim milk, low fat chocolate milk, or 100% fruit juice.

Add your liquid of choice into your shaker cup, then add the protein powder. Close your shaker lid tightly, ensuring the mouthpiece is closed and secure. Shake for 5-10 seconds, or until all the powder has dissolved. Drink as soon as possible following your training session.

Tangerine-Vanilla Recovery Shake Recipe:

Add 2 scoops Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength Vanilla Ice Cream protein powder and 12 oz tangerine juice into a shaker cup, shake for 5-10 seconds until all powder has dissolved.

Tangerine-Vanilla Shaker Recipe contains approximately:

  • 349 calories
  • 2g fat
  • 56g carbs
  • 25g protein
  • Note: this recipe is about a 2:1 carb to protein ratio, so this is great for lighter sessions, shorter sessions, or resistance training. If your training session is more cardio-focused, longer, or more intense, consume an additional ~20g of carbs or more (like from a banana) to hit the 3:1 ratio.

How to Build Your Post-Training Recovery Smoothie in a Blender:

  • Step 1: Choose your protein. At LA Galaxy, we use 2 scoops Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength protein powder.
  • Step 2: Choose your fluid. We suggest using about 12 oz of water, low fat milk, skim milk, or 100% fruit juice.
  • Step 3: Choose your fruit. We suggest using ½ cup or more frozen or fresh fruit of your choice.
  • Step 4: Select any optional add-ins, such as: 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp chia seeds, collagen peptides powder, yogurt, spinach, etc.

In a blender, add your liquid of choice, then add the protein powder, frozen fruit, ice, and any other add-ins you select. Blend on high until fully combined with a creamy texture. You can add more liquid or ice and blend to your preferred consistency and texture. Pour into a cup, drink, and enjoy as soon as possible after your workout.

Strawberry Banana Recovery Smoothie Recipe:

In a blender, add 2 scoops Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength Strawberry Shortcake protein powder, one medium frozen banana, one cup of strawberries, 12 oz water, one tablespoon of honey, and a handful of ice. Blend until well combined. Add some water or more ice and blend again to thin or thicken the smoothie to your desired texture.

Strawberry Banana Recovery Smoothie Recipe contains approximately:

  • 400 calories
  • 2.3g fat
  • 74g carbs
  • 26g protein
  • Note: this recipe has about a 3:1 carb to protein ratio, perfect for cardio or endurance sessions. Swap in 8 oz apple juice plus 4 oz water instead of the 12 oz of water in the recipe above to get to the 4:1 carb to protein ratio for those really long, intense endurance sessions.

Recovery shakes or smoothies can be made just post-workout for the utmost freshness, or even ahead of your workout if you know that you will be on-the-go after hitting the gym or pitch. The most important thing is to do what works best for you and your schedule, and to get in a source of protein, carbs, and hydration that you enjoy as quickly as possible after training.

Finally, it is important to note that your post-training recovery shake should not be a meal replacement. Be sure to eat a balanced meal matching your personal preferred Performance Plate about 2-3 hours after your training session to continue supplying your body with the nutrients needed to keep the recovery process going.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


1. Kerksick C, Harvey T, Stout J, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: nutrient timing [published correction appears in J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008;5:18]. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008;5:17. Published 2008 Oct 3. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-17

2. Margolis LM, Allen JT, Hatch-McChesney A, Pasiakos SM. Coingestion of Carbohydrate and Protein on Muscle Glycogen Synthesis after Exercise: A Meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2021;53(2):384-393. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000002476

3. Howarth KR, Moreau NA, Phillips SM, Gibala MJ. Coingestion Of Protein With Carbohydrate During Recovery From Endurance Exercise Stimulates Skeletal Muscle Protein Synthesis In Humans. J Appl Physiol. 2009;106(4):1394–1402. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.90333.2008.

4. Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength. Accessed February 13, 2024.

5. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Tangerine juice, raw. FoodData Central. April 1, 2019.

6. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bananas, raw. FoodData Central. April 1, 2019.

7. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Strawberries, raw. FoodData Central. October, 2022.

8. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Honey. FoodData Central. April 1, 2019.