Why it’s so important to eat shortly after a workout

Effects of working out can be minimized without getting nutrients into you quickly

Stock image. Victor Freitas (Pexels)

With 2024 in full swing, many are trying to fulfill the common New Year’s resolution to get into better shape.

But those doing so might not know an important fact about an exercise routine: It’s VITAL to eat shortly after a workout.

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In fact, consuming nutrition 45 minutes or less after a workout is ideal, according to healthline.com.

Why exactly is that?

Here is a guide for reasons why it’s important to eat after working out and what foods/beverages are best to consume.

Why eating shortly after a workout is important for your health

When you are going through a workout, your body uses its prominent source of fuel source, technically known as glycogen.

As a result, muscles and the proteins become broken down and damaged, but the time period right after a workout is when your body rebuilds glycogen and muscle proteins.

With that in mind, eating immediately after a workout — especially eating right and consuming good nutrients — helps the body rebuild glycogen and muscle proteins quicker, and stimulates muscle growth.

What to eat after your workout

OK, now that we know why it’s important to eat following a workout and how quickly you need to eat following one, the next thing to figure out is what to consume.

The short answer is protein and carbs, depending on what type of workout is being done.

If it’s more of an endurance workout where more cardio is done, then eating lots of carbs is best. If doing a strength training workout, eating more protein is the better choice.

Below are examples of good carbs to consume:

  • Pasta
  • Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi)
  • Whole grain bread
  • Potatoes (regular and sweet)
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Rice cakes
  • Quinoa

Below are examples of good proteins to consume:

  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Protein bar
  • Animal or plant-based protein

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.