What Should I Eat After Working Out? – 3 Tips

What Should I Eat After Working Out? – 3 Tips

meal to eat after workout

Post workout feeding – can I have my chocolate milk?

The meal you eat after working out is the most important meal for any athlete or active individual. There’s a short window (30-45 min) where your body is primed for nutrient re-uptake. This is when the body recovers and grows. If you miss the window, you can enter a catabolic state and actually destroy lean muscle tissue!

Because we have such a short nutrient re-uptake window, the speed of nutrient absorption is very important to consider. The science of macronutrient kinetics (how quickly your body absorbs nutrients) basically tells us to avoid fat and fiber immediately after our workouts – these nutrients will sit in your gut, they’ll digest very slowly, and they’ll prevent you from absorbing other nutrition you might ingest (nutrition your muscles desperately need).

A liquid after workout meal
photo credit: Viktor Hanacek

Instead, right after a working out, your meal should consist of quick absorbing nutrients. Liquid nutrition, in this case, is a great choice. One great product (that I have no affiliation with) is Vitargo. This carb extract has actually been university proven to absorb 2x faster than any other form of carbohydrate on the market, whether you’re talking pasta, honey or some of the other post-workout recovery powders.

The 3 Big Tips: What to Do After Working Out

Tip #1 – A quick and easy way to re-feed post workout

Use a coconut water mixed with 3/4 scoop of whey protein. Why a coconut water? Macronutrient kinetics again – liquid nutrition is absorbed quicker and this should give you the right ratio of carbs to protein: 30-50 carbs to 10-15 protein (3:1 for general workouts).

Tip #2- Adjust the carbs to protein ratio based on workout types

Power training = 2:1
Endurance training = 4:1
Mixed or general training = 3:1

Although you might train for as long as a marathoner, a lot more stress is put on your muscles, especially your upper body. Your muscles need the extra protein to repair.

My 3rd tip should be easy, but too many developing athletes neglect it. I think culturally, we struggle with this one. We are often taught that hard work trumps and rest is for wimps, or as my old coach would say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. But I’m here to tell you otherwise:

lion sleeps for improved performance
photo credit: William Warby

Tip #3 – Sleep more

Sleep is absolutely vital to workout recovery. During your sleep cycle, you’ll hit a phase where growth hormone is released by the pituitary gland which stimulates tissue repair. Sleep also increases your testosterone production and has been proven to boost athletics performance.

Having trouble getting good sleep? – Check out this blog post.

And yes, chocolate milk does make for a great post training drink. So enjoy.

Eat right, sleep well and conquer the world!

1 thought on “What Should I Eat After Working Out? – 3 Tips”

  1. Good Article mate.
    Some of the people ignore the last tip given by you. Sleep is one of the most important part of any fitness programs. While sleeping our body releases Human Growth Hormone and repairs all the damaged tissues at that time to build stronger ones.

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