Nutrition Tips: Why Eat a Post-Workout Snack?

lady with apple

You’ve worked up a sweat, you’ve made it back from the gym, but now what? Smart athletes know that a post-workout snack can help you achieve your fitness goals. While some gym-goers are reluctant to load up on calories after a strenuous workout, a light recovery snack can go a long way toward repairing muscle and halting hunger. Learn a little more about the benefits of the post-workout snack, and find out what food choices are best for athletes.

Appetite Management

Have you ever had an insatiable appetite after a particularly tough workout? That’s a result of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates your hunger. If you try to wait out your cravings and avoid food, this hormonal reaction may come back with a vengeance. Eating a small post-workout snack will decrease ghrelin, so you can stick with your nutrition goals and decrease the chances of binging.

Muscle Recovery

While many people hit the gym to burn calories, it’s important to fuel your body with the right ingredients. Those who cut calories too hard may see delayed recovery, which can hinder your sport performance. If you want to give your all to every workout, it’s crucial to eat appropriately. Consider planning a small snack within an hour of your gym session. This will encourage glycogen replenishment and muscular repair.

Snack Options

When choosing your post-workout snack, think strategically. Focus on two essential macronutrients: carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates help restore your energy, while protein helps build and repair muscles. Here are just a few suggestions, but feel free to get creative in the kitchen!

  • After a long run or hike on the trails, try a cold glass of chocolate milk. This sweet and creamy treat may be a surprising choice, but it contains just the right ratio of carbs and protein to boost performance.
  • After an intensive weight session, a protein shake can help your body adapt to the demands of training. From whey proteins to vegan pea proteins, there are options available for any palette!
  • After your A.M. cycling or cardio dance class, fuel up with a yogurt and half of a banana. If you need additional ideas for breakfast, check out our morning nutrition guide!