Exercise and Fitness Guide

What You Should Eat After Different Types of Workouts

ABush Aug 30th, 2012 (updated Nov 6th, 2014)
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Want to build more muscle without putting on additional weight? Well, the food you eat after a workout may be just as important as your actual workout. What you eat, how quickly you eat it, and how much you eat are all important factors to consider when refueling after putting your body through rigorous exercise.

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After a run
After a run

What you should eat after a workout largely depends on what type of workout you’ve done.  If you put in a short, three-mile run, there isn't really a need  to refuel since you haven't burned a ton of calories. However, if you're starved after this type of workout, eat something high in fiber. After a longer run (more than an hour), you have a 30-minute window during which to get carbs back into your depleted muscles.

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Cycling, swimming, and long-distance running
Cycling, swimming, and long-distance running

Believe it or not, chocolate milk has the ideal combination of carbs and protein to refuel those who engage in high endurance exercise.

A 2008 study showed endurance athletes who consumed chocolate milk performed just as well or better as those who drank the other beverages (like Gatorade or POWERade). 

Source: Fitness Magazine

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Cardio workout
Cardio workout

After a cardiovascular workout you should wait 30 to 45 minutes before eating, then consume a high-quality source of protein, such as chicken or salmon and a vegetable carb, such as spinach.  Unlike with a high-endurance workout or weightlifting session, here you’ll want to wait a bit before eating so you can take advantage of the fat-burning wave of a cardio workout as much as possible. 

Source: Dr. Mercola.com

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Resistance workout
Resistance workout

After a weightlifting workout is the only time you’ll want to get food back into your system as soon as you can.  You have roughly a one-hour window in which to refuel your body with nutrients, amino acids and glycogens to help repair your muscles. 

Opt for a smoothie with whey protein—which is already pre-digested—almond milk or water, plus a banana to serve as your carbohydrate. 

Source: Mercola.com

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Yoga
Yoga

Refueling your body after a yoga session is similar to what you should eat after a cardio workout.  Eat a fibrous carbohydrate, such as a sweet potato, fruit salad or yogurt.

Keep in mind that if you skip a post-workout meal, you may actually slow your metabolism down because your body will begin to break down muscle tissue into amino acids. 

Source: Corepoweryoga.com