What Should You Eat After a Workout?

By Jeff Quinn


Following a nutrition plan with your fitness routine is an important part of getting the results that you desire. After you have worked out, your muscles need fuel to aid in recovery and restore spent energy reserves. Ideally, you should try to refuel within 15-60 minutes after you exercise - the window of time in which your muscles will readily absorb the carbohydrates and protein the body uses as building blocks. Waiting longer than two hours to eat results in 50 percent less glycogen stored in the muscle, slowing your recovery period afterwards and inhibiting the production of energy during your next session.

Carbohydrate consumption stimulates insulin production, which aids the production of muscle glycogen. Combining protein with carbohydrate nearly doubles the insulin response, and this results in more stored glycogen. Consuming protein also provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue damaged during intense, prolonged exercise. It can also increase the absorption of water from the intestines and improve muscle hydration.

The ideal post-workout meal is comprised of a blend of carbohydrates and protein at a ratio of 4:1 (four grams of carbohydrate for every one gram of protein). Eating more protein than that, however, has a negative impact because it slows rehydration and glycogen replenishment.

A good sample post-workout meal would be chicken with brown rice, yogurt and almonds, or a protein shake with a banana.

If you can't prepare a meal ahead of time to carry with you in your gym bag or car, a glass of chocolate milk makes a good, quick recovery snack.

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Echelon Health and Fitness

1160 White Horse Rd,

Voorhees, NJ 08043

Phone. 856-454-2976