Ono's post is very accurate, I'd just add that you should have some good fatty acids and greens with your pre workout meal. Also it depends on what your goals are exactly, but anyone looking to improve their cardio or make muscular gains should, as he said, look to replenish your glycogen stores as rapidly as possibly following the workout. THerefore Dextrose and Maltodextrin are by far the best choice for simple carbs imo. Every carb that you eat is eventually broken down into pure glucose(blood sugar). Dextrose IS pure glucose, therefore when you consume it after excercise, it bypasses your entire digestive system, as your body doesn't need to break it down. No other simple carb will do this nearly as well. You'l replenish your glycogen stores with any simple carb, but not as quickly, as they must be digested. When you finish intense excercise, you want to create an insulin spike in your body. Goes without saying that this is the ONLY time that's desireable. Anyways, the reason whey(or any) protein is important is that it put's amino acids into your muscle tissue in order to repair them. However, in order to have the fast absorbtion benefits of Whey, you NEED an insulin spike. Protein powder post workout is almost useless without first creating this spike. Insulin will open up your cells, drawing the amino acids into your bloodstream, causing them to bypass your digestive system as well. IMO, the most effective measure is then to consume Dextrose and Maltodextrin(I honestly forget why they are most effective taken together, read up on it) only directly after excercise. You could also add some antioxidants or BCAA's, glutamine, etc. Things that won't slow the absorbtion. Then wait roughly 15-20 minutes till the Insulin has peaked, to consume a protein shake. If that won't work for whatever reason, you could just add the whey in with your carbs.. But it will interfere with absorbtion slightly. It's still a lot more effective than what most people do though. Hope this helps.