LAST UPDATED: March 23rd, 2021
Believe it or not, what you eat after your workout can significantly affect the result of your exercising.
The right ingredients help your muscles recover faster, reduce inflammation, improve your immune system and provide you with glycogen.
A good diet after working out can help you achieve your goal faster and more easily.
Why is the right choice of foods very important after a workout?
The meal after your workout is very important since you need to recover and regenerate your entire body. (1)
When you work out you need energy and that’s why you need to intake good quality ingredients.
Your muscles use nutrients as fuel during working out.
There isn’t plenty of glycogen (the basic energy for cells) in the muscles, so they get exhausted, eventually.
The muscle proteins also breakdown and get damaged.
After a workout, your body is trying to renew its glycogen stores and regenerate your muscles.
A good diet regenerates your body and it gives you energy after working out.
It’s important to eat carbs and proteins after a workout.
Every macronutrient, protein, carb, or fat, has its role in the recovery process after training.
You can read more about fitness nutrition here.
What is the best time to eat after a workout?
Your body’s ability to replenish glycogen stores and recover your muscles increases after exercising and it lasts about 45 minutes after a workout.
It’s recommended to intake a combination of carbs and proteins as soon as you finish your workout.
If you postpone the carbs meal for 2 hours after your workout, that can lead to a 50% lower glycogen synthesis rate.
On the other hand, you feel extremely hungry within 45 minutes after your workout, so you can easily overeat.
If your goal isn’t to lose weight, eat your meal within 45 minutes after a workout.
It’s a good idea to eat and drink no later than one hour after exercise to use all the nutrients from food.
That will help you recover faster for your next workout.
So, here is the list of the best post-workout foods you should eat to recover.
Best Post-Workout Foods
What to eat after a workout to build muscle?
One of the best post-workout foods for muscle mass.
Turkey is a great source of protein that your body needs to recover after a workout.
The amount of proteins depends on your needs.
But if you do cardio like running then you need about 1,2-1,4 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
On the other hand, if you do a strength workout you need to intake 1,6 -1,7 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
It is one of the best HGH releasing foods.
Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain which helps digest proteins.
It’s high in vitamin C.
Pineapple is good for some inflammatory processes like muscle inflammation.
That’s why pineapple is very popular in the fitness world.
You can use it for savory recipes too- you can grill it with chicken, or you can add it to shakes.
3. Cherry juice
Cherry juice is high in antioxidants and different anti-inflammatory compounds.
It helps athletes recover from strenuous workouts.
Also, this juice is good for your blood pressure.
Eating eggs (whites and yolks) can help you get ‘the perfect’ body.
Because they boost protein synthesis, which is the driving force of your muscles.
The yolk is high in healthy fat, vitamins, and minerals like iron and phosphorus.
Only 9 grams of dairy per day is enough to start the process of building muscles.
My advice is to intake 1/2 cup ricotta, which has about 14 grams of dairy proteins.
It’s also a good choice of wheat proteins and it’s high in essential amino acids, really effective for building muscles.
6. Smoked salmon
One of the best foods for sore muscles. (2)
You can increase the intake of omega 3 fatty acids by eating certain types of fish like salmon and sardines.
They can help you relieve pain in the muscles after exercise.
Omega 3 fatty acids travel to your muscle cells and reduce the damage that causes painful inflammation.
Besides, omega 3 fatty acids increase protein synthesis in the body.
7. Fresh cheese
Fresh cheese and Greek yogurt have become very popular recently.
They are great ingredients, however, fresh cheese has more proteins than Greek yogurt.
So, it can help you build muscles and maintain them after exercise.
8. Sweet potato
Keto diet fans won’t be thrilled by this, but it’s a fact that carbs are good when it comes to muscle recovery after exercise.
Food like potatoes, cereals, and fruit can help you keep your immune system healthy which can weaken after a strenuous workout.
9. Wholewheat bread
Although bread has a bad reputation nowadays, carbs can be good for muscle recovery.
Good quality carbs like wholewheat bread can help your muscles recover.
This powerful cereal is a great ingredient for your diet.
Especially if you are gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian and you want to increase the intake of fiber and protein.
Definitely one of the best post-workout foods.
This veggie has a red pigment called betacyanin and is a great antioxidant.
It helps oxygen travel to the muscles and eases muscle cramps.
You can cook, bake, or grind some beetroot and add it to your salad.
If you want to build muscle faster, read about the best natural bodybuilding supplements that work like real steroids:
My name is Cliff and I am a personal coach, sports lover, fitness enthusiast and author of MusclesMagician. I have 15+ years of experience in fitness and bodybuilding and I want to share it with you. I am here to help you build muscles and lose fat faster.