Post-workout nutrition 101: Foods to eat after exercising
04/17/2019 // Mary Miller // Views

One great way to maintain peak physical condition is to engage in a lot of regular exercise, but during intense physical activity, your muscles use up their glycogen energy stores. What you eat after your workout can have a great impact on how quickly your body can replenish its depleted energy levels. It can also significantly affect how efficiently you can lose weight, build muscle mass, and physically recover in preparation for your next workout. The key to optimal muscle recovery is eating a healthy combination of protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Here are some of the best foods to eat after intense physical activity.


No matter how careful you are, after a strenuous workout, your muscles will likely experience some damage. In order to repair these damaged muscles and build your strength, you need to consume plenty of protein. This essential nutrient plays an important role in the building, maintaining, and repairing of nearly all the tissues in your body. You can increase your protein intake by consuming unprocessed meat, such as turkey, chicken, salmon, or tuna. If you're looking for some plant-based sources of protein, you can also try some lentils, chickpeas, black beans, hemp seeds, quinoa, tofu, or broccoli. Some excellent dairy sources of protein include organic milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and kefir. You can also get your protein directly by drinking protein shakes.


Carbohydrates are among the main macronutrients your body needs to obtain energy and promote your overall health. They are the sugars, starches, and fibers that can be found in grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Carbohydrates also provide fuel for your body. There are two different kinds of carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates contain just one or two sugars, and are more easily digested and absorbed by your body. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates often contain three or more sugars, and take a much longer time to digest. Complex carbohydrates are generally healthier options than simple carbohydrates, so you should definitely choose those for your post-workout nutrition. Some ideal sources of complex carbohydrates include whole grain breads and cereals, quinoa, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, rice cakes, crackers, and chia seed pudding. You can also boost your carbohydrate intake by eating lots of carbohydrate-rich fruits, such as apples, bananas, and berries.


Healthy fats

Omega-3 fatty acids are some of the healthy fats that can boost the synthesis of your muscle proteins. One of the best ways to get these healthy fats is to eat plenty of fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna. Research suggests that consuming the oil drawn from these fatty fish may even reduce the feeling of sore and tired muscles after strenuous exercise. Other great sources of healthy fats include avocados, coconut oil, and peanut butter. Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are also loaded with healthy fats. (Related: Are You Eating For Results? Learn the Perfect Post-Workout Nutrition Rules.)


Replenishing your body fluids is crucial to avoiding dehydration, so don't forget to drink plenty of liquids before, during, and after your intense workout. Water should always be your go-to beverage for rehydration, but if you lose a considerable amount of sodium and potassium through your sweat, you may need to replenish these nutrients with electrolyte drinks. Additionally, you can drink a soothing cup of herbal tea to aid in the digestion of your post-workout meals. Yerba mate is a choice drink for helping your body process carbohydrates and protein more efficiently.

Learn the best superfoods to nourish your body before, during, and after exercise by visiting

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