What’s the best thing to eat post-workout? From nutrition pages to wellness sites, this question has been debated over and over. But what truly is the perfect post-workout meal?

what to eat post-workout


What to Eat Before Working Out

Wait a second, isn’t this post about what to eat post-workout? Well yes, but we don’t give enough attention to what we eat before. And ironically, what we put into our bodies before can also contribute to the success of the workout, not to mention how we feel afterwards.

When you fuel your body with the right nutrients before you exercise, you can lower damage and strain to your muscles. It’s best to fuel with complex carbohydrates, such as peas, beans, or whole grains. If you’re on a low-carb or other alternative diet, you can sub some of the grains and breads for starchy vegetables instead. Nutritionists, like Kevin Libby, founder of PH2 Nutrition, argue for simple sugars, like agave, as well. These are little add-ins that you can put into a pre-workout smoothie, for example.

If your workout is shorter, you can sub some of the heavier carbs for something that’s light (or even caffeinated if you need a boost). Matcha is a great alternative. Or, you may have heard of the MCT oil and collagen peptides (if you want to learn more about collagen, read this) that are being added into coffee and other drinks—all the rage, yes, but definitely for a reason. These are bone-building proteins that, mixed with a bit of caffeine, can help really prepare your body for a good workout.


What to Eat Post-Workout

With Keto and other low-carb diets, complex carbohydrates often get a bad rap. However, they’re actually pretty essential to eat post-workout. In fact, carbs are what help your muscles sustain and increase in mass rather than breaking down.

If you’re worried about keeping a low-carb regimen, any carb will work. From starchy veggies (think potatoes or peas) to easy-to-digest alternatives, like quinoa, you can find something that will work. Plus, even if you’re on Keto you still have to have some carbs in your day, so be smart about them!

As you probably already known, protein is a must, too! Your body needs amino acids to help repair the damaged tissues in your muscles. You also need help in building new muscles—which is the entire purpose of proteins in the first place!

You can get proteins through protein powders, of course. If you’re looking for more ‘food’ options, though, opt for proteins that are less work and easier to digest, for example salmon or Greek yogurt.

Don’t skimp on the water, either. Although this isn’t ‘food,’ it’s helpful in getting your body hydrated to repair damage, rebuild muscles, and assist in your digestive processes.


So, now that know what to eat before and after your workout, have you scheduled your next studio session?

Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and fitness enthusiast located in Ocean Beach, San Diego. She is the author of the poetry collection, Somewhere On A Highway and founder of Be A Light LLC, a remote writing coaching/tutoring/editing services company.


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