Why It Matters What You Eat After A Workout

What you eat after exercise is just as important as what you eat before. Consuming the right foods after you work out will help you build muscle and recover more quickly. "The importance of eating well after you work out ties back to wanting to make sure that you repair and replenish your muscles after the workout," Natalie Allen, RD, an instructor of biomedical sciences at Missouri State University and team dietitian for Missouri State's athletes, told Livestrong.

When you work out, your muscles use their glycogen energy stores for fuel (via Healthline). Once you're done with a workout, especially a high-intense one, those glycogen stores will be depleted and desperate for more fuel. If you don't replenish them with the proper food sources, you may feel tired and fatigued for the next day or two while your body repairs them naturally. During intense exercise, some of your muscle proteins may also get damaged. This often happens during strength workouts at the gym that are focused on building muscle. You can avoid a lot of fatigue and soreness by properly refueling after you exercise.

What to eat after you work out

An ideal post-workout snack will contain protein and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates will help to restore your glycogen levels quickly and protein will help your muscles repair any damage caused during exercise (via Medical News Today). Some good carbohydrate-rich foods to eat after a workout include sweet potatoes, quinoa, oatmeal, and fruit. Protein options include protein powder, yogurt, salmon, or eggs.

It is recommended that you eat something within 30 minutes of working out for the most benefits. "We know the muscles are more likely to absorb, replenish and repair if you eat right after your workout," Natalie Allen, RD, told Livestrong. Protein shakes are commonly consumed after exercise because they contain one of the key macros for recovery and are easy to take with you to the gym. If you enjoy drinking a protein shake after working out, pair it with a piece of fruit for some carbohydrates next time for an ideal post-workout snack.