Fuel: What to Eat After a Workout


You’ve eaten your pre-workout snack and replenished fluids and carbs during your workout. It’s time for a quality snack or meal and more fluids to help your body recover after you exercise. There are some general guidelines for post-exercise foods, but check with your doctor if you have diabetes or other medical condition.

Remember the high-carbohydrate food you ate before your workout? You feel tired after you exercise because your body has used some of the stored carbohydrates and energy from that food. You will feel better and your muscles will recover faster if you eat a combination of carbohydrates and protein within two hours after your workout, recommends the Mayo Clinic. Replenishing carbohydrates and protein is especially important if you exercise intensely more than once a day or are training for a marathon or triathlon, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

After a 30- to 40-minute cardio workout, a light snack within 30 minutes works best for me. Good post-workout snacks with a balance of carbohydrates and protein include Greek yogurt and fruit, toast and peanut butter, or cheese and crackers. Sometimes I have half a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread.

You may want to schedule your workout before a meal. Opt for protein, fresh vegetables and carbohydrates. Protein could be meat, tofu, or beans, and good carbohydrate choices include brown rice or sweet potatoes. Low-fat foods may be easier for you to digest after exercise.

Remember to drink water or a sports drink after you exercise. If you weigh yourself before and after your workout, you’ll know the amount of fluids you need to replenish. Drink 2 or 3 cups of water for every pound you lose during your workout. A sports drink is especially helpful if you do not feel like eating as you’re cooling off and resting.

Have a great week, and let me know how you’re doing!

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