Training and recovery

I’ve read in a few places that huel isn’t aimed athletes. Equally I’m not especially well versed in the nuances of nutrition so I wanted to share some musings and hope somebody might be able to make sense of them for me.

I train hard 5 times per week. Usual weight training split 3 days and hiit 2 days in between. My nutrition plan up to now is as you would think for a semi serious trainer. Lean meats, veg, slow release carbs, good fats etc.

Huel is just too easy compared to the prep/shopping/weighing of everything I eat currently to ignore. I started with one huel daily, now up to three after 2 weeks. Training feels good but as I started out by saying, I have a few concerns.

I know huel contains all the amino acids I need, but are the levels of the important ones sufficient for adequate recovery and protein synthesis to build muscle rather than just maintain it? Is the balance good enough vs a good old chicken breast or am I missing out on potential ‘gains’ (gym bro)?

In a similar vein, how does huel stack up as a nighttime meal vs something like cottage cheese or a casein shake for slow release protein? I know sleeping promotes an anabolic state and is the optimum recovery/building window and want to ensure I’m getting the best nutrition to fuel it.

I guess it boils down to this. Using huel 3-4 times daily, which meals would be optimal to have as huel and which as other food and what should they consist of to promote the best recovery and muscle growth?

Sorry to ramble.


GREAT post!
Exactly my thoughts re food prep - I’m now repacing lunch/arvo snack with Huel+fruit smoothies - just cba anymore after 6years!

@JamesCollier could probably answer this much better than I can, but the short answer is that yes, Huel does contain the correct levels of amino acid and protein to build muscle.

To start off, James wrote an article on protein and Huel

The long and short of it is that Huel has a perfect protein score, meaning all the amino acids are provided in adequate levels and that the protein is high in bio availability, so it is the same as getting a chicken breast in terms of protein.

I’m not sure on how much slow release protein affects you, or if pea/rice protein if are slow releasing, so I will have to leave that one for James I’m sorry to say!


Hi guys

Although Huel isn’t directly aimed solely at athletes, it’s nutritional profile is perfect. Some of you may know, I’m quite active in the bodybuilding and fitness industry and because of my involvement a number of bodybuilders, strongmen and gym goers use Huel - including WSM finalist Terry Hollands & 4 x British bodybuilding champion Dean Lesiak (Terry needs to eat loads, obviously so Huel’s perfect, and Dean doesn’t like eating a lot so finds Huel convenient) - and find it a great asset to their training and recovery.

As per the article, it has the perfect amino acid profile. However, of course, training results are based on whole diet as well as how you train - so make sure the rest of your diet is optimal too, and yours sounds like it is.

Slow release protein - interesting point well raised! This would be hard to test for so I can’t back my reply up! However, due to the other nutrition in Huel, I would guess the protein would be medium to slow acting.


I did not see that article, thank you for linking; makes very helpful reading.

Thank you James, that reassures me, not that I was especially worried, just curious.

I think I’ll maintain a 3 huel morning and a ‘real’ dinner and pre bed snack and see how I go. Its working so far.

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Great - keep us posted :slight_smile:

I tried swapping my usual bedtime meal for huel for the last couple of days and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
Obviously I can’t comment on recovery aspects as it’s too small a change to notice, but I’m certainly not as hungry in the morning as I have been. I also feel like I slept better due to the carbs.

Usually, I wake, drink some water and have breakfast 30 mins later. I was always hungry for food on waking, but with Huel I felt fine up to breakfast which is a welcome relief.

What I was eating: 200g fat free cottage cheese + 20g almonds. ~ 244cals
What I’m having now: 250cals of huel.

This means I’m now on 1500cals Huel daily. I eat one solid meal of ~700 cals post training.

Interestingly, to fit in the bedtime huel, I’ve had to jiggle my doses about.

Turns out a 125cal huel ‘lasts’ as long as the 500cal huel I was having previously which is decidedly odd considering its 1/4 the calories. I’m still able to last 3 hrs without hunger. Any idea why that might be? This is a midmorning shake and second of the day.

This sounds really interesting! Are you using the same amount of water? Are you leaving it to sit/refrigerating to thicken it up?

I use 4/1 water (which i use in the bigger meals too) as i like it a touch thicker. I half drink, half chew it as soon as it’s made. I tried pre made and chilled one day but didnt really like it.

I also add about 300ml water to the ‘empty’ bottle afterwards and down that to get all the little bits stuck to the side consumed, as well as maintaining hydration.

It’s 50/50 van and u/u, though that hardly makes a difference.

Another quick update.

125cals wasn’t cutting it. The first couple of days must have been a fluke.

I’ve had to take 50cals from both breakfast and lunch and add them to my snack meals to carry me through. Seems to be working a lot better in terms of keeping a better blood sugar level (not that ive checked, but I haven’t had the dip in energy I was getting from the 125cals) and I don’t get hungry at all.

I certainly feel that the pre bed shake keeps me more full than the cheese was and I cant help but believe all of the added nutrients, plus the amino acid profile of huel is better for muscle growth too.

I’ve seen improvement in all my lifts (as I did on a regular diet) but also lost some weight too, not that I was overly podgy to begin with. I’m chilling at about 12% bf without having to think about it which is lovely and a first for me.