The Surprising Drink You Should Avoid After Working Out

We all want to make the most of our workouts. What we eat before we exercise can make a big difference in how we perform and what we eat after can make a big difference in how we recover. Many people's go-to post-workout snack is the epitome of health: a tall refreshing smoothie. While this isn't the worst thing you could enjoy after the gym, it's definitely not the best choice.

Although smoothies tend to be made with wholesome ingredients like fruits and vegetables, they usually don't provide the nutrients you should be aiming for after a workout. "Smoothies are high in vitamins and minerals, but that's about all they have to offer. They're low in fiber and have no protein and no complex carbs," fitness instructor nutritionist Carly James, PhD, told Best Life. Carbohydrates can boost energy levels, but without fiber or protein, they can lead to a sugar crash later on. If you're still craving a smoothie after exercise, opt for one with protein and healthy fats.

Post-workout nutrition is crucial for recovery

What you eat and drink after exercise makes a big difference in how you recover from your workouts. Instead of a sugary smoothie, drink a big glass of water after hitting the gym. Your body loses a lot of water and electrolytes during exercise, so it is important to replenish them as soon as you can (via Healthline).

Experts recommend grabbing a snack that contains protein and carbs after a workout. "Whey protein powder is the best form of protein you can have post-workout," certified personal trainer and weight-lifting coach Kyra Williams told Byrdie. "This gets into your bloodstream quickly and into your muscle tissue quickly to help the recovery process."

Pair your protein shake with a banana for carbohydrates and a hefty dose of potassium. Your body craves both of these nutrients after physical activity. Starchy carbohydrates like rice, corn, and potatoes are also good options to pair with your protein source.