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Q&A: How soon and what should I eat post-workout?

By Jill Jacobs

I vividly recall leaving the gym after a strength training sesh, opening my car door, adding water to my shaker bottle that was pre-filled with a scoop of whey protein powder, and shaking it vigorously. I peeled my banana or grabbed my apple and began noshing on it while sipping my protein shake in between bites. I was convinced that my the muscle I was trying to build would shrivel up or I’d miss out on all the gainzzz, bro, if I didn’t eat immediately after my workout. 😉

how soon and what should I eat post workout

There is a lot of science behind meal timing and macronutrients for muscle building and fat burning, no doubt. But did I really need to be that obsessive? Was it so important to eat that quickly post workout or could I wait until I got home?

While I’m not a biochemist, I am a certified nutrition coach and have studied many reputable articles on the topic of post workout nutrition. Here’s my opinion.

Q: How soon and what should I eat post-workout?

1. How soon should I eat post-workout?

A: In the story I told you above, I was of the understanding that I needed to eat right after my workout or I’d lose any gains.  I’ve come to believe that I was taking an extreme viewpoint and that the post-workout nutrition window is much larger than a few minutes! No need to take food to the gym. 🙂

Through my personal studies, certifications, and research, I now recommend eating within 2 hours of working out if your goal is fat loss. If your goal is muscle gain, the window is a bit smaller (30-60 minutes).

2. What should I eat post-workout?

A: Post workout nutrition serves the purpose of increasing protein synthesis, decreasing protein breakdown, and replenishing glycogen stores (for energy). You will need a good dose of protein for the first two processes and some carbohydrates for the latter one.

To keep it simple, I stick with a one-to-one ratio of protein to carbs and keep fat grams less that 5.

Protein intake should be approximately 20-25 grams with about the same numbers carb grams whether your goal is fat loss or muscle gain. (With fat loss, you can certainly drop the carb level if that works best for you. But post-workout is an optimal time to eat carbohydrates.)

Good sources of protein are whey protein powder, egg whites, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, lean beef, turkey, chicken, and fish.

Carb intake for muscle gain needs to be quick, higher GI carbs like rice cakes, honey, higher sugar fruit like bananas and raisins, or potatoes (white or sweet).

Carb intake for fat loss is ideally slow digesting carbs like oats and other grains, starchy vegetables, or beans.

What do I eat post-workout?

Here is my GO-TO chocolate banana protein shake! It’s YUMMY. 🙂

For more Q&A blog post, go HERE. I love answering the frequently asked questions that I receive from my readers and clients. Email me at jill@jilljacobs.me if you have a question you’d like me to cover. 🙂

xo -Jill

 

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  1. […] often asked about what in the world to eat after a strength training session. I covered that HERE but wanted to share with you EXACTLY what I eat post-workout most […]

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