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What to Eat After a Workout

what to eat after a workout

Now that you know what to eat before a workout, it’s time to figure out what to eat after a workout. After exercise, your body needs to refuel, repair, generate muscle growth and restore energy. When you’re in the gym lifting weights, you aren’t building muscle, you’re actually breaking it down and creating small tissue tears. It’s what you do afterward to recover that helps to build the muscle back up and repair those small muscle tears. The right nutrition will help optimize your recovery.

My tips for optimal recovery:
  • The best thing you can do is to time your workout so that you are ready to consume a meal afterwards. Your meal should be complete with CPF (complex Carbohydrate, lean Protein and healthy Fat).
  • If I had to pick just one macronutrient that is most important after a workout, it would be protein.
  • Think protein = RECOVERY!
  • Depending on your size, the ideal range to consume after breaking down muscle is 15-30 grams (of protein).
  • After a long, hard workout, glycogen stores also need to be replenished in the body. This is where carbohydrate comes in to do the job.
  • If you are unable to consume a meal afterwards or you are simply just not hungry, this is when you can grab something easy like a bar or a shake.
Easy Post-Workout Shake Formula:
  • 1 cup of your choice of milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh fruit
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • Optional add-ins for bonus nutrition: handful of chia seeds, raw oats, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/8 cup Greek yogurt, cinnamon, handful of spinach or kale.

Be careful of ready-to-drink shakes on the market– MOST of them are full of sodium and additives. There is only one on the market that passes all my tests. It’s called Svelte and it is DELICIOUS. The Capuccino flavor is the best– it’s like drinking an iced coffee that’s actually good for you.

As far as protein powders and bars go, most of them also have artificial ingredients that aren’t good for your body and aren’t made from real food. Read the label! If your brain doesn’t recognize an ingredient as food, neither will your body! Read my post on the best and worst protein bars here.

teras.whey.protein.powderSome of my favorite brands of protein powder are:

Tera’s Whey
Jay Robb
Naked Nutrition

Read more about what makes these the best protein powders here.

Do you have any tried and true post-workout go-to’s?

Are you looking for a dietitian or nutritionist in Orlando? Contact me at nutritionawareness@meganwarerd.com or schedule your appointment here. Not in Orlando but still need some nutrition help? We also do online or over the phone consultations.

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  • have you tried manitoba harvest’s protein? i don’t drink protein shakes so i have no idea how it tastes in those, but i just the chocolate to bake some muffins and they turned out pretty well so i was just wondering if you’d tried it!

    • MeganWareRD

      I haven’t! I wasn’t even aware they made protein powder. How does it smell? Weird question but if it smells bad it’s a good indicator that it’s not going to taste good as a shake. All the plant-based powders so far have made me gag!

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Do you want to:

-Feel better, look better, or have more energy?
-Improve your health?
-Lose weight?
-Fuel your body for muscle gain?
-Lower your blood pressure or cholesterol?
-Stop the yo-yo cycle of dieting?

We are a team of registered dietitian nutritionists specializing in weight loss and performance. Instead of providing a generic plan you can follow for a few weeks until you’re tired of drinking the shakes or eating the pre-packaged meals, we will guide you on the path of making small weekly changes to your routine that bring big results, for life!

Our goal is for our clients to never need another diet or nutrition plan again!