The Basics: Post-Workout Nutrition

We’ve covered pre-workout nutrition and the importance of carbs to fuel our workouts, now what about after our sweat session?

Carbs are just as important post-sweat because they are our main fuel source during exercise. We need to replace those AND consume protein in order to repair and build the muscles we’ve broken down during our workout. 

As with fueling pre-workout, if your activity is less intense, like a walk or more of a leisure activity, refueling afterwards is likely not warranted unless it aligns with your usual snack or meal time!

Timing and how much to eat are key questions too. A good general rule of thumb is to refuel within 60 minutes post-sweat…the sooner, the better. This snack or meal should consist of a carbohydrate source and around 20-30g protein. *

Often we think of animal based proteins like meat, fish and eggs, but plant-based sources offer a powerful protein punch too! A bonus is that these sources often provide carbohydrates as well (perfect for post-workout!). Plant-based protein options include beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, soy based foods like edamame, tofu, tempeh, seitan and whole grains like oats, quinoa, farro and rice.

5g protein in 1½ tbsp hemp seeds

6g protein in 1 oz (23 nuts) almonds

7g protein in ½ cup chickpeas

8g protein in 1 cup quinoa

15g protein in ½ cup tempeh

What are some good carb and protein pairings post-workout from E & Rose Wellness Cafe

Any type of smoothie/bowl like the Hanalei pictured above (carbs from fruit, protein from nut butter, nut/seed toppings), a wrap with tempeh, tofu, or quinoa like the Katalina or a hearty salad like the West by Southwest that’s topped with rice, beans and seeds. 

Want to DIY? Try my Mocha Overnight Oats (below) for a carb and protein pairing you can batch prepare!

Mocha Overnight Oats


INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 C OATS

  • 2 TSP CHIA SEEDS

  • 2 TSP CACAO POWDER

  • 1/3 C ALMOND MILK OR OTHER MILK OF CHOICE

  • 1/4 C COLD BREW COFFEE [NOT CONCENTRATE]

  • 1-3 TSP MAPLE SYRUP

  • TOPPINGS: ALMOND BUTTER, CACAO NIBS, UNSWEETENED SHREDDED COCONUT AND/OR BERRIES

DIRECTIONS

  1. COMBINE OATS, CHIA SEEDS, AND CACAO POWDER IN A SMALL CONTAINER.

  2. ADD ALMOND MILK, COFFEE, MAPLE SYRUP, AND STIR UNTIL COMBINED.

  3. COVER AND LET SIT IN THE REFRIGERATOR OVERNIGHT OR FOR AT LEAST 4 HOURS THEN ADD TOPPINGS OF CHOICE [COULD ALSO ADD PRIOR TO REFRIGERATING],


Author: Lara Harris, MS, RD, LD, registered dietitian and owner of The Well Fed Guide, LLC.

*These are general recommendations. For individualized recommendations, consult a dietitian.