Post-workout Nutrition: What Should I Eat After Exercise?

Your body is like a machine; it needs nutrients to function correctly and effectively. After a hard workout, your body will need nutrition to fuel and refuel working muscles. Check out these best post-workout nutrition foods.

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Best Post-Workout Nutrition Food for Men and Women

The Importance of Eating After Working out

During your workout session, your muscles use up all the glycogen stored in your muscles resulting in your muscle being partially depleted of glycogen. Along with the glycogen, some of the proteins get broken down and damaged. That’s why in order to repair and regrow these muscle proteins, your body needs a lot of energy to rebuild the glycogen lost in the process.

Consuming the right amount of certain nutrients after your workout can speed up this process. And it’s essential to have protein and carbohydrates in your post-workout nutrition food because they help:

  • Boost your recovery
  • Increase muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth)
  • Decrease muscle protein breakdown
  • Replenish the glycogen storage


Timing Is Everything

Having post-workout nutrition food doesn’t mean you have to eat them right after you are done with your workout. What you need to do is wait for at least 30 to 45 minutes before eating.

Studies show that delaying carb consumption by as little as two hours post-workout may result in a 50% lower rate of rebuilding glycogen. Also, even if you have a meal before working out, you can still benefit from them.

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Post-Workout Nutrition Foods

healthy-post-workout-food-avocado-nuts-coconut-oil-chia-flax-oatmeal-ss | Post-workout Nutrition: What Should I Eat After Exercise? | Post-Workout Nutrition Foods

The primary purpose of having a post-workout nutrition meal is to replenish the energy and supplement your body needs to repair the damaged tissues and muscle during the workout. Picking easily digested and micronutrient-riched food will help you with nutrient absorption maximizing the recovery rate. These are the few options for you to choose from:


  • Tofu scramble
  • Chicken or turkey
  • Peanut butter
  • Egg
  • Greek yogurt
  • Chocolate milk
  • Tuna or salmon
  • Protein shake (animal or plant-based)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Protein bars



  • Quinoa
  • Chia seed pudding
  • Rice cake
  • Whole-grain cereal or bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Crackers
  • Fresh or dried fruit (such as bananas, apples, melon, berries, etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Dark leafy greens



  • Nuts
  • Flax seeds
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado


Some Suggestions for Post-Workout Nutrition Meals

Post-workout Nutrition: What Should I Eat After Exercise? | brown-rice-with-chicken-breast-meal-ss | Some Suggestions for Post-Workout Nutrition Meals

Preparing a nutritious meal to help you recover faster from an exhausting workout is essential, but it sometimes can be a hassle. Here are some easy meals you can whip up in no time.

  • Egg scramble: Crack two eggs into a pan on low heat, scrape and stir it until it makes some small chunks. Throw in some onion or scallion and cooked potatoes to make it more appealing. Finish with salt and pepper.
  • Peanut butter toast: Throw in the toaster two healthy slices of whole-grain bread and wait until it turns into crunchy toast. Spread peanut butter on both slices of toast, and you got yourself a quick, easy post-workout nutrition meal.
  • Fruit smoothie: Blend Greek yogurt or plain yogurt with your favorite fruit, milk (optional), water, and ice. Set the blender on medium speed, blend until you have a well-mixed smoothie.
  • Brown rice and boneless chicken breast: This meal can be made in a crockpot, on the stovetop, or in the oven. For more flavor add some low-sodium seasoning or salsa. Some athletes prefer white rice over brown rice to avoid stomach upset caused by the high fiber content.


Don’t Forget to Drink Plenty of Water

Post-workout Nutrition: What Should I Eat After Exercise? | mature-man-drinking-water-after-workout-in-outdoor-autumn-scenery-ss | Don't Forget to Drink Plenty of Water

During exercise, your body loses a lot of electrolytes and water through sweat. It’s vital to replenish the amount lost to help your body recover faster and improve the result. When you are well hydrated, your body has the best internal condition to achieve maximum results.

Following a workout, it’s essential to consume the right amount of calories and protein. It will increase muscle protein synthesis, maximize regeneration, and boost your workout efficiency. If you can’t eat within 45 minutes of working out, don’t wait more than 2 hours before eating. Drink water to stay hydrated and replenish the electrolytes and water you lost.


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