What To Eat After A Workout?

No matter your choice of exercise, whether it is running, swimming, or heavy lifting, a well-planned workout needs a well-planned diet to go with it. Deciding the meals you will have is a must to replenish nutrients lost during exercise. Before understanding what to eat after a workout let’s learn how it helps your body.

Why Eating After A Workout Is Important?

Your main goal with a meal after your workout is to replenish your energy, help your body repair, and rehydrate yourself. Keep these three Rs in mind with your post-workout meal:

  • Replenish all the glucose that your body has used up during your workout through carbohydrates.
  • Rebuild the proteins in your muscles that tend to break down during an intense workout session with a high protein diet.
  • Rehydrate your body with water and electrolytes lost when sweating.

Hence the best post workout meal comprises of carbohydrates, proteins, and fluids, and here are the benefits of each.

Benefits Of Carbs After Workout

Carbohydrates help to replenish the glycogen (form of glucose) that your body burns during exercise. [5] The amount of carbohydrates to have post workout differs for each individual and the type of exercise.

For instance, indulging in endurance training (running, cycling) causes the body to use more glycogen in comparison to resistance training (weight-lifting).

Research suggests consuming about 1.2 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight within 60 minutes after your workout, results in rapid restoration of glycogen in your body. [1]

Benefits Of Protein After Workout

Your workout also breaks down proteins in your muscles. As with carbohydrates, the rate of protein breakdown depends on the type of workout.

Protein-rich foods will supply your body with essential amino acids that aid in the repair of the wear and tear of the body after exercise.[2] Protein also rebuilds muscle proteins required for the generation of new muscle tissue.[3]

A combined approach of consuming carbohydrates and proteins is more favorable as your body’s needs of glycogen and amino acids are both taken care of. It is recommended that your post-workout meal should have roughly 0.2 to 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight.[1]

Benefits Of Fluids After Workout

Sipping on fluids are also important since you expend a lot of water and electrolytes through sweat while exercising. This needs to be replenished for the optimal internal functioning of your body. [4] Having an electrolyte-rich drink or even fresh coconut water is great for this!

Some Great Options For A Post-Workout Meal

  • Chocolate Milk - Chocolate milk covers all the major needs of a workout meal i.e. carbohydrates, proteins, and fluids.
  • Quinoa Bowl - Quinoa is known to be rich in both protein and carbohydrates and its combination of nutrients beats that of a simple rice bowl. You can also pack your quinoa bowl with micronutrients by adding green veggies or fruits.
  • Protein Shakes And Smoothies - Protein shakes are quite popular and a super easy and quick way to replenish your body with proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and fluids all at once.
  • Whole-grain Toast And Eggs - Eggs are a great source of protein irrespective of how they’re cooked. And combined with whole-grain toast, this meal packs a double punch of carbohydrates and proteins which makes it a wholesome and super-delicious meal.

Your post-workout meal should essentially help you restore your body’s nutrients and energy lost during exercise. A good balance of carbs, proteins, and electrolyte-rich fluids is the best way to go about a healthy post-workout meal that aids your workout goals.


Is It Good To Have A Banana After A Workout?
Just like any other fruit, bananas are a great food to have after a workout. They are a great source of carbohydrates, minerals, fiber, and proteins which reduce inflammation and replenish glycogen (form of glucose). [6]

Are Eggs Good To Eat After A Workout?
Eggs are a perfect post-workout food. They provide amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. This makes eggs a great choice of food for building and repairing muscle proteins and muscle tissue.

Does Eating After Exercise Increase Weight?
Post-workout meals are about replenishing your depleted energy and repairing your muscle tissues. Research suggests that having an optimum number of meals i.e. 3 to 6 meals a day allows for a healthy BMI and minimal weight gain, provided that the quantity and quality of the food are appropriate. [7]

What Is The Best Drink After A Workout?
Water or healthy beverages like coconut water and electrolyte drinks [8] are great to have after a workout. Such drinks are rich in electrolytes that are expended through sweat while working out.