How long after a workout do you eat?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How long after a workout do you eat?” We will also discuss why proteins and carbs are the best after-workout foods and address ways to maximize your workout.

How long after a workout do you eat?

You can eat food 45 minutes to 2 hours after your workout. The food you eat after working out affects the way proteins and glycogen are rebuilt by the body.

It’s best to eat proteins and carbohydrates combined after the workout.  Taking more time before eating can reduce the synthesis of Glycogen after the workout.  This time before eating is best for repairing the muscles. 

The intensity of your workout also can determine the time window before eating food. In case the work was tough, you should eat after an hour to allow more time for glycogen to be replaced.

If you fail to eat after a workout, you will feel tired and worn out. Some people even feel dizzy and have abdominal cramps. This is because your body uses all the energy during the workout.

How can you maximize your workout?

There are some routines you can follow before or after working out, to make the most of the workout, give you more energy, keep you hydrated and reduce fatigue after working out. These routines include:

A Healthy breakfast

If your workout is scheduled in the morning, you can clock the alarm earlier to have enough time to make a snack before going to work out. Carbohydrates are the best to snack on before a workout because they help in improving performance while exercising. 

Moreover, a good breakfast allows you to work out for a long time and reduces the chances of you feeling lightheaded. 

The best food to have for breakfast before a workout includes Yoghurt, Bananas, Juice, Low-fat milk, and whole grains. You can have coffee. Just a cup will be good enough.

Eating a correct portion of Food

Large portions of food are best eaten 4 hours before going to the gym. This is to allow time for digestion. For small snacks, you can have them an hour before. Eating too much before a workout might make you tired and sluggish. 

After the workout, it is important to have enough food to allow the recovery of the muscles. Best after meals include Smoothie, whole grains, low-fat chocolate, peanut butter sandwich, yogurt, and pretzel.

Drinking plenty of water.

Fluids before and after a workout help prevent dehydration.  Before a workout, take 3 cups of water with about 600 milliliters. You can also drink between workouts every 30 minutes having half a cup of water at each interval.

After a workout takes 600 milliliters of water to replace the one you have lost during the workout as sweat.

Why are proteins and carbohydrates the best after-workout foods?

Both these nutrients are important in recovery after a workout. Rebuilding and repair of muscles are done by proteins. This is because proteins are broken down during a workout depending on timing and intensity. Eating foods rich in proteins provides the body with the building block to replace the ones broken down.

0.20 grams of protein is the recommended amount per body pound of 0.6grams every time you go for a workout. Some studies show that proteins are eaten before and after working out affect hypertrophy and strength of the muscles.

Carbohydrates are paramount for a quick recovery. Exercising uses up the glycogen stored by the body, therefore it is important to replenish it by eating food rich in carbohydrates such as whole grains. 

The glycogen used up depends on the timing and intensity of how you work out. People involved in swimming and running might require more carbohydrates than heavy-weight lifters. For a body found of 1.5 grams you might require about 0.8 grams of carbohydrates.

Moreover, consuming carbohydrates and proteins stimulates the secretion of insulin which helps in promoting the synthesis of glycogen. You can consume the two nutrients in the ratio of one to three where protein is one and carbohydrate is three. 

You can also eat fat but they slow down the rate of absorption of the post-workout food hence reducing its benefit to the body.  Skim milk is less effective to have post-workout compared to whole milk. 

For more details on what to eat after a workout for weight loss. Click here


In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “how long to eat after a workout?” We have also discussed how you can maximize your workout.

Hope you find this blog useful, in case of any questions please let us know.


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