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Food to Eat After Gym

Choosing your post-workout meal can help your body burn fat, recover from stress, and feel better.

Try to eat your post-workout meal within 45 minutes to maximize the good effects. So why do you need to eat after a workout and what's going on in your body while you are training?

The Science of Working Out

When you eat carbohydrates, your body converts them to glucose and then glycogen. Glycogen is stored in your liver and muscles.

The excess is stored as fat. The body mainly uses liver glycogen to fuel the brain and spinal cord. Muscle glycogen is used to fuel muscles. When you need energy, your body breaks down glycogen.

The amount of glycogen stored depends on your activity, your resting metabolism and what you eat. Most people have around 4 grams of glycogen in their body at all times.

When you exercise and run out of glycogen, your body removes it from storage and feeds your body. Most people store about 2,000 calories of glucose as glycogen. Intense training will exhaust stores and lead to "hitting the wall", a condition known to many athletes.

When you train, you damage your muscles. Your body needs to repair this damage and it takes protein. The micro-tears you create during normal training help strengthen the muscles. To repair them, your body needs proteins. If you really hurt something, you need protein to repair the damage.

Eating a healthy mix of carbohydrates and protein after your workout will decrease muscle breakdown, increase muscle growth, restore glycogen, and make you feel better.


Eat a good quality lean protein to provide your body with amino acids to rebuild and add muscle. Lean proteins include meats such as beef, chicken, pork, salmon, tuna and whole eggs.

Quinoa, chia seeds, seitan and of course beans are excellent sources of quality vegetable protein. Vegetable proteins are just as healthy as meat proteins.

Dairy products like cottage cheese or Greek yogurt are also great sources of protein. Protein drinks can be a quick and tasty way to get protein quickly and replenish some of the water lost through perspiration. Choose your shakes according to your training and fitness goals.

Try to eat 20 to 40 grams of protein after a workout. For a visual of the amount of protein, 20 grams corresponds roughly to a chicken breast the size of a fist. Eat 2 grams of carbohydrates: 1 gram of protein is a preferred ratio.


The number of carbohydrates you eat after your workout depends on what you do. Endurance athletes need more carbohydrates than weightlifters. Carbohydrates are more important for people who train twice a day than others over two days.

Eat carbohydrates and proteins at the same time to maximize glycogen synthesis. Try to find easy-to-digest carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes or boiled white potatoes, quinoa or rice, fruits like pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi and oatmeal or pasta.

You can also drink whole milk for carbohydrates and protein. Note that these are not refined carbohydrates like bread!


Good fats don't hurt and can help you rebuild after training. Whole milk is especially good for you after a workout. Other good sources of fat are nuts and nut butters, mountain mix and avocados.


Drink plenty of still water after your workout. You have to replace any sweat loss and your body needs water to function properly. Adult humans are about 60% water and dehydration has unpleasant and potentially serious side effects. These can include headaches, tremors, and even death in extreme cases.

Unless you exercise a lot like a marathon or two a day, you probably don't need an electrolyte drink. They are mainly sugar and you can replace electrolytes with good food choices.

Pre-work Out Meals

Eating before a workout can be as important as eating after. For best results, choose similar foods and eat two to three hours before. If you can't make the timing, eat a small snack before training and focus on your meal after training.

Losing Weight

If you are training to lose weight, increase your metabolism by adding green tea to your post-workout meal. You can also try adding spices, such as capsaicin or hot peppers, to your meal. These are thought to increase your body temperature and make you burn more fat.


Eating a carefully chosen meal within 45 minutes of your workout can be extremely beneficial. Choose a ratio of 2: 1 grams of carbohydrate to protein to help support your body's efforts to build and repair muscles, restore glycogen levels, and make you feel better.

You should also replace any water lost through perspiration, so drink water before, during and after your workout.

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