What to Eat After a Workout: Post Workout Meal Ideas

Your post-workout gas is simply as essential as your pre-workout meals. And in the event you’re solely specializing in what you’re consuming earlier than a health club session, you might be solely concentrating on a small portion of the general large image of sports activities vitamin.

The post-workout meal helps set the stage for restoration, refueling, and finally ensuring you’re prepared in your subsequent exercise. Whether your purpose is muscle achieve, fats loss, or a mixture of the 2, it is necessary to know what to eat and when to eat it to hit your health club and physique targets. This article will enable you to nail your post-workout vitamin by explaining:

Why your post-workout meal is essential
Importance of rehydrating
What vitamins to prioritize post-workout
Timing your post-workout meals
What to eat after a exercise

Finally, we are going to present some post-workout inspiration by together with some meal concepts to enable you to get to your purpose!


When understanding at excessive intensities, like if you take on a calorie-torching HIIT exercise, for instance, we primarily use carbohydrates for gas. These carbohydrates are saved in our liver and muscular tissues as glycogen. As we proceed to work out, our glycogen shops start to deplete.

Furthermore, tiny proteins in our muscular tissues start to develop micro tears that want to be repaired. You need to prioritize carbs and protein post-workout so you may refuel power shops and help muscle restoration.

Here are the vitamins you want to give attention to:

1. Carbohydrates:

The course of described above is a catabolic course of, which suggests we’re breaking down all of the vitamins (particularly carbohydrates & protein). The atmosphere we create by means of understanding can persist for a while till we create a extra anabolic (build up) atmosphere with the inclusion of vitamins, primarily carbohydrates, and protein.

Our muscular tissues are extraordinarily delicate to carbohydrate consumption and primed to replenish glycogen within the post-workout window. It has been demonstrated that carbohydrate consumption instantly and for up to 2 hours have probably the most profound impact on glycogen storage1.

Wondering why that is necessary? If you might be coaching 2 instances a day or understanding once more the next day, like on this final reducing exercise, it’s important to have your glycogen shops refueled, so that you’ve the power to carry out your subsequent exercise.

2. Protein:

When it comes to protein throughout your post-workout window, you need to make certain your consumption is adequate. Our muscular tissues are comprised of proteins, and after we work out, we harm these proteins. This course of is named muscle protein breakdown.

To reverse this course of, we’d like to ingest dietary protein to start to get into a state of muscle protein synthesis. When we’re in a state of muscle protein synthesis, it permits and offers our physique the assets to start repairing the broken muscular tissues from our exercise, in addition to probably constructing muscle.


Depending on the depth of your exercise you are possible experiencing a rise in physique temperature. To fight this improve in core physique temperature, your physique begins to sweat. Sweat is comprised primarily of water but in addition consists of electrolytes and minerals corresponding to sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium2.

Just like carbohydrates, it’s in our greatest curiosity to change what we’ve misplaced. We can see a lower in efficiency and cognition with simply a 2% loss in physique weight3. To put that into perspective, that’s 3.5 kilos for a 175-pound particular person. That could look like a lot of sweat, however common sweat charges per hour are 0.5 liters up to 4.0 liters3.

This equals roughly 1 pound up to 8.8 kilos throughout one hour of train. This means you want to drink lots following a exercise. To be certain you’re prepared in your subsequent exercise, whether or not it is on the identical day or the next day, it’s best to eat water with the addition of sodium to rehydrate.

To do that successfully, dietary dietary supplements corresponding to oral rehydration options, a drink that usually include water, sugar, and electrolytes like potassium and sodium, will offer you sufficient sodium to rehydrate. Depending on how a lot you sweat throughout your exercise, anyplace from 300 milligrams up to 1000 milligrams needs to be adequate.


A pre-conceived notion is that you could eat instantly after a exercise. We’ve all seen gym-goers with their shaker bottles shaking up protein powder as quickly as they get accomplished with their final rep, believing that’s the greatest time to drink a protein shake.

We now know that we’ve got way more time after a exercise to get the required vitamins in4. This is essentially based mostly on whether or not you had a pre-training meal. Here are some coaching eventualities and meal timing solutions.

1. Training fasted:

If you partake in fasted cardio or energy prepare in a fasted state, it might be smart to eat your post-training meal as quickly as you may to transfer from a catabolic state to a extra anabolic state. This is achieved by consuming a meal consisting of protein and carbohydrates.

2. Consuming a meal 1 to 2 hours BEFORE coaching:

If you are consuming a pre-training meal 1 to 2 hours earlier than coaching, the amino acids in that meal can stay elevated nicely into the post-workout interval due to the time it takes for digestion and absorption to happen.

In this case, you may have your post-workout meal instantly, or 1 to 2 hours post-exercise.

3. Consuming a meal 4 to 6 hours BEFORE coaching:

Looking at a totally different, however fairly widespread, situation, is coaching at lunchtime when your final meal could have been 4 to 6 hours earlier than if you ate breakfast. In this situation, it’s best to have your post-workout meal instantly after, no matter whether or not you indulged in a large bulking breakfast or opted for a smaller protein espresso as an alternative. This is due to the length between your final meal and your exercise.

Ideal Post-Workout Nutrition Timing

Your greatest guess is to eat a meal wealthy in protein and carbohydrates 1 to 2 hours earlier than coaching to maximize your coaching efforts and eat a comparable meal instantly to 1 to 2 hours after finishing your exercise.

If your schedule doesn’t permit a pre-training meal, a whey protein shake consisting of 20 grams of probably the greatest protein powders can be adequate to push that post-workout meal by a couple of hours.


When it comes to your post-workout meal, there are a number of vitamins we’d like to make certain we eat. Remember, protein and carbohydrates are of utmost significance.


Fat is the one macronutrient to restrict in a post-workout meal. This is due to fat’ position in digestion and absorption. Fat, even wholesome fats, tends to gradual this course of down, which delays protein and carbohydrate transit to their much-needed targets within the physique.

You can have some wholesome fats in a post-workout meal however simply use portion management right here. We love nut butter as a lot as the subsequent man, however post-workout most likely is not the very best time to eat a tub of it.


To cut back our fats consumption and nonetheless get sufficient protein and carbohydrate consumption, emphasize lean protein sources, corresponding to rooster, lean beef, white fish, and non or low-fat dairy. Not solely does this cut back the fats consumption within the post-exercise timeframe, however relying in your calorie targets, you could find a way to get pleasure from further fats sources in a while within the day.

Eating protein after understanding ensures your muscle proteins can restore and get better whereas offering you with the required important amino acids wanted for optimum well being. New muscle tissue will not develop if you do not get sufficient protein, making your plans to obtain muscle hypertrophy a lot tougher to accomplish.


For carbohydrates, search for sources low in fiber. Fiber is basically a carbohydrate that, for probably the most half, can’t be metabolized by people. We can discover fiber in entire grains, like brown rice, entire grain toast, entire grain crackers, legumes, fruits, and greens. This doesn’t imply we’d like to exclude these meals, however discover sources which might be decrease in fiber following train.

These sources are usually known as easy carbohydrates or refined grains. Consuming carbohydrates corresponding to these after an train session is necessary due to their fast supply of glucose to muscular tissues, guaranteeing satisfactory muscle glycogen synthesis, and serving to you keep away from a drop in blood sugar. A sports activities drink is a good instance of a easy carb that may ship a dose of glucose. Both carbs varieties are helpful, however make certain to embody some easy ones for greatest power refueling outcomes.


When the purpose is gaining muscle after a onerous exercise, you want to guarantee that you’re in a calorie surplus to construct extra muscle tissue. This offers your physique the required assets to construct new muscle.

There is one caveat to this, in case you are new to understanding, or have taken a lengthy layoff, it is potential to achieve muscle with out being in a calorie surplus.

To improve general each day energy, you have to be prioritizing a rise in meals consumption all through the day, and within the post-workout timeframe.

Now that you just’re in a calorie surplus, it’s best to eat 25-30% of your complete each day carbohydrate purpose within the post-workout window with the addition of 20 to 30 grams of protein.


The identical wholesome residing ideas are true for fats loss as they’re for muscle achieve. To lose fats, you want to be in a calorie deficit. There is just not a sure meal or meals that’s going to elicit fats loss with out being in a calorie deficit.

If you might be in a calorie deficit and actively attempting to lose fats, protein consumption, and figuring out how a lot protein you want per day to construct muscle, needs to be a excessive precedence for you. When reducing weight, we do not simply lose fats, we lose each fats and muscle, and it will probably definitely hinder muscle progress, making physique recomposition difficult.

In addition, if you do not get satisfactory vitamins on the right instances, it may be detrimental to muscle restore and trigger a rise in muscle soreness. To fight this as a lot as potential, a increased protein consumption is warranted to maintain onto as a lot muscle as potential whereas dropping fats. An applicable vary is between 0.7 to 1.1 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight5.

Just like gaining muscle, you need to prioritize your carbohydrate and protein consumption after your exercise. We would argue it is much more necessary since you might be consuming in a calorie deficit.

To make sure you’re retaining muscle throughout a fat-loss section, eat 25 to 30% of your complete each day carbohydrate purpose within the post-workout window with the addition of 20 to 30 grams of protein.

eat after a workout


If your purpose is to create a post-workout meal that may maximize your muscle achieve after your grueling 7-day exercise break up classes, you’ve come to the fitting place! These solutions ship the fitting meals to guarantee correct vitamin to construct muscle, serving to your muscle cells rebuild whereas refueling your physique’s glycogen shops.

Pro tip: If you make a meal, make double, saving the opposite portion for after your subsequent health club session. It’ll prevent some prep work.

Breakfast Post-Workout Meal Ideas:

Smoothie with blended berries, fast oats, peanut butter, and 25 grams of protein powder
Whole wheat toast or white toast, with jelly, and fruit
Greek yogurt, banana, granola, and almonds

Lunch & Dinner Post-Workout Meal Ideas:

Lean floor turkey, white rice, with bell peppers and onions, and a minor quantity of avocado
Grilled rooster and white pasta, with tomato sauce and olive oil
Broiled sirloin steak, and white potatoes or candy potatoes, with broccoli and avocado oil
Pan-seared salmon, white rice, with asparagus and avocado
Turkey sandwich on entire grain bread or white bread with some fruit
Chocolate milk, entire wheat pita or white pita with lean meat, white rice, and sautéed bell peppers


If you are searching for some post-workout meals inspiration that may maximize your fats loss, whether or not you are hoping to lose again fats or focusing on love handles, you have come to the fitting place. 

You can’t go incorrect with these choices, which is able to fill you up, help constructing muscle mass, and assist your physique burn fats following resistance coaching. These meals mix top quality carbs, top quality protein, and wholesome fat for optimum put up train restoration and fats loss.

Breakfast Post-Workout Meal Ideas:

Smoothie with banana, pineapple, and 25 grams of protein powder
Greek yogurt with banana and strawberries (this additionally makes a nice put up exercise snack!)

Lunch & Dinner Post-Workout Meal Ideas:

Extra-lean floor turkey, quinoa, with roasted greens
Grilled rooster, white potatoes, with asparagus
+90% lean floor beef, white pasta, with tomato sauce
Baked salmon, couscous, with blended greens


Whether you are bulking or reducing, sauces and condiments might be excessive in unhealthy fat and a straightforward approach to pack on energy devoid of vitamins. When you’re actively chasing fats loss whereas attempting to restore muscle, that’s a sure-fire approach to convey you out of a calorie deficit and halt your progress.

Below is a listing of issues you should utilize to convey out the flavour, cut back energy and be sure you’re in your approach to fats loss.

Coconut aminos
Soy sauce
Hot sauce
Taco sauce
Chili paste
Sugar-free ketchup
Sugar-free BBQ sauce
Balsamic vinegar

There are many manufacturers that you will discover on-line which might be marketed as zero calorie or low calorie that may even be nice choices.

Post Workout Meals: Key Takeaways

If you are taking one factor away from this put up, let it’s this: Your meal put up train is simply as necessary as your pre-workout meal as a result of your muscular tissues deplete glycogen (saved carbohydrates) and break down protein throughout strenuous exercises, like these kettlebell HIIT exercises.

Remember, in the event you consumed a pre-workout meal inside 1-2 hours, your post-workout meal might be consumed between 1-2 hours after understanding. And in the event you consumed a pre-workout meal 4-6 hours earlier than your sweat session, it’s best to have your post-workout meal as quickly as it’s handy.

As for a way to prioritize your vitamins, maintain the following pointers in thoughts:

Protein and carbohydrates needs to be prioritized within the post-workout timeframe to assist your physique get better. Endurance sports activities may have extra carbs of their well-balanced meals.
Fats could also be included post-workout if the purpose is muscle achieve and muscle energy to improve each day energy.
To lose fats, you should be in a calorie deficit.
To achieve muscle, you should be in a calorie surplus, until you might be new to lifting.
When attempting to lose fats, it is best to have a rise in completely each day protein consumption to retain muscle.

There you may have it! You’ve bought all the data you want. Grab your lean proteins, some veggies, and a tasty carb, and get to cooking! And do not forget to keep hydrated.

Related: What to Eat Before a Workout & When to Eat It

sports medicine


Jeukendrup, A. E., & Gleeson, M. (2019). Sport vitamin. Human Kinetics.

Chen, Y.-L., Kuan, W.-H., & Liu, C.-L. (2020). Comparative examine of the composition of sweat from eccrine and apocrine sweat glands throughout train and in warmth. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(10), 3377. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103377

McDermott, B. P., Anderson, S. A., Armstrong, L. E., Casa, D. J., Cheuvront, S. N., Cooper, L., Kenney, W. L., O’Connor, F. G., & Roberts, W. O. (2017). National Athletic Trainers’ Association place assertion: Fluid Replacement for the bodily lively. Journal of Athletic Training, 52(9), 877–895. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-52.9.02

Aragon, A., & Schoenfeld, B. (2013). Nutrient timing revisited. Functional Foods, 65–89. https://doi.org/10.1201/b16307-5

Hector, A. J., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Protein suggestions for weight reduction in elite athletes: A give attention to physique composition and efficiency. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 28(2), 170–177. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0273

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