What to eat after the gym? Better post-workout options

After training in the gym, we need to replenish the energies and also the nutrients so that the results are maximized. Foods rich in protein and also a certain amount of carbohydrates are the main allies for those who lead such an active life.

Proteins or carbohydrates?

Although the two food groups have different functions, they are all important for the proper functioning of the human body.

Protein is responsible for taking care of muscle regeneration and integrity.

Carbohydrates, in this case, have a slightly different function. Many people see the famous “carbo” as an enemy, but it can be useful as a good source of energy.

It works as a fuel for the body.

Its role is to prevent the organism from burning proteins and undergoing the catabolism process, leaving them only for one function – that of repairing muscles.

Without the energy coming from carbohydrates, the body finds it harder to burn fat and steals lean muscle proteins for energy. Thus, muscle is lost and fat remains.

Be careful when choosing

It is in the choice of carbohydrates that greater care should be taken.

It is not any food considered carbohydrate that you should eat after the gym. It is important to make good choices and also be aware of the quantity.

It is not always an easy task.

It is normal, right after leaving that exhausting and strenuous training, that the first thing that comes to mind is a good meal to replenish the energies spent in the gym, isn’t it?

However, despite the hunger at that moment, it is necessary to know that the post-workout meal is much more important than it seems.

When physical exercise is practiced, the muscles undergo microlesions in their structures.

This happens so that at the moment of regeneration hypertrophy (increases in muscle cells) occurs, thus, the muscle grows and strengthens.

For this maintenance of the muscles to happen in a correct and healthy way, first an individual evaluation with a nutritionist is important.

This professional will be able to correctly indicate the right amount of food and what should be eaten after the gym.

What are the best post-workout foods?

Foods such as chicken, sweet potatoes , yogurt, eggs, fish, milk, vegetables, fruit juice, legumes ( beans , peas, chickpeas, soybeans) and cereals, are considered the main foods to be consumed in the post-workout. They provide a good amount of energy and fulfill the function of regenerating muscles.

However, another doubt may arise in relation to post-workout nutrition according to the goal sought in the gym. This is due to having some workouts aimed at those who wish to gain muscle mass and others for those who wish to lose weight.

How do you know what to eat in each of these cases?

Based on this question, we have separated suggestions that can enhance your performance in the gym and help you achieve these goals.

To gain muscle mass

In this first case, the foods that help to gain muscle mass are those rich in proteins and carbohydrates. In addition to helping with hypertrophy, they also provide other health benefits.

Remembering that for this, it is important to have a balance and talk to a nutritionist.

Some options are:

  • Chicken;
  • Sweet potato;
  • Eggs;
  • Milk;
  • Cereals;
  • Red meat;
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, etc.);

In addition to the animal proteins mentioned, there is also whey protein, considered a good option to supplement food.

Another option is to combine these items in a balanced way, by joining two foods from the list above.

An example is the famous “chicken and sweet potatoes ”, an important ally for those looking to gain muscle mass and also very common in lunchboxes for those who need to have a meal on average every 3 hours.

Read more: What is Low-Carb Diet? Allowed menu, recipes and foods

To lose weight

For those who want to lose weight, at the time of post-workout the meal should be based on foods with lean proteins and also carbohydrates, to help muscle recovery.

Check out the foods below:

  • Chicken breast;
  • Fish;
  • Skimmed milk;
  • Skimmed natural yogurt;
  • Eggs;
  • Wholegrain breads;
  • Integral rice;
  • Wholegrain noodles.

Even for those who want to lose weight, the post-workout formula practically follows the same: a combination of proteins and carbohydrates.

The main difference is in the exchange of these carbohydrates for the full version, in addition to opting for leaner proteins, such as chicken breast and dairy products without cream

In addition, it is also important to pay attention to the amount of food consumed.

Despite being integral, carbohydrates have a low caloric difference from conventional (refined) foods.

Regardless of the goal, eating after training is important.

After all, following the above diet can contribute to the increase of lean mass and also help in burning body fat.

Read more: Exercises to lose belly: how to do, aerobic and abdominal

What to eat after the gym at night?

At night, lighter foods such as fruits, vegetables, egg whites, yoghurts, natural juices and also less caloric meats, such as fish and chicken, should be prioritized.

It is important to avoid heavy dishes that can disturb your rest, as it is a fundamental factor for those who train.

Therefore, eating during the night requires a lot of care in your food intake, so that the digestion process does not interrupt your night’s sleep.

How long after training should I eat?

The ideal is to eat between 30 minutes and up to a maximum of 3 hours after training . As it is a meal after a physical effort, it is important to eat already in the first hours, as it is the moment when the muscle fibers begin to regenerate and need food to help in this function.

For this, the ideal is to always make good choices of proteins and carbohydrates, so that the body always remains energized.

The orientation is that the feeding is done both before and after training.

By eating every 3 hours, for example, it is possible to ensure that muscle mass is preserved and the body does not burn the long-awaited lean mass.


Food and physical exercise are key words for those who lead a healthier life.

A balance in both the exercises and the dish, in addition to providing better health , also help in your performance in training.

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