What Should I Eat After A Workout

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What Should I Eat After A Workout

What Should I Eat After A Workout

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Muscle Recovery Foods For Post Workout Soreness

5 healthy, filling foods to eat after a workout will give your muscles the best chance for recovery

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This article has been medically reviewed by Samantha Cassetti, MS, RD, a nutrition and health specialist in private practice in New York.

Our stories are vetted by medical professionals to ensure you get the most accurate and helpful information about your health and well-being. For more information, contact the Medical Review Board.

What To Eat After A Workout

After training, you may feel that important work is behind you. But what you eat after a workout can have a real impact on your fitness.

“One concept I try to get athletes to understand is that exercise benefits don’t occur until after the workout is over and your body is recovering and trying to get stronger or faster,” says John M. Martinez, MD. A sports physician working with the USA Triathlon Team.

Martinez recommends that people, especially those who exercise at a high level, eat a protein- and carbohydrate-rich meal within an hour of finishing a workout.

What Should I Eat After A Workout

Ideally, these carbs and protein should come from whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, but protein supplements or shakes can work in a pinch. Protein helps repair and build muscle, while carbohydrates stabilize blood sugar and prevent the body from breaking down muscle.

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Fish is a great source of lean protein that helps your muscles recover after an intense workout. Sushi in particular has a good balance of protein from fish and carbohydrates from rice. Yelp / Alex B.

Fish and chicken provide lean protein, which should be the cornerstone of any post-workout meal or snack, Martinez says.

Lean proteins—including fish, beans, and boneless, skinless chicken—allow you to get all the health and muscle-rebuilding benefits of protein with fewer calories and less saturated fat than proteins like beef or pork.

“Fish and chicken have all the essential proteins—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—and promote muscle repair and muscle growth,” says Martinez.

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Tip: Prepping protein makes it easier to refuel after a workout. Steamed or baked fish or grilled chicken can easily be prepared the night before and eaten shortly after exercise.

“If you love whole grains, quinoa is probably your best bet,” says Stacey Stephenson, DC, a functional medicine expert and founder of health platform VibrantDoc.

In addition, quinoa is gluten-free, making it a great choice for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

What Should I Eat After A Workout

Tip: You can make a protein-packed quinoa bowl with fish or chicken and add fruits like avocado and vegetables like kale for an extra boost of key nutrients.

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Avocado Toast with Tempeh is a quick and easy vegetarian meal option for those on the go. Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

“Avocados are high in healthy fats and are a great choice, especially for athletes on a low-carb or ketogenic diet,” says Martinez.

For example, one avocado contains about 13 grams of monounsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 3 grams of saturated fat. This high fat content will take longer for your body to digest, which will keep you full longer than eating a bowl of plain white rice, which usually contains simple carbohydrates.

Cabbage is a nutrient-dense leafy green that makes a great addition to other vegetables and meats. Woods Wheatcroft / Getty

Workouts And Food

“Leafy vegetables are rich in micronutrients and vitamins, so they’re a healthy part of a balanced diet for athletes,” says Martinez.

In particular, dark leafy vegetables provide important nutrients such as calcium and iron, which help you maintain. Calcium aids muscle recovery and helps strengthen bones, while iron regulates metabolism and energy use.

Tip: A post-workout meal is a great time to eat extra vegetables during the day. If you’re making a protein smoothie, add spinach along with the quinoa or saute kale.

What Should I Eat After A Workout

Protein shakes are popular for being a quick and easy way to get protein after a workout. However, it’s important to make sure you’re drinking a high-quality protein shake that’s not loaded with sugar. Instead of just watching commercials, it’s important to do your homework on the vibe, says Martinez.

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“The protein supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar market with large marketing segments,” Martinez said. “That said, protein shakes are convenient and easy to mix and drink post-workout. Quality protein shakes typically provide about 30 grams of protein, including 3-4 grams of the amino acid leucine, which promotes muscle growth.”

While some argue that chocolate milk is a great post-workout drink if you don’t have protein powder, Martinez says it doesn’t have any particular benefits. “It works as a recovery drink because it contains carbohydrates and protein, but it’s no different than other foods with those macronutrients,” she says.

A 2013 study recommended that pre- and post-workout meals should not be separated by more than four hours. If you have more space than that, you will feel tired and unable to recharge your muscles with the energy they need to exercise and repair.

Most people prefer to wait for their heart rate to drop before eating, Stephenson says, which usually happens 10 to 20 minutes after exercise. Bathing and then eating is a common and effective method, he says.

How Long Should You Wait To Workout After Eating?

In general, eating protein after a workout is extremely important to help your muscles recover. “Post-workout is about providing your body with the building blocks it needs to repair and strengthen your muscles,” says Stephenson.

There are many ways to get this protein and you can choose from a variety of foods depending on your preferences and time. This is reflected in Stephenson’s own post-workout routine.

“Seafood, eggs, and yogurt are my favorites, but sometimes I find it’s quick and easy to make a high-quality, nutritious protein shake that includes everything,” she says. “I have a lot to catch up on, so it makes sense for my schedule.”

What Should I Eat After A Workout

Kelly Burchis on finance, health, family and more. is a freelance journalist based in New Hampshire. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and Forbes. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter or learn more here. Whether you hit the pavement or the gym, you want to get the best return on your exercise investment. Both hydration and nutrition are important factors in getting the most out of your workouts.

Want To Build Muscle? Here’s What To Eat Before And After Working Out

First – water! If you want to build muscle and crush your workout, make sure you’re properly hydrated.

Before we get into what to eat before exercise, let’s talk about the benefits of not fasting before or after a workout. Exercising while fasting, like first thing in the morning before breakfast, activates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).

Because the SNS controls your body’s fat-burning processes, brisk exercise breaks down fat and glycogen for energy. Research shows that fasting before aerobic exercise results in a reduction in both body weight and body fat [ source ].

Age, pregnancy, medications, medical history, hormonal imbalance, fitness level, etc., determine whether a person should exercise while fasting. various factors play a role. I believe the best approach is to listen to your body!

Rd Approved Snacks To Eat After A Workout

Give it a try and see how it goes. If you feel sluggish during exercise (weak, nauseous, dizzy), you may want to eat a small snack or meal before exercising. See below for some ideas.

Matcha tea is high in antioxidants and contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which helps improve focus and mental alertness [ source ]. Matcha provides long-lasting energy after a coffee crash and helps the body burn fat and reduce inflammation [ source ].

If you work out first thing in the morning, drink matcha half an hour before your workout to increase endurance, boost metabolism, promote fat burning, and speed up post-workout recovery.

What Should I Eat After A Workout

Cordyceps mushroom is an incredible pre-workout energizer. It’s not a stimulant, but an adaptogen that supports your adrenal glands and helps your body produce and maintain stable energy levels [ source ].

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It helps fight fatigue, increases energy and stamina, improves exercise performance [source] and speeds recovery from strenuous exercise.

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