What to Eat After a Workout, According to Experts

It’s important to refuel your body after a workout. Here’s what to eat after a workout, according to experts.


Exercise and nutrition work together to provide the best possible health results. What you eat after a workout is just as important as what you eat prior to it. Eating the right types of food after a workout can speed up your recovery, allow your muscles to build and strengthen, and help give you more energy for your next workout.

Knowing the best timing and foods to eat after exercise can often be confusing. The key is finding balance between getting enough protein and carbohydrates for recovery, while also getting nutrients from whole foods whenever possible. This article will go over what types of food are beneficial for post-workout nutrition, including proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, hydrators/electrolytes as well as snacks that can combine several of these groups in one delicious meal or snack. Finally it will also discuss when to eat certain types of food after exercise and times when other foods may be more appropriate based on activity type and individual goals.


Protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle and maintaining overall health. Consuming the right amounts of protein after a workout will help to rebuild and repair muscle tissue, as well as provide the body with essential amino acids to help build muscle. So, what are the best sources of protein for post workout recovery? Let’s take a look.

Benefits of Protein

Eating enough high-quality protein is an important part of maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. Protein is essential for repairing worn-out muscles, maintaining muscle mass and helping promote muscle growth. It’s also helpful in regulating hormones, immune system function, healthy metabolism and transporting nutrients throughout the body.

Consuming the right amount of protein helps the body to repair cells efficiently and effectively after a workout. It not only helps you to reach your fitness goals but can provide health benefits as well, such as better heart health, improved strong bones, increased energy levels and metabolism acceleration.

Not all proteins are created equal — it’s important to choose nutrient-dense sources that feature essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the body on its own. Some of the best protein options for post-workout recovery include creamy almond butter; tuna or salmon; yogurt or kefir; chickpeas or white beans; egg whites; Soy products like tofu and tempeh; lean beef or pork; lentils; quinoa ; wall nuts ; oatmeal ; cottage cheese ; Turkey ; Hemp seeds ; Pumpkin seeds .

When choosing a high-protein post workout snack (fuel), it’s important to know your macro breakdown along with any nutritional restrictions so you can make sure you’re consuming adequate amounts of protein without overeating other food elements such as carbohydrates and/or fats. Always remember that moderation is key! In general,, aiming for anywhere between 15–25 grams per meal should suffice when trying to meet your daily protein needs.

Types of Protein

Proteins provide the essential building blocks for tissues, hormones, enzymes and cell walls, making them a crucial part of any healthy diet. After a workout, consuming protein can help repair and rebuild muscle fibers and supply essential materials to refuel your body.

With so many protein options available — from dairy to meat to plant-based — it can be difficult to figure out which kinds are best for your specific needs following exercise. The type of protein you choose will depend on your dietary requirements, workout intensity and other personal factors. Here is an overview of some of the most common sources of protein:

Animal Proteins: These proteins are complete proteins that contain all the essential amino acids needed for tissue repair and muscle growth. Animal sources of protein include milk (including yogurt), eggs, beef, chicken, pork and fish. Animal proteins also contain beneficial vitamins like Vitamin D and B12.

Plant-Based Proteins: Plant-based proteins offer many health benefits like fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients but they don’t contain all the nine essential amino acids our bodies need in order to grow muscle mass effectively. Common plant sources of proteins include beans (legumes), lentils, quinoa, nuts and seeds.

Protein Supplements: Protein supplements provide an easy way to get more medical-grade quality proteins into your diet but they can be expensive so it is best to opt for real food when possible unless you have specific dietary needs or constraints that require supplementation.. Common types include whey protein powder (from cow’s milk) casein (also from cow’s milk) soy protein isolate or pea isolate isolates (plant based).


Carbohydrates are an essential macronutrient for recovery after an intense workout. This is due to their ability to refuel the energy stores of the body and provide fuel for muscle building processes. Additionally, carbohydrates can help to restore glycogen and help to optimize muscle repair and recovery. Here we will discuss the importance of carbohydrates for post-workout meals and how to best incorporate them.

Benefits of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an essential part of any diet, and they are especially important after a workout. Carbohydrates provide the energy your body needs to refuel and recover efficiently. Eating carbohydrates shortly after a workout can help your muscles refuel quickly, restoring muscle glycogen and allowing you to return to your next workout feeling stronger.

Carbohydrates also help to stimulate protein synthesis, which helps with muscle growth and repair. Protein consumption is important for active individuals who want to maximize their results, but protein alone cannot rebuild muscle or restore stamina after a tough workout – that power comes from carbs! Finally, consuming carbohydrates soon after exercise can also help prevent post-exercise overeating by satiating hunger.

To get the most out of your post-workout meals, be sure that they include healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, vegetables, fruits such as apples and oranges, whole grains like oatmeal or quinoa, legumes such as lentils or chickpeas and starchy vegetables like squash. Additionally, be sure to pair these sources of carbohydrate with some lean protein such as Greek yogurt or chicken breast in order to optimize post-workout recovery.

Types of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are essential for replenishing energy and glycogen stores after a hard workout, and post-workout nutrition should contain ample carbohydrates to support athletic performance. Understanding the different types of carbohydrates available is key for finding the right foods for post-workout fuel.

Simple carbohydrates are quickly digested and provide a rapid source of energy immediately after exercise. Examples of simple carbs that could be consumed post-workout include fruit, honey, table sugar (sucrose) and juice. Complex carbohydrates provide an extended energy release by requiring more work from the digestive system, allowing athletes to maintain even blood sugar levels throughout their recovery and training sessions. Common complex carbohydrate sources include starch-based foods such as potatoes, yams, legumes, whole grain bread and breakfast cereals.

Most experts recommend eating both simple and complex carbohydrates after a workout in order to obtain maximum nutritional benefit. Simple carbs will provide an instant energy boost while complex carbs keep your body supplied with consistent fuel as it recovers from exercise. For athletes looking to optimize their nutritional routine during physical activity or training regimens, incorporating both types of carbohydrate sources into individualized post-workout meals is recommended by health professionals for best results.


Eating the right foods after a workout is important to replenish your body and help it properly recover. One of the macronutrients you should focus on is fats. Fats are just as important to add back into your body after a workout to help restore your energy levels. Below we will discuss the types of healthy fats that you should eat after a workout and why they are beneficial for your body.

Benefits of Fats

Health experts agree that fats are an essential part of a balanced diet, and they provide various essential functions in the body. Fats are used to make hormones, cushion the organs and act as building blocks for cell membranes. Healthy fats — such as those found in avocados, nuts and fish — can also support strong joints, reduce inflammation and help regulate blood sugar levels.

Fats found in whole food sources tend to be much healthier than processed types due to their higher nutrient content. Healthy fats may include olive oil, coconut oil, nut butters and avocados, among other nutritious sources. The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics recommends that individuals consume 20-35% of their daily calories from healthy fat sources. Consuming the right proportion of healthy fat can also help improve one’s performance post-workout; research has linked consumption of healthy fats to improved muscle recovery after intense physical activity.

Types of Fats

When choosing your post-workout meal or snack, it’s important to understand the difference between the four main types of fats. Here is a breakdown of each one and how to find healthy options with each:

Monounsaturated Fats
Southwest salads, avocados, nuts, nut butter, and olives are among items loaded with monounsaturated fats. In addition to providing energy and maintaining cell membranes throughout the body, this type of fat helps protect against heart disease. It also reduces inflammation in response to exercise and can help control blood sugar levels.

Polyunsaturated Fats
Different sources of essential fatty acids like omega-3s (which your body cannot make) come from foods such as salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds. Polyunsaturated fatty acids play an important role in reducing inflammation that can occur after exercise as well as improving brain function.

Saturated Fats
Saturated fats are found in animal products such as eggs yolks, dairy products including butter and cheese, whole-milk yogurt and animal meats including beef and pork. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat consumption to less than 7 percent of daily caloric intake per day due to its contribution towards artery clogging cholesterol build-up over time. Saturated fat consumption should be kept low if someone is a major risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke.

Trans Fats
These man-made agents are used to improve the shelf life of some processed foods but have been shown to increase the levels of bad cholesterol while decreasing the good cholesterol levels in individuals when too much is consumed on a regular basis. The best way to know if a food contains trans fats is by reading labels on all processed foods carefully (manufacturers can no longer claim zero trans fat/partially hydrogenated oil on labels).


Hydration is essential after any workout. Whether you go for a run, lift weights, or practice yoga, it’s important to replenish the fluids you lost during exercise. Rehydrating will help your body recover faster and also prevent any side effects from over-exertion. Next, we’ll talk about the best foods to eat after a workout that will help restore your energy levels and help your muscles grow.

Benefits of Hydration

Staying hydrated is an essential part of working out and staying healthy. Proper hydration helps to keep your cells healthy and functioning, provides an energy boost for those tough workouts, and helps flush out toxins from your body. It also helps replenish lost fluids from sweat and prevents dehydration. Additionally, proper hydration may help reduce the risk of certain medical conditions such as kidney or urinary tract infections or diabetes.

Hydrating before, during, and after a workout can improve physical performance, reduce fatigue and help enhance energy levels during exercise. Drinking water is key to staying properly hydrated; however, sports drinks may be beneficial if you are engaging in strenuous physical activity for more than just a few hours at a time or you are endurance training. Sports drinks contain carbohydrates which can provide an extra source of energy while hydrating your body at the same time. Additionally, adding electrolytes such as sodium through sports drinks or foods can help replenish electrolytes lost with sweat and increase your chances of avoiding muscle cramps.

It’s important to note that though drinking lots of fluids can be beneficial during exercise, it’s still important to remain within recommended guidelines for daily consumption of liquids – about 8-10 glasses per day for adults – so that you don’t over-hydrate or dilute essential minerals in the body such as sodium. Therefore paying attention to symptoms like thirst and monitoring urine color is important when evaluating whether you are sufficiently hydrated all day long – not just before or after a workout!

Types of Hydration

It is essential to stay hydrated during and after workouts. Without adequate hydration, your body cannot efficiently convert food into energy and it can impact your performance. The types of hydration you should consume will depend on the type and duration of exercise that you are doing.

For short, intense workouts lasting less than 60 minutes, water is the best choice for post-workout rehydration. For shorter workouts (30 minutes) or with no strenuous activity involved, up to two glasses of fruit juice or some electrolyte-fortified water may provide a greater boost of energy.

For longer-duration activities lasting more than 60 minutes – such as long runs, hikes or biking — juice and sports drinks can provide a combination of carbohydrates and electrolytes that are lost with sweat. Gatorade Zero has no sugar but provides electrolytes to help you rehydrate quickly. Alternatively, there are also some “no carb” energy drinks available without calories which may be suitable for light exercise sessions that have no strenuous activity involved.

Lastly, for endurance athletes exercising for more than an 90 minutes – such as cyclists and marathoners – low calorie sports drinks may be beneficial due to their additional electrolytes combined with carbohydrates which aid in performance recovery along with providing energy punches for certain race scenarios where stamina is key to success.


Post-workout nutrition is essential for helping to refuel, repair and rebuild muscle. Timing your post-workout meal is just as important for maximizing recovery and optimizing muscle growth. But what is the best time to eat after a workout? According to experts, the timing of your post-workout meal should be within 45 minutes of finishing your workout. Let’s take a look at the science behind this and some tips for what to eat after a workout.

Benefits of Timing

The timing of your post-workout snack or meal is also key. Eating within 30 minutes after you finish your workout helps restore glycogen in your muscles, which aid in recovery and help ensure a speedy muscle repair. Plus, eating after exercise can help you rebuild damaged muscle, making sure that you get the most out of your workouts.

A healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat can help jumpstart this recovery process even further. Carbohydrates are necessary to help replenish the energy stores used up during exercise and provide fuel for your next activities; protein will build muscle mass and create stronger cellular structures; and healthy fats provide essential fatty acids that keep inflammation levels low and heart health high.

Eating soon after exercising also regulates hormones like insulin, leptin and ghrelin, which are associated with hunger levels and helps maintain a steady caloric intake throughout the day. Eating several small snacks or meals throughout the day can help regulate these hormones better than fewer larger meals, making it important to get in some nourishment after pounding the pavement or tearing up the track.


In conclusion, the food you eat after a workout plays an important role in aiding muscle recovery and restoring your energy levels. Eating some form of carbohydrate and protein soon after exercising will ensure that your muscles are supplied with the nutrients they need to rebuild and become stronger. Food choices should vary from person to person, depending on goals and dietary preferences, though for most people a balance of lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains and fruits and vegetables is optimal. What you decide to eat after your workout is up to you; just make sure it includes complete sources of carbohydrates and protein for optimal benefit.

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