How to Eat: Post Workout

Today’s first edition of ‘food friday’ is all about post workout nutrition. Are you maximizing what you’re doing in the gym with what you are eating the rest of the day? Or even better, with what you’re eating right after you finish a WOD? While I don’t believe post workout nutrition is so black and white, there is a way to ensure you are getting the most from your training by consistently following these guidelines over time.


Your body is in a catabolic state during workouts, meaning it is breaking tissue down in order to create fuel for your training. You remain in this state until your body is triggered to begin building and repairing itself back up. You signal your body to do this by consuming food, which triggers certain hormones to release (insulin for example). This puts you into what’s called an anabolic state. The sooner you can switch your body into this state, the better. Of course it’s not so black and white but this is a simplified way of saying- what and when you eat post workout matters if you’re trying to get the most out of your training!


Ideally, consuming protein and carbohydrates after training will benefit your muscles the most. Protein will begin repairing your tissues, and carbohydrates will trigger your body into this anabolic state and also refill your glycogen (fuel) stores that are depleted during hard training sessions. The harder and longer you train, and also the leaner you are, the more carbohydrates you should think to consume post workout. That’s right.. carbs are super important for improved performance and recovery and will help you achieve a desired body composition. Here are some guidelines to try out…


Immediately Post Workout (ideally within 30 minutes)

    • Replenish Glycogen.  Consume carbohydrate immediately post-exercise.  Use carbs that digest quickly, like honey, fruits, rice, or carb supplements such as dextrose powder.
    • Protein for Muscle Repair.  The amount of protein depends on the individuals lean muscle mass, but a ratio of 1-2:1 (carbs to protein) is recommended depending on training intensity.  Again, focus on sources that digest quickly such as whey protein.
    • Fat is left to a minimum as it slows down digestion of carbohydrate and protein.

Meal #1 (2-4 hours post-exercise)

    • Continue filling up on carbohydrate and protein using the above recommendations (1-2:1 carb to protein).  Start to focus more on consuming whole foods. Keep fat intake moderate.


Meal #2 (Beyond 4 hours)

    • Glycogen is restored, now focus on maintaining blood sugar levels by eating balanced meals that contain healthy fats, carbs and protein.
    • Continue to consume carbs and protein sources.
    • Increase fat intake.  Fats will provide additional energy and will keep you full by slowing digestion.  Nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil and fats from meats are all good options.


Sample Ideas:

  • Post Workout Snack (within 30 minutes): Whey protein mixed with a powdered carbohydrate source such as dextrose and a banana.
  • Meal # 1 (2 hours post workout): Chicken, rice, and almonds.
  • Meal #2 (4 hours post workout): Grass fed beef, sweet potato, and coconut oil.


Try this simple Roasted Sweet Potato Recipe to help increase your carb intake this week.

Spicy Lime Smashed Sweet Potatoes

(3) Sweet Potato (Medium, ~185g each)

(2) Butter – TBSP

(1) Sea salt – tsp

(0.5) Coriander – TEASPOON

(0.25) Cayenne Pepper (Optional) – TEASPOON

(1) Lemons or Limes

  1. Peel, cube and boil the sweet potatoes. Since we’re going to mash them, we can chop them into a smaller cubes, speeding up the cooking process. Fifteen to twenty minutes should work.
  2. Take the two tablespoons of butter and add to it salt, coriander, cayenne & the zest of your lime. Bring together into a paste, aka a compound butter.
  3. When the potatoes are done, drain the water out.
  4. When the potatoes are drained, add all of the compound butter and mash.

*NOTE: can sub ghee, olive oil or coconut oil for butter to make dairy free.


Makes 4 Servings.

Nutrition Info (per serving): Calories: 182

3g Protein / 29g Carbs/ 6g Fat


If you are interested in learning a more custom approach to nutrition to help you maximize your performance, recover from workouts better, gain muscle, lose body fat, or just overall feel more energized and healthy reach out me, Katie, The Port’s in-house nutritionist.  I offer private nutrition counseling to all of The Port’s members. Book a free intro to sit down and discuss your goals with me! email to get started.


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