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Post Workout Food For Fuel

Post Workout Food For Fuel

Post workout nutrition seems simple and for the most part, it is. After exercise, your body, or more specifically, the muscles you’ve worked have just been depleted. The foods you consume throughout the day but especially after exercise can significantly affect your body composition, recovery, and future performance. The window of opportunity when your body is in an anabolic state begins immediately after you complete your workout and last for the next two hours. During this anabolic window, as it’s sometimes referred, your body is much more receptive of the beneficial nutrients. While there is much debate about whether this window is the true or a myth, eating the wrong foods at this time can have a negative effect on your body, in many different ways.

On the other hand, there are many foods you can eat that will help build muscle. An effective post-workout meal should accomplish three things, it should replenish glycogen(energy), decrease protein breakdown, and, increase protein synthesis. In other words, restore energy, increase muscle size and muscle quality, decreasing muscle damage caused by the workout. Myth or not, research indicates nutrient timing can be the difference between how long it takes you to achieve your fitness goals, or even if you will reach them at all. Key is to not only focus on getting and avoiding certain macronutrients, but also micronutrients.

Here is a breakdown of the Post Workout Food for fuel.


At less than a $1 per can, it’s the cheapest source of quality protein available. It can be eaten with crackers, bread, or you can also bake tuna casserole and consume for the next few days. Depending on your location, other fish can be eating. However, due to the mercury content of fish, be sure not to eat too many servings per month. Here are more details on the suggested allowances for each fish.


A dozen costs only $1 in many places and the highest quality eggs aren’t much more expensive. While it’s not necessary to eat raw eggs and in most cases, it can be dangerous, a cooked egg still has very high-quality protein. The best thing about eggs is how well they go with other foods and recipes. Similar to tuna, there are dozens of ways to cook them. But unlike tuna, you can eat eggs every day.

Legumes and Nightshade Vegetables

Avoid eating beans and nightshades such as eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers, because they contain lectin. Many scientists believe lectin can cause inflammation and lead to health problems, especially with long-term consumption. Some suggest a lectin free diet also has even more benefits than occasional eating foods with lectin. Just avoid adding them to your post-workout meal.

Greek Yogurt

For starters, it has double the amount of protein as regular yogurt. You’ll want to avoid high amounts of fat and sugar post-workout. In addition to eating Greek Yogurt, it can be an effective ingredient to many tasty protein shakes. Cottage cheese has many of the same benefits of Greek Yogurt, but as with anything, check the nutritional facts for the fat and sugar content.

Chicken Breast

Chicken and turkey are lean proteins that are easy to digest. Fish is lean but can be toxic. Eating a steak, burger, or anything greasy after exercising will slow down your digestion and your body won’t even get the full benefits of the meal. It can be cooked in many ways and can be prepared ahead of time and reheated without losing its delicious flavor. Chicken breast is the leanest part and fried chicken is a horrible post workout meal.

Protein Powder

One of the many benefits of drinking protein shakes is fast digestion. Whey protein concentrate and isolate are the most popular, but there are many kinds, including blends. It can be drunk with milk, water, or blended with various healthy fruits and ingredients to further optimize it’s micronutrient benefits.

Foods To Avoid

Prune Juice

Definitely avoid eating or drinking foods that have that same effects as laxatives. Exercise already mildly has this effect on people and adding something that will speed up the process.

Sugary Foods and Drinks

Sugary drinks may seem like a quick way to restore your energy after a workout, but they’re the last thing you need. While it’s obvious you shouldn’t drink an energy drink, sports drinks can be equally bad for you when consumed in a large dose. Coconut water is a much better alternative if you feel drained, but for the most part, being drained is normal and you should focus on protein synthesis.

Fatty Foods

As mentioned above, consuming fat post-workout slows down digestion. This also means healthy fats. Save your coconut, olive and avocado oil for your other meals, but you don’t need fat post workout.

Raw Vegetables

Veggies are healthy and should be eaten with every meal if possible. However, eating them raw can make you feel full or satisfied while your body still craves more of the nutrients it needs. Certain vegetables must be cooked to get the maximum benefits while others aren’t unhealthy to eat raw.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods and substances are tough to digest and should not be taken when your body is badly in need of foods which are easy to digest. It doesn’t matter if you can handle the taste of extremely spicy foods, that has nothing to do with digestion.

High Fiber Foods

Similar to raw veggies, fiber is another food you need, but not right now. Fiber can also make you feel bloated and worst-case scenario lead to cramps.


You should avoid them because of the sugar content, but soda will lead to dehydration, which is the last thing you need after exercise. In the most severe cases, dehydration can lead to hospitalization.


While the existence of an anabolic or metabolic window is debatable, and not eating the right foods throughout the day will offset eating the right post-workout meal. You can get better results by ensuring the first thing you eat after exercising is the right thing.