BY: Lively Staff

March 3, 2017

The Best Foods to Eat After a Workout

What You Eat After A Workout Is Vital In Reaching Your Goals


Completing a strenuous workout gives you that on-top-of-the-world feeling, but did you know that what you eat after a workout is just as important as the workout itself?  Fueling your body with the best healthy foods is essential to achieving your longterm  fitness goals.


The Best Foods to Eat After a Workout

When you’re working out, your muscles are fueled using glycogen stored.  This results in your muscles being partially depleted of glycogen. As you’re using your muscles, some of the proteins are being broken down and damaged (1).  By working each macronutrient–carbs, protein, and fat–into your post-workout meal, you’re giving your body the necessary tools to re-fuel and recover.

Protein power

Ensuring consumption of an appropriate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the proper amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives your muscles the building blocks required to build new muscle tissue (2).  It’s recommended that you consume 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) soon after a workout (1).  

High-protein foods to eat after a workout for ample recovery include:

  • plain Greek yogurt + cinnamon (watch the sugar!)
  • hard boiled eggs
  • smoked salmon
  • pre-cooked chicken
  • cottage cheese  
  • protein smoothies, such as our Peanut Butter Cup Protein Smoothie

Carb up

Your body’s glycogen stores are used during exercise, and eating carbs after your workout helps replenish those glycogen stores (3).  Consuming 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per pound (1.1–1.5 grams/kg) of body weight within 30 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesis (1).  Working carbohydrates along with protein into your post-workout meals can maximize glycogen synthesis (4).

Foods that can help give you a boost of energy without the sugar rush include:

Fat is good for you

It’s thought that eating fat post-workout hinders the absorption of nutrients and slow down digestion.  While this may be true in some cases, it’s not true for all fats! And it certainly doesn’t mean you won’t see any benefits in muscle growth or glycogen replenishment. The reason for this is because what you eat post workout isn’t immediately dispersed into your muscles (6). 

A few healthy fats that can help you after a workout include:




(1) Kerksick, C., Harvey, T., Stout, J., Campbell, B., Wilborn, C., Kreider, R., . . . Antonio, J. (2008). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 5(1), 17. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-17

(2) B, E., Tipton, K. D., Wolf, S. E., & Wolfe, R. R. (2002). Essential Amino Acids And Muscle Protein Recovery From Resistance Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 34(5). doi:10.1097/00005768-200205001-01686

(3) Coyle EF, Coggan AR, Hemmert MK, Ivy JL. Muscle glycogen utilization during prolonged strenuous exercise when fed carbohydrate. J Appl Physiol. 1986;61(1): 165-172.

(4) Fujita, S., Dreyer, H. C., Cadenas, J. G., Lee, J., Glynn, E. L., Volpi, E., . . . Protas, E. J. (2006). Essential Amino Acid-Carbohydrate Ingestion Prior to Resistance Exercise, Muscle AMPK Activity and Protein Synthesis. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 38(Supplement). doi:10.1249/00005768-200605001-01396

(5) Tipton, KD, et al. “Timing of Amino Acid-carbohydrate Ingestion Alters Anabolic Response of Muscle to Resistance Exercise.” Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Aug;281(2):E197-206., n.d. Web.

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