Post-Workout Nutrition

Eating the right foods at the right time is equal parts science, art and experimentation. But it’s something you can master with just a little guidance. For example, pre-workout nutrition should leave you feeling energized and nourished, without worrying about your digestion. While post-workout nutrition should help you with recovery, gaining strength, and better performance. We’ve already covered what to eat before your workout (Pre-Workout Nutrition) and when (Workout Nutrition: Timing Meals) but in an effort to lose weight or see gains in overall fitness levels, many people also fail to eat enough (or at the best times) following their workouts. Let’s take a closer look. If you have eaten a meal reasonably close to your workout, then post-workout nutrition becomes less important, as your body is able to access the food that is already in your system to repair and recover from your workout. But if it has been several hours since you finished your last meal at the time you complete your workout, taking advantage of the post workout window of opportunity (the sweet spot is approximately one hour post-workout) to time a balanced meal will increase your ability to protect and build muscle and replenish muscular carbohydrate stores. By putting off your next meal, or thinking you do not need to refuel your body post-workout, you become more likely to overeat and less able to take advantage of the positive effects of that meal on your performance and body composition. Nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining energy during and after your workouts. To get yourself on the right path, a good first step is to keep track of what you eat for a week to gain a sense of the overall quantity and quality of foods you’re eating. Then, put into practice what we’ve covered in this nutritional series and feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions. Interested in more information? Browse the nutrition category in the Horizon Community. About the writer: Joli Guenther is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. Learn more on the Meet Our Writers page.