Post-Workout Meals: The How-To Guide

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An important part of your high intensity interval training meal plan is getting the energy you need before your workout to fuel you through it so you can give it maximum effort. Be sure to eat three or four hours before you work out to give your body the chance to break down the macronutrients for energy — and also to avoid working out with a full stomach.

During Workout

Examples of this type of meal include whole-wheat or grain bread with peanut or almond butter; dried fruit with mixed nuts; and Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit. Your post-workout meal is essential after a high intensity interval training session because it helps restore energy and repair muscles after a brutal workout. Similar to your pre-workout meal, this meal should also be high in carbohydrates and protein. Try pita with hummus or guacamole; fruit, cheese, and crackers; and whole-grain cereal with fruit and soy milk as post-workout meals.

During long training sessions, consuming a shake can be anti-catabolic. This is why BCAAs are a popular intra-workout drink. They immediately provide you with essential amino acids and energy, and do not require any digesting.

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Remember, the last thing you want is to unnecessarily divert blood to your digestive tract! While it is not necessary to eat during a workout if your pre-workout strategy is in check, there's nothing wrong with consuming a shake or amino acids during your session, provided your stomach can handle it and the amount you consume does not require a lot of digesting.

This is especially true if you prefer longer, more intense training sessions.

While it is not necessary to eat during a workout if your pre-workout strategy is in check, there's nothing wrong with consuming a shake or amino acids during your workout, provided your stomach can handle it and the amount you consume does not require a lot of digesting. This is especially true if you prefer longer, more intense workouts. If you are serious about lifting and you want the best results, proper post-workout nutrition is essential.

What Is A Proper Pre, During, And Post Workout Nutrition Diet? |

Refueling your body after a workout is one of the most important parts of building muscle and recovering. If you don't eat the right foods after training, or you don't eat them at the right time, your performance the next time will suffer, your gains will not be as good as they could be, and you could end up losing mass along the way. Plus, you're setting yourself up for extra soreness—not fun.

The most important reason to eat something after you work out is to elicit an insulin response. Insulin is a highly anabolic hormone, and spiking it halts protein breakdown and helps encourage protein synthesis. Skipping this meal means you will miss out on these anabolic effects.

You will only encourage further protein breakdown, which over time leads to a loss of mass. To put it simply: Eating after you work out helps builds muscle and end protein breakdown for better recovery.


After an intense training session, your glycogen stores are depleted. Refilling them halts protein breakdown and increases protein synthesis. As opposed to pre-workout nutrition, where complex carbohydrates are preferred, your carbs here should be simple and easy to digest in order to illicit an insulin response to build muscle, stave off soreness, and recover more quickly. The best choices for immediately after the gym are fast-digesting proteins and faster-digesting, moderate-to-high-glycemic carbs.

What I Eat Pre & Post Workout (Meal Ideas & Nutrition Science)

Fats should be largely avoided here, as they were during the pre-workout meal. They slow down the digestive process, and this is the one time you don't want to slow the flow of nutrients into your body. The goal of here is to replenish glycogen levels and give your body what it needs to recover. Carbohydrates alone can accomplish the first goal, but the response is greater when you consume carbs and protein together.

Post-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat After a Workout

This is why a recovery protein shake is used almost universally by serious gym goers. Liquid nutrients are the most readily digestible form—exactly what you are looking for immediately after you lift. If you are serious about your gains, an after-workout shake is a no-brainer. No, it doesn't have to be right after you finish in the so-called "anabolic window," but it doesn't hurt to have it right after a workout.

The sooner you get that shake down, the sooner it can do its work, and the sooner you can eat again. Whey is perhaps the best after-training protein because it is the quickest and most readily digestible protein available. Many companies have specific "gainer" protein blends with the ideal ratio of carbs and protein. A good ratio is carbs-to-protein when gaining weight, and or lower when cutting fat.

If you don't want to have a pantry full of protein powders, you could always add simple carbs such as dextrose to your protein shake to increase the carb to protein ratio and promote a stronger insulin response.

Post-Workout Meals: The How-To Guide

You should start any exercise session well hydrated. This means drinking water regularly throughout the day. The choice of drink depends on the intensity and duration of the exercise, and your training goals. You can make a homemade sports drink with ml of squash not low calorie , ml water and a large pinch of salt. Learn more from our water and drinks page. This might be your next main meal. In general, a balanced diet will provide the nutrients and energy necessary for sport without the need for food supplements.

Find out more about bodybuilding and sport supplements. If you're trying to lose weight, you'll need to watch what you eat and drink after your workouts. If you consume more energy than you burned during your exercise, you may find yourself putting on weight rather than losing it. A punishing exercise routine may not be the best way to lose weight. Check out our Lose weight section for more advice.