Should You Eat After You Exercise?

Eating the right foods after a workout can give you more energy and help rebuild muscle.

Many people worry that if they eat after they exercise it will counteract the benefits of working out.  This is not true.  In fact, eating after exercise is necessary to build muscle and strength.  It's important to choose post-workout food carefully. 

Immediate Post Workout Snack

Immediately after you exercise, eat a light carbohydrate snack.  This can be a piece of fruit, some raw vegetables or whole grain crackers.  The carbohydrates that you eat right after a workout will help you restore muscle glycogen.  This creates an insulin spike and will help nutrients move to your muscle tissue faster, which will help them repair and rebuild.  Muscles need these raw materials to recover after a workout.

Protein Within Two Hours

Within two hours after a workout, you should eat some protein.  Nuts, like unsalted almonds or cashews, are ideal when you are on the run.  You could also have a hard-boiled egg or a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread.

Many believe that protein shakes and protein bars are most beneficial in that first 30 minutes after a workout because the protein and the carbs in them are already broken down and can be more easily digested.  It is during that time that muscles are repairing and rebuilding, so about 30 minutes after the workout, the protein and carbs need to hit your system.  Less complex carbs and proteins should follow a workout.  The more complex carbs and proteins should be consumed in the meal that follows – about two hours after your workout.  

Refueling is Necessary

The main thing to remember is that your body does need to re-fuel after a workout.  The fuel that you give your body after a workout needs to be high in protein and should have some quality carbs.  If you make sure your body gets the fuel it needs after working out, you will find that your metabolism will increase and your muscles will build faster.

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  • Exercise.com (exercise)


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