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Post-Workout Nutrition: What, When and Why

By M. Borriero

Eating after a workout session is important. When you are working out, your muscles use glycogen stores to fuel, breaking down and damaging muscle proteins. Consuming an adequate amount of fats, carbs and proteins after exercising gives your body the right nutrients for the recovery, maximising the benefits of the workout itself.


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Generally, post-workout nutrition has three specific purposes:

  • Build muscle tissue
  • Repair muscle damage caused by the workout
  • Replenish energy stores

The better you recover from a workout, the better the next workout will be!

When and why do I need carbs, fats and proteins?

It is recommended to consume a combination of proteins, carbs and fats as soon as possible, around 30-45 minutes after completing an intensive workout, and possibly within 1 hour. As all types of physical activities use carbohydrates for energy, muscle carbohydrate reduction is simply inevitable. Consequently, consuming a meal high in carbs is essential to refill muscle energy stores.

Proteins are there to help your muscles help and repair (that’s why your muscles can feel sore after exercising!). Proteins rich foods and supplements provide the proteins the body needs to heal and build new muscle fibres.


What’s good to eat

Carbohydrates post workout

Proteins post workout

Healthy Fats post workout

·  Quinoa

·  Eggs

·  Avocado

·  Sweet potatoes

·  Salmon or tuna

·  Flax Seeds

·  Rice

·  Chicken

·  Nuts

·  Whole grain bread

·  Turkey


·  Oatmeal

·  Tofu


·  Fruits

·  Greek yogurt


·  Whole grain cereals

·  Ricotta Cheese


Post Workout

Don’t forget to drink Water 

Drinking plenty of water is essential before, during, and after a workout. Keeping yourself well hydrated allows the body to recover properly and ensures we get the most benefit from exercise, promoting therefore a better performance.

Depending on the type of exercise and the intensity, we lose water and electrolytes while we sweat, and for this reason you might need a drink to replenish sodium and potassium as well.

Post Workout

Protein Powders 

If you want to speed up recovery from muscles soreness you might consider a protein shake. Because solid food takes more time to break down and being digested, a protein shake takes only half an hour to deliver nutrients to the muscles. Remember that shakes are not designed to replace meals, and they should be taken between meals or before and after workouts.

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