The meals you eat before and after you exercise have direct influence on both the effectiveness of your workout and the results you get from it. What you eat after your workout (known as a post-workout meal) is crucial for optimizing the recovery process and ensuring that your body has what it needs to adapt and improve the way you want it to.

Since the meal you eat after a workout helps assist your body in the building up and strengthening of muscles, it is not surprising that the phase of getting post-workout nutrition is commonly referred to as the “anabolic phase”, since anabolism refers to the building or rebuilding of something. The meal you eat after your workout plays the largest part in supplying your body with what it needs to repair, replenish, and adapt to the training stimulus you underwent during your workout.

    The specific goals of post-workout meals are to accomplish the following:

  • Replenish glycogen in muscles
  • Reduce muscle protein breakdown and increase muscle protein synthesis
  • Reduce muscle fatigue
  • Enhance overall recovery.
  • Reduce levels of cortisol

In order to reach all of these goals, your body needs to be replenished with two things: carbohydrates and protein. The post-workout meal can be any size - if you only feel like a snack that is fine, and if you want to eat dinner after a workout that is alright too! The important things are that you eat relatively close to the time that you ended your workout (within an hour or so), that you don’t exceed your recommended daily calorie intake allowance, and that your meal consists mainly of carbs and protein. If you follow these recommendations you will surely reap the benefits of an effective post-workout meal!