What To Eat After A Workout?

One of the questions I get asked time and time again is “what to eat after a workout?”. After an intense weight training workout, it is important to eat correctly and promptly to take advantage of the moment where your body is craving nutrition to start repairing the cells damaged as a result of the workout. Not only is it important to eat promptly it is important what type of food you choose.

So what should you eat after a workout?

Your body needs a good source of protein to initiate repair coupled with simple carbohydrates to refill the stores in the muscles you just used. This applies whether you train morning or evening, even if you are in the gym until say 8 pm or 9 pm and have heard that eating carbohydrates late at night is wrong.

If you don’t include carbohydrate in your after workout meal or drink then your body will have to look for other sources and may start to break down more muscle tissue to use instead. Obviously, that would go against why you went to the gym to train in the first place! You’ll want to avoid that at all costs!

You should be aiming to get 1 – 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kg of bodyweight and around 30 – 70 grams of protein into your system as soon as possible. This is not always possible with solid foods which are why protein and carbohydrate supplements are available. These are a perfect source of what your body needs minus any real preparation which can sometimes mean the difference of getting something rather than missing the post workout opportunity.

If you are going to use solid foods for your carbohydrate source, this is not an excuse to get the chewy sweets out! Aim to eat good quality carbohydrate likes oatmeal, brown rice or root vegetables for example. You should avoid eating fats with this meal as this will slow down the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrate and protein into your body.

So to summarize, what to eat after a workout and when?

1 – 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kg of bodyweight

30 – 70 grams of protein

Within an hour after your workout, ideally much sooner. This is the best window of opportunity to force the nutrients into your muscle cells and start the repair process.


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