Competition puts a strain on your muscles. Protein helps rebuild them, but how much is too much? Research shows that about 20g of protein is ideal for most athletes because the body can only process so much protein at a time. Any extra protein contributes very little energy and wastes its true benefit.
But this isn't just a numbers game. After a workout or competition, you need something that's high quality and goes to work fast.
Milk and whey-based proteins contain essential amino acids. They're essential in rebuilding muscle. And, because they pass through your digestive system easily, quality protein makes the recovery process start quickly.
Getting back to full strength takes more than just protein; you need carbohydrates, like sugars, too.
During exercise, you burn through carbohydrates stored in muscles and the liver. Eating carbohydrates (sugars) after training or competition replenishes your tank, giving you the fuel you need to be ready for tomorrow's workout or competition.
You might hear contradictory things about the ingredients in Gatorade, but the fact is sugars fuel your muscles and brain, while sodium, rehydrates. It's important to note that all dietary recommendations are based on sedentary people, not active ones. Recommendations for athletes are different because your needs are different.
References: Phillips et coll. Sports Sci. 2011