Post-Workout Nutrition: What You Need to Know

After you exercise, your body has lost substances such as minerals, liquids, and electrolytes. For this reason, post-workout nutrition is essential for a quick recovery.
Post-Workout Nutrition: What You Need to Know

Last update: 07 December, 2018

Making changes to your body, whether it’s losing weight or building muscle, requires a combination of exercise and the right diet. In addition, post-workout nutrition is also an important part of this: you can’t eat just anything! In this article, we’ll take a look at proper post-workout nutrition to follow up your next session.

The importance of post-workout nutrition

People who work out do so because they’re pursuing a goal. Depending on your objectives, you need to maintain an appropriate diet. The post-workout period, though, requires nutrition that complements your exercise. This is the time when we can provide our bodies with all the nutrients they need.

In addition, if you’re looking to build muscle mass, after working out you need to consume foods that are rich in proteins and low in simple carbohydrates. This will stimulate your body to use amino acids, and promote hypertrophy, or the synthesis of muscle proteins.

Woman drinking water at gym

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to eat correctly after exercise. Simply, drink lots of liquids, stay hydrated, and – above all – wait for more than an hour before eating any food.

Once it’s time to eat, choose foods with a low glycemic index. This means they won’t be digested quickly, and can stimulate the body to continue using stored fats as an energy source.

Post-workout nutrition: building muscle

If you want to promote muscle hypertrophy, and you work out intensely for one or two hours a day, you’re going to need more than water. Include easy-to-digest proteins while keeping sugar to a minimum.  This will stimulate the synthesis of muscle proteins after your workout.

It’s also important to consume these nutrients between one and two hours after you’ve finished exercising. Let’s take a look at some examples of what to eat after working out, if you want to build muscle:

  • A glass of milk and a ripe banana.
  • A glass of milk with a tablespoon of cocoa.
  • Orange juice with protein powder.
  • Yogurt with oatmeal and honey.
  • A glass of milk and three dried apricots.
Water bottle with weights and banana

Post-workout nutrition: burning fat

As we’ve already mentioned, if you want to burn fatavoid solid foods immediately after working out. We recommend drinking large quantities of water.

Once one or two hours have passed, eat foods that aren’t easy to digest. This way, the body will keep using its stored fats as an energy source.

Now let’s look at some foods you can eat after your workout if you want to burn fat:

  • An apple (unpeeled).
  • Skim yogurt with one piece of fresh fruit.
  • A glass of skim milk with five walnuts or ten almonds.
  • 30 grams of sunflower seeds.
  • A glass of skim milk with oatmeal (no added sugar).
  • Half a sandwich: whole-wheat bread, low-fat fresh cheese, and a tomato.

Post-workout nutrition adjusted for exertion

Beyond whatever goal you have in mind, you need to account for the duration and intensity of the workout. This will affect the foods you need to eat in order to achieve optimal results.

For instance, running for an hour requires different foods than a four-hour marathon. In the latter case, although your goal may be to burn fat, you need to complement your water consumption with other substances, including sugars, electrolytes, and minerals. This is due to the fact that sweating causes us to lose water, but also magnesium, sodium, and potassium, among other nutrients.

People with energy drinks

For this reason, we recommend consuming isotonic beverages or sports drinks after physical activities lasting an hour and a half or more. You also need to complement the beverage with foods rich in sugars and minerals, such as bananas. You can also try replacing the water with fruit juice.

In conclusion, we’ve seen how post-workout nutrition depends on our fitness goals. As such, it’s very important to maintain a diet that complements our objectives in order to get the best possible results.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.