What Should You be Eating After a Hard Workout?

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Question: What should I be eating after a hard workout?

I just started working out again and am wondering what I should eat right after a workout to help with my post workout recovery. There is just so much conflicting information out there. I don’t know what is actually right.


You’re right, there’s a lot of mixed information on post-workout meals and snacks, but here’s what you really need to know:

The hour right after you workout is the most important. Your workout has broken down your muscles and depleted your energy stores. Now all your body wants to do is recover. What makes the first hour after working out so important is that there’s an increase in enzyme activity making your body more efficient at storing nutrients for energy and building protein in fatigued muscles.

The ideal post-workout meal is a combination of carbohydrates and protein. About 60% of your meal should be comprised of carbs. 25% of the meal should be made up of protein, and the remaining 15% or less should be comprised of fat. Fat really does not play a big part in post-workout recovery and you should look to avoid eating too much of it.

If you’re pressed on time and can’t get a full meal right after a workout, try low fat chocolate milk. New research has shown that it may be the best exercise recovery drink out there. The high carb and protein content in milk makes it incredibly effective for post workout recovery…plus it tastes good!

Here are two light meal suggestions:
- Turkey sandwich on whole grain wheat bread topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
- Egg sandwich with fresh veggies
- Egg omelet with a piece of whole grain wheat toast

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Photo courtesy of 101cookbooks.com