Post Workout Meal: What To Eat After a Workout

After an intense workout, your body needs to be nourished in order to repair muscles and stabilize your blood sugar level. This is also the best time to consume nutrient-packed foods because the body will absorb them quickly into your system. The question that needs to be answered is what to eat after a workout. Consuming the right foods is important but you also have to understand why you need these types of food after working out.

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After finishing your workout, your muscles have used up its glycogen stores for fuel. This results in your muscles being depleted of glycogen. The proteins in your muscles are also depleted and broken down. While you are resting and trying to recuperate from your workout, your body is rebuilding its glycogen stores and repairing the damaged muscles. If you eat the right nutrients, you are helping your body regrow the muscles and recuperate much faster. Your post workout meal should restore glycogen stores, increase muscle protein growth, enhance recovery, and decrease muscle protein breakdown.

Post Workout Nutrition – What Does It Mean?

Post Workout Nutrition – What Does It Mean?

Your post-workout nutrition should consist of three important macronutrients – protein, carbs, and fat. These three nutrients are very much involved in the process of repairing and recovery of your muscles. A post workout meal should always have high levels of protein, carbs, and fat.



When you exercise, it triggers the breakdown of proteins, so you need to replenish them immediately. Usually, the rate of protein breakdown depends on the intensity of your workout. Consuming protein-rich foods is essential after a workout to give your body enough amino acids to rebuild new muscle tissues and repair the damaged ones. Studies show that consuming 20 to 40 grams of protein after a workout is enough to help the body recover.



Consuming carbs after a workout can replenish your body’s glycogen. You need more carbs, especially if you are focusing on endurance training such as running or swimming. It is recommended to consume 0.5 to 0.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight within 30 minutes after your workout or training. This will result in a more optimized glycogen synthesis. If you exercise twice a day, it is even more vital to eat plenty of carbs in order to rebuild your glycogen stores.



When fats are mentioned, most people think that it can be damaging to your body. Having some fat in your post workout meal will not affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. A study showed that whole milk is more effective in promoting muscle growth after a workout than drinking skims milk. Even consuming high-fat meal will not affect your muscle glycogen synthesis after a workout. Top 25 Healthy Fat Foods

Post Workout Nutrition – What Does It Mean?


What To Eat After a Workout – 30 Best FoodsWhat To Eat After a Workout – 30 Best Foods

What to eat after a workout? Eating nutritious food rich in protein, carbs, and healthy fats are the key to improving your muscle recovery and boosting your metabolism. You have to eat within an hour after finishing your workout in order for your muscles to absorb all the nutrients efficiently. Here are 30 of the best post workout meal or foods that you should try after your intense exercise.

1Almonds and Oranges

2Whole Wheat Wrap Turkey with Veggies

3Avocado, Berries and Protein Powder Smoothie

Avocados help you feel fuller and less hungry, while the berries are rich in antioxidants to keep your body healthy and fit. Adding a scoop of your favorite protein powder makes this smoothie a complete and nutritious post-workout drink. You can also replace your protein powder with Greek yogurt, which contains 11 grams of protein per cup.


5Eggs with Black Beans and Bell Peppers


7Orange Juice




11Whole Grain Pita and Hummus

12Dried Fruit and Nuts

13 Pineapple

14 Sweet Potatoes



17Grilled Chicken and Mixed Vegetables

18Veggie Omelet with Avocado

19Whole Wheat Tuna, Hummus, and Spinach Sandwich

20Chocolate Milk

21 Green Tea

22Peanut and Caramel Protein Bar

23Apple Cheese Crackers

24Spinach and Egg Omelet

25Fresh Strawberries, Cottage Cheese, and Whole-Wheat Cereal Parfait

26Protein Pancakes

27Orange Mango Smoothie

28Avocado Tuna Salad

29Sweet Potato Protein Bar

30Rice Cake

PINITBest Foods To Eat After A Workout

Best Foods To Eat After A Workout


What NOT To Eat After a WorkoutWhat NOT To Eat After a Workout

After an intense workout, your body loses energy and it needs to recharge. There is a natural craving for food in order to recuperate. Most people want to satisfy this hunger by choosing the wrong foods, with the wrong ingredients that are not beneficial for the body. Some foods can even negate the efforts you did during your workout. Here are the foods that you should avoid eating after your training or exercise.

Raw Vegetables

Raw vegetables such as broccoli, celery, and carrots might be a good option when you are losing weight because it has low calories, but they simply are not substantial enough to re-energize your body after your workout. If you want to incorporate raw vegetables into your post workout meal, just add some protein-packed dips like yogurt dip, hummus, or nut butter. Avoid dips that have high-fat content.


Fast foods like burger, fries, soft drinks, hot dogs, and nachos are very tempting, especially after working out. However, these foods should be avoided because they can only erase the progress you’ve already made in your workout. Fast foods are full of fats that can slow down your digestion, which is what you don’t want to happen after your workout.

Salty SnacksSalty Snacks

If you’ve noticed on the list of the best post workout meals above, you will find that some of the foods are high in potassium. Salty snacks can lower your potassium level, which is the reason why you need to avoid them. Potassium is an important electrolyte that improves your cell function. Since you lose a lot of electrolyte during your workout, you don’t need salty snacks to further deplete your potassium level.


Most pizzas are full of grease and fat, especially if the toppings are sausages or pepperoni. Just one slice can cancel out the hard work you’ve made during your training. If you’re craving for a cheesy snack, you can replace pizza with whole-wheat English muffin with cheese.



Bacon is a great breakfast food at the start of the day since you have the whole day to burn those calories. However, eating bacon after your workout is not very ideal. Bacon is high in sodium and it is slow to metabolize after your workout. If you want more protein, you can try eggs instead.

Soda and Fruit Drinks

Working out can make you really thirsty, and it is very tempting to drink soda and sugary fruit drinks afterward. Whether you are drinking soda, sugary drinks, or fruit juices filled with fructose, you are not helping your body recuperate from your intense workout. These sweetened beverages are high in sugar and they can slow down your metabolism. If you want a little bit of flavor in your drink, you can choose a sports drink that can replace the lost electrolytes in your body. Water is still the best choice when you want to quench your thirst.

Doughnuts and Pastries

You might say that doughnuts and pastries are high in carbs, therefore they are good to eat after your workout. However, doughnuts and pastries are also full of sugars and sweeteners, which are all fattening and do not have enough nutrients. If you want to fill up on carbs, you can go for a bagel, whole wheat toast, or fruit preserves.

What NOT To Eat After a Workout

When Is the Right Time to Eat After Working Out

It is normal to feel tired and hungry after an intense training or workout. You burn a lot of calories during your workout, which leaves you feeling tired and weak. Your body will make up for the lost calories by triggering your hunger sensation. When you start to eat again, your body refuels your glycogen stores, stabilizes your blood sugar, and gives you a boost of energy.

So when is the best time to eat? You can wait 15 minutes after your exercise before you can eat a snack. Quickly replacing the glycogen stores in your body is important so that you can have a more sustainable energy to your body. Your snack must be rich in protein and carbohydrates, and just drink water instead of soda or fruit juices. You should drink 3 cups of water for every pound of water that you lost during your workout.

After the workout, you don’t need to eat a heavy meal immediately. A light snack is much preferred to keep your energy up. Remember to stay away from fatty foods and sugary foods. They are not only unhealthy but they can also make you feel lethargic and heavy.

5 Tips to Maximize Your Workouts

It makes a huge difference when you know the best foods to eat after working out. When to eat and what food to eat is a big part of your workout and training progress. Here are 5 helpful tips that you can follow in order to maximize your workouts.

Make Your Breakfast Healthier

Most people exercise in the morning, so if you are one of these people, it means you have to wake up early to fix yourself a hearty breakfast. In order to have enough energy, you need to eat your breakfast one hour before your workout. A breakfast rich in carbohydrates can improve your performance and allow you to exercise longer and with higher intensity. It is a bad idea to skip breakfast because it will make you feel sluggish and lightheaded when you exercise.

A good breakfast option when you are working out in the morning includes pancake, banana, whole-grain bread or cereals, low-fat milk, juice, and yogurt. One cup of coffee before your workout is okay, but don’t try any food you are not familiar with because it might just give you an upset stomach.

Don’t Eat Too Much Before Your Exercise

Here is a general guideline that you can follow regarding how much you should eat before working out:

  • Large meals – 3 to 4 hours before exercising
  • Small meals or snacks – 1 to 3 hours before exercising

Avoid eating too much if you plan on working out because it might just leave you feeling sluggish. However, eating too little might not give you enough energy to sustain your strength during a workout. Just eat the right amount that you think is enough to carry you through an intense workout.

Eat Your Snacks

There are some people who prefer eating snacks before and during a workout. When it comes to eating snacks, just do what you feel is right for you. Taking a snack right before your exercise will not give you added energy, but it can help suppress your appetite and hunger pangs. If you have longer workouts that are 60 minutes or more, you can include carbohydrate-rich foods or beverage during your workout.

Good snack options include banana, apple, yogurt, energy bar, fruit smoothie, low-fat granola bar, whole-grain bagel or crackers, peanut butter sandwich, and sports drink.

Eat After Your Workout

Eating after a workout can help your muscles recover and replenish its glycogen stores. Your post workout meal should include more proteins and carbohydrates and should be eaten within 2 hours after your workout if possible. A good post-workout food choice includes peanut butter sandwich, yogurt and fruit, low-fat chocolate milk and pretzels, post-workout smoothies, and turkey on whole-grain bread with vegetables.

Drink Lots of Fluids

You need to drink lots of fluids before, during, and after your workout to prevent dehydration. Here is a guide to staying well-hydrated for your workout.

  • Drink 2 to 3 cups of water two to three hours before your workout.
  • Drink about ½ to 1 cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. You can adjust depending on your body size and the weather.
  • Drink 2 to 3 cups of water after your workout for every pound of weight you lose during a workout.
How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?
How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day? 3 Liters.

Water is the best drink when working out, but if your exercise is more than 60 minutes, you should use a sports drink. A sports drink can maintain your body’s electrolyte balance and give you an energy boost.