Fitness, Nutrition

Post-Workout Meals: Truth or Just Hype?

“What should I eat after I workout? Do I really need a post-workout meal? How soon should I eat it after training?”

These questions come up all the time. Depending on the frequency, intensity and duration of your training sessions, the answers will be unique to you. The person working out at a moderate intensity 3 days a week and the person hitting the gym 5 or more days a week, sometimes twice in a day, are going to have different requirements.

The goal of a post-workout meal is to reduce the amount of muscle protein damaged afterwards and to replenish glycogen stores, aiding in a faster recovery before the next workout. In general, the more frequently and intensely you are training, the more important a post-workout meal becomes.  

What To Eat Post-Workout

This is pretty simple. You want to consume protein and carbohydrates, keeping little to no fat in your meal, within an hour of training.


When consuming protein post-workout, you want to get something called branch chain amino acids, or BCAA’s into your system to reduce the amount of muscle protein that is being damaged. Meat, fish, eggs and whey protein (if tolerated) are great sources of BCAA’s.


After a workout, your body is highly insulin-sensitive, meaning you can better tolerate the higher glycemic carbohydrates you’d otherwise shy away from. You want to look for carbohydrate sources that are high in glucose, such as potatoes, plantains and bananas. This will minimize muscle damage and aid in a speedier recovery.


You want to keep your fat intake post-workout to a minimum. Fats are much more slowly absorbed in the body and will, in turn, slow your absorption of the protein and carbs you are consuming along with it. As I said, timing is everything after an intense workout, so save the fats for your next meal.

How Much To Eat Post-Workout

Now you know what to eat, but how much should you eat? Again, the exact amounts will vary based on your intensity, duration and frequency of exercise. You will, regardless, want to consume more carbohydrates than protein after you exercise. Depending on the afore mentioned factors, you may require a 2:1 carb to protein ratio or as much as 4:1 if you are really pushing your training and looking for peak performance.

If training at high intensity or high frequency, 50-60g of carbohydrates and 12-15g of protein are a good estimate for your post-workout meal. The less intense or frequent your training, the lower the carbohydrate requirement will become.

Sample Post-Workout Meals

  • whey protein and banana
  • grilled chicken breast and sweet potato
  • hard boiled egg and 1 slice bread (whole grain or gluten-free)


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