Healthy Tips

Post-Workout Nutrition to Optimize Your Recovery

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We all know how important proper nutrition is to prepare you for physical activity, but what exactly should you eat after you finish that last rep or take that last stride? Even if you have an idea of what you should eat, how much thought have you given to macronutrient ratios or portion sizes? Follow these tips from Thorne to optimize your post-workout nutrition:

  • Post-workout nutrition: Consuming protein within one hour following a workout can help to support healthy muscle growth and repair.1 According to the FDA’s Recommended Daily Allowance, most adults need 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily.2 A 150-pound person would therefore need 54 grams of protein daily. 
  • Cardio versus strength exercises: Following a strenuous cardio workout, consider refueling with a ratio of carbohydrates to protein in a range of 2:1 to 4:1. Following strength training, a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein is more appropriate.
  • Stay hydrated: During exercise, you lose electrolytes and water from sweat as your body strives to regulate your internal temperature. Replenishing fluids lost during a workout is only part of the equation, especially when exercising in hot weather. Consider also replacing electrolytes lost to sweat.
  • Stretch it out: It might be tempting to skip this part of the workout (especially if you’re short on time), but those few minutes can be the difference between a frustrating setback and a great workout.

Check out some suggestions for post-workout meal ideas, broken down into two scenarios:

Nutrient-dense meal ideas:

  • 2-3 eggs with toast and fruit
  • Protein waffles with fruit
  • A “Choose Your Own Adventure” smoothie with protein powder
  • A turkey and cheese sandwich with a piece of fruit
  • 4-6 ounces of chicken breast with roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes

When you’re not ready for a full meal but you need to refuel:

  • A glass of low-fat chocolate milk
  • A protein shake (fruit blended in for carbs)
  • A small bowl of Greek yogurt + fruit
  • A protein bar (15-20 mg protein)

Optimizing your recovery with a good pre- and post-workout protocol such as a pre-workout supplement and a protein powder can help contribute to optimal recovery and overall fitness progress. Remember, individual nutritional needs may vary, so tailor your post-workout meal to your specific goals and preferences. 

1. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dieticians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance.2017

2. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Nutrient Recommendations and Databases

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This content is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.


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