Post-Workout Nutrition

Today's topic is.... you guessed it.. post-workout nutrition!!

The post workout meal is probably the most important meal of the day.
It should contain carbs and protein, and avoid fats which slow the digestion process.

A rule of thumb for your post-workout meal:

  • between 0.25-0.4 grams of carbs per pound of their body weight
  • between 0.15-0.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight

Immediately after your workout, your muscles are depleted of the stored form of carbohydrates, called glycogen, which is what fuels your workouts and your energy throughout the day. To refill your glycogen stores after your workout and accelerate muscle growth, you want to rely on fast-digesting carbs and a fast-digesting protein like whey protein isolate, which basically acts as a shuttle to your growing muscles!

Throughout the day, it is best to eat lower glycemic, complex carbohydrates because they take a little longer to digest, making you feel fuller for longer, don't initiate an insulin spike, and don't raise blood sugar as quickly as simple sugars. But post-workout, the exact opposite is true. After a workout, it is critical to get the carbs (and protein) to the muscle cells as fast as possible, so you want simple, fast-digesting carbs paired with an appropriate amount of protein. Since a whole-food meal typically takes more time for prep and digestion, it's not your best choice in terms of an immediate post-workout meal, soooo I'd suggest having your "real dinner" an hour or so after your post-workout food.

Summary of all of this is....

Immediately after your workout, I'd suggest fast digesting (whey) protein paired with simple carbs.

Some recommendations for a post-workout "meal" are below:

Simple Fast-Digesting Carbs: 

  • dextrose (most optimal sugar and fastest digested carb)
  • gatorade, gatorade powder
  • fruits like dates, raisins or cherries
  • candy
  • white bread
  • white rice
  • white potatoes
  • cereal

Protein Sources:

What I personally would suggest and is definitely the easiest and most convenient.. is bringing a shaker bottle to the gym with you. Put a scoop of flavored protein in it (25 grams) and unflavored powdered dextrose (4-6 tbsps), shake and BOOM! Easy peezy!!

Then an hour or so later, eat real dinner! If you don't want to go that route and want "real" food after you workout that's okay too, just not as "optimal" meal. You can feel free to pair the other recommended sources... turkey with a bagel, white rice and chicken, cereal with protein shake poured over it, etc. and that will do just fine. Sometimes I do the shake, sometimes I do the food. It's just totally dependent on what my plan is after the gym!

Remember, macronutrient timing and supplements are important but not the most important thing in the scheme of things. Calories-in vs. calories-out as well as the quality of your food and training always takes precedence in weight loss and body recomposition. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't get your hands on the suggested foods once in a while, don't sweat it. 80/20 all the way!