Post-Workout Meal ‐ Recover Healthily | Loaded Health
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Post-Workout Meal ‐ Recover Healthily

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Have you just started your fitness journey? Or you are already a fitness freak. Either way taking the right post-workout meal will be really important for your body’s recovery from the stress of exercise it has gone through. 

Losing weight or building muscle takes a lot of input and consistency to accomplish. Achieving this, the workout plays an important part but nutrition plays an equally important role in your losing or gaining goals. In short, both of these go hand in hand if you really want to change your body’s framework not only from the outside but also from the inside. 

I am trying to cover all the nutrition aspects first. You can find out the pre-workout meal and intra workout nutrition. Follow the links to know about them. Today’s article is all about post-workout meals. 

Post-Workout Meaning

The term post-workout simply means after the workout or exercise. Likewise, a post-workout meal refers to a meal, drink, or supplement is taken right after completing your workout session or simply the after-workout food. Best post-workout snacks must comprise balanced nutrition as I will be discussing below. Besides, a good workout meal must be enough to replenish specific nutrients that will help you get better gains.


In this article, I will try and explore various segments of how you can recover healthily by taking a good post-workout meal and will also discuss what are the benefits of taking the right post-workout meal. Furthermore, what is the best post-workout snack options according to your goal?

Moreover, this will only be covering the post-workout meal concerning wholesome foods, as supplements will be discussed later. 

Why Eating After a Workout Is Essential

Exercise uses a lot of energy. Initially, the energy is consumed from the pre-workout meal than from your body stores which are in the form of glycogen. So, eating after the gym is needed to replenish all these within the prime time so that your body can works properly.

Eating after the gym is essential but why? For a better understanding, you need to know the effect exercise will create on your body. After knowing those facts you might not need to find another answer to this question anymore.


During the exercise or any form of physical activity, your muscles are using initially the meal you have consumed before your workout. Once it is all finished, the energy source will be taken from the stored fuel or stores of glycogen. They will be used in the form of energy during exercise.

When you are done with your exercise you need to build these stores and renew your body’s supply once again. Eating right post-workout is imperative so this can be done without any hesitation and hustle. This will particularly help your body and muscles in the following.

  • Quick recovery from exercise stress.
  • Nutrients boost to restore your energy stores.
  • There will be lesser chances of your muscle breakdown.
  • You will grow your muscle rather than fat.

Post-Workout Meal Timing

Now you might wonder what is the best time to eat after a workout. The ability of your body to enhance your glycogen stores and muscle rebuild is maximum after you exercise. Several theories are justifying the post-workout eating window and many different.


The other names for an anabolic window are the metabolic window, post-workout eating window, and protein window. It is the time period in which experts suggest that the maximum gains from exercise and nutrition can be taken out. It involves the time of 30 minutes to 45 minutes after a workout. 

Most of the time, lean proteins are suggested to be eaten in this window to prevent muscle breakdown and increase muscle recovery.

Several studies favor the above statement. For example, a study suggests that eating protein after a workout helps in recovery. Differing this some too suggests that anabolic window can last up to one day or 24 hours.


In my suggestion eating within one hour after your workout session will be the optimum time to decrease your muscle breakdown and help your body recover faster.

The Best Thing To Eat After a Workout

Are you taking proper nutrients as your post-workout snack? This is a crucial question one should find an answer to. Let’s discuss what nutrients are necessary for your after-workout meal and why. This list will be discussed in detail

  • FATS


Carbohydrates are for sure the main source of energy you will be needing after the exercise. They are the main fuel that will be used to recharge your depleted glycogen stores. The amount of carbohydrates needed in your post-workout meal depends on the duration, and intensity of your workout and also the fitness goal you have.

The recommended amount for most is 1 to 1.5gm of carbohydrates per kg of your body weight despite your fitness goals. The study suggests that taking carbohydrates along after 1 to 3 hours of your workout will have the best muscle protein synthesis. Consequently, consuming both after exercise can maximize the replenishment and synthesis of your energy stores.


Whenever someone exercises there is a breakdown in the muscle protein. How much your muscle is breaking down depends on the intensity and length of your exercise sessions. But regardless of the intensity and duration, consuming protein in your post-workout meal is of utmost necessity. 

The recommended consumption of proteins after workouts is 0.5gm per kg of your body.


Well in the pre-workout and Intra workout nutrition advice I have myself denied the use of fats as they are slow digesting and didn’t give the maximum benefits to your body during those intervals. But as far as the post-workout meal is concerned this will not be the case. A study in this favor suggests that consuming whole milk after a workout will be more valuable than fat-free milk.

You can consume fats in your post-workout meal but it will not be the best choice to do so. One study suggests this statement of mine that shows consuming fats immediately after a workout will not have any benefit in replenishing your glycogen stores which is the main motive to achieve in this meal.


I can’t emphasize enough this one. Micronutrients are the most neglected nutrients of the meal. We take it in lesser amounts through our food but the recommended daily allowance is hardly reached. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. 

Your micronutrients help aid the effects that turn amino acids into muscles. Whether you exercise or not even if it is about the post-workout meal the micronutrients should be included in your daily diet and routine.


Not the necessary fluids but the only fluid which is needed in all durations of meals during, before, and after the workouts is WATER. When you are accurately hydrated, this will help your body in maximizing the results.

Water along with the electrolytes are lost during the workouts. The study suggests that regaining these losses will help you recover faster and better.

The List Of Foods To Eat After a Workout


The best post-workout meal must contain a good, fast-absorbing, or lean protein source, some of the names are listed below

  • Chicken breast
  • Whitefish
  • Egg whites
  • Greek yogurt
  • Shrimps
  • Tofu
  • Pulses and beans
  • Cheese


The after-workout meal must contain the most amount of carbohydrates and must be fast to moderate digesting. You can have complex carbs as well if you want to. But for instant energy moderately digesting carbs are the best. These includes

  • Oatmeal
  • White rice
  • Rice cakes
  • Sweet potato
  • Bread
  • Quinoa
  • Fruits
  • Pulses and beans
  • Milk


In the list of foods to eat after a workout, fats can be included but these should be healthy fats consumed in minor quantities you can select from the options below and 

  • Olive oil
  • Peanut butter
  • Full fat milk
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Coconut oil
  • Fatty fish
  • Cheese


The after-exercise meal or post-workout snack must contain carbohydrates and proteins both in a combination. The suggested ratio for them eating after a workout is 3 is to 1. Every meal, not the only thing to eat after a workout should be having a proper recommended balance of every nutrient. 

For example, the lean Protein source of 30gm with the fast-digesting carbohydrate of 90gm to 100gm or so will be a good post-workout snack.

Post-Workout Meal Ideas and Combinations

Let me tell you some of the combinations to make it easier for you.

  • Lean chicken breast with rice and tablespoon of olive oil
  • A slice of bread with Peanut butter and egg whites
  • Full-fat milk with egg whites
  • Oatmeal with nuts and berries.
  • Egg white and cheese sandwich 
  • Rice cakes with Peanut butter
  • Pulses or beans with rice or bread.

Post-Workout Meal For Weight Loss

There is nothing like the post-workout meal for weight loss. But some modifications to aid you towards the weight loss. If you want to lose weight. Consume lesser calories than you are burning in a day. Concerning your post-workout meal, I would suggest you consume only lean protein and have your carbohydrates in the later meal and not as your post-workout nutrition. Also, don’t consume fats.

Post-Workout Meal For Muscle Gain

If you want to gain weight or gain muscle there are some modifications to aid you towards the muscle gain. Consume more calories than you are burning in a day. Concerning your post-workout meal, I would suggest you consume a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. You should consume more proteins, carbs, and fats in your post-workout meal.

Post Workout Meal Video


Wrapping it up with the thought that eating after exercise has a larger impact on your losses and gains. You have to consume a post-workout meal as per your goals. Try to eat good things after a workout that not only leads you towards your fitness goals but also leads you towards a healthy lifestyle in the long run. Keep in mind the 3 is to 1 ratio of carbohydrates and proteins which will make the best after-workout meal ratio. 


What Should I Eat After Exercising?

Eating the right post-workout meal after exercising is very important. If you want to lose weight go for lean proteins right after your workout. If you want to gain muscle consider eating the balance of all the macronutrients. But consuming the lesser and surplus of calories is the key to lose or gain weight.

What You Should Not Eat After A Workout?

Don’t eat deep-fried, heavy, and difficult-to-digest foods right after your workout. Don’t consume more fats, even avoid consuming fats right after your workout.

What Should You Do After A Workout?

You should eat the right post-workout meal as explained in the article.

What happens if you don’t eat after your workout?

If you don’t eat after the workout your body will not replenish the energy stores that were consumed during the exercise. There will be fewer gains instead your muscle loss will be increased and you will feel lethargic and tired.

Can I eat a banana after a workout? 

Yes, bananas are awesome for eating after a workout. Even not only in your post-workout but as well as your intra workout or pre-workout meal too. Try to take a protein source like egg whites with the banana in your post-workout meal.

Which fruit is best for Post-workout?

You can have any fruit of your choice after the workout. But just for the name Without a doubt, it’s bananas. They are awesome for eating after a workout. Even not only in your post-workout but as well as your intra workout or pre-workout meal too. Try to take a protein source like egg whites with the banana in your post-workout meal.

Also, Read: Best nap timings and What is resistance training

Follow Loaded Health for more stuff you want to know about fitness and health.
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Dr. Riffat Humayun

I am a doctor by profession. Working as healthcare worker since 2015. With that also working as an experienced freelance writer, blogger, SEO expert, and content creator + strategist for a few years now. Position at - Author, content strategist, senior editor, SEO expert

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