Have you ever wondered what to snack on after a workout to replenish nutrients and optimize recovery? What if we told you that you may not need a snack at all?
In a recent tip, Coach Jennifer explained why you may or may not need to eat immediately after a workout. in case you missed it, we’ll sum it up: if you ate a meal 1 to 2 hours before a workout and didn’t workout at an intense level, you likely don’t need a post-workout snack. But if your last meal was several hours before a workout or if you just crushed a very intense sweat session, it’s a good idea to refuel properly with a post-workout snack or meal.
What to eat after an intense workout
Power up with protein. Consuming protein after a workout gives the body the amino acids it needs to repair and build new muscle tissue. The recommended post-workout serving of protein is 0.14 to 0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3 to 0.5 grams per kilogram of body weight). We’ll wait while you do the math.
Complete it with carbs. Glycogen stores (the carbs you ate yesterday) are used as fuel during intense exercise, so consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish what’s gone. It’s important to note that endurance sports (distance running, swimming, biking, etc.) require more glycogen than resistance training, meaning more carbs in a post-workout snack. Aim to consume 0.5-0.7 grams of carbs per pound (1.1-1.5 grams per kilogram) of body weight within 30 minutes after your training session to help the body refill its glycogen tank, so to speak. What kind of carbs, you ask? Reach for quickly digested carbs like glucose (e.g. whole grain breads, fruits, pasta, yogurt).
The ideal carb to protein ratio is 3:1 after a workout. For example, 45 grams of carbs with 15 grams of protein. Try the Almond Horchata and Banana Milk recipes in the 8fit app!
Phase out fat. Fat takes a long time to digest, so it’s not a good source of immediate energy after a workout– try to avoid including it in your post-workout snack.But if you didn’t do an intense strength or endurance workout, fat can and should be a part of your meal or snack somewhere around 2 hours after the workout.
Hydrate! Water is lost through sweating during exercise. It’s important to drink enough water before and after a workout – even mild dehydration can have negative impacts on health and physical performance.
When to eat after an intense workout
The body’s ability to rebuild glycogen and protein is enhanced after you exercise, so it’s best to have your post-workout snack quickly after exercise — ideally within 30 minutes. If a post-workout meal is consumed within the 30 window, you’ll feel (and see!) the benefits.
Head into the 8fit app and try some of our favorite post-workout snacks, like Almond Horchata, Popeye’s Protein Smoothie or Banana Milk and Yogurt. In your meal plan, select the snack or meal you would like to change, then search for the recipe and swap it.