9 Best Post-Workout Foods Your Body Really Need to Help You Recover

Your task after each exercise session should be to take some post-workout foods containing carbohydrates and protein to help replenish, rebuild, and rehydrate your body. You should also drink water to replace the fluid and electrolytes lost through sweat.

chicken rice veggies

Are post-workout foods necessary?

During each workout session, your body uses its energy stores (glycogen) to power you through your exercises. You also damage some of your muscle tissues and lose fluids through sweat.

Thus, you should take the necessary steps to replace the lost energy. You should also try and repair the muscle tissues and replace the fluids you lose. You do these by taking post-workout foods.

Your immediate task after each exercise session should be to replenish, rebuild, and rehydrate your body.

The purposes of such post-workout foods are

  • to replace the energy and nutrients you lost during your workout,
  • repair and rebuild your tissues and muscles damaged during your workout, and,
  • replace the fluid you lost through sweating while you were exercising.

Such post-workout foods should contain carbohydrates and protein.

post-workout foods

You should try and refuel your muscles with glycogen. You can do this by taking carbohydrates.

For most people, simple carbohydrates will be good. The reason is simple carbohydrates break down quickly.

But, high GI carbohydrates would be better for those who exercise more than once a day.

Post-workout foods with high GI carbohydrates include

  • ripe bananas,
  • dried fruits,
  • sports energy bars,
  • refined grains such as pasta.

You should also try and rebuild your muscles. Taking some protein can help you do that.

In effect, your post-workout foods must contain some protein and carbohydrates.

Protein and carbohydrates will also help promote immune function.

They can also help reduce cortisol or stress hormone levels. These rise significantly during high-level and intensive exercises.

Your post-workout foods should be good enough to help you replenish and rebuild your muscles.

Sweating while exercising will cause you to lose lots of fluid and electrolytes. Thus, you ought to replace the fluid and electrolytes you lost through sweat.

drinking water

How much protein and carbohydrates you need to replace what you lose during exercise depends on several factors. You may need exact measurements if you are a professional sportsperson.

But such exact quantities may not be necessary for many exercisers. You should be able to get the carbohydrates and protein you need from everyday foods and snacks.

You must aim to take some post-workout foods within 45 minutes after your workout.

Also, You should eat some post-workout foods or drink before going to bed if you exercise after dinner.

Doing this will help your body replace glycogen stores overnight. It will also help prevent injury, pains, and aches in the morning.

What are the best foods to eat after your workout? Or what are the best post-workout foods to give your body to help you replenish, rebuild, and rehydrate?

Chicken breast, Brown Rice, and Veggies

chicken with rice and salad

This combination is great if you decide to have a meal after your workout.

The meal is also good if you exercise daily and need high calories.

Opt for chicken breast that contains lean protein and low-fat levels. You can take it with brown rice and some veggies.

These post-workout foods can supply your body with some much-needed carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamin B.

You can replace brown rice with white rice.

Some athletes prefer white rice. That is because the high fiber content in brown rice can cause stomach upset. White rice can help reduce that.

Egg with Whole-Wheat Bread Toast

egg with toast

The fiber in the toast can help stabilize your blood sugar levels. The carbohydrates can help replace the energy you lost during your exercises.

The egg will give you the protein you need to rebuild your damaged muscle tissues.

These post-workout foods will supply you with the much-needed amino acids. Your body needs these to build your muscles.

Whole-Grain Turkey with Veggie Wrap


Turkey contains 19 grams of protein for every 3-ounce serving. The whole grains will supply you with carbohydrates containing high-fiber contents.

Instead of mayonnaise sauce, go for creamy avocado. That will supply you with the magnesium and potassium that you need to help reduce muscle cramps.

Besides, avocado contains healthy unsaturated fats and other minerals and vitamins. These can help promote your health and wellbeing.

Salmon and Sweet Potato

salmon and potatoes

Salmon has high levels of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These are two of the key ingredients you need to repair and build the tissues of your muscles. They can also help control your food cravings.

Salmon has high levels of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These are two of the key ingredients you need to repair and build the tissues of your muscles. They can also help control your food cravings.

Studies have pointed to the fact that omega-3 can help improve glucose tolerance. It can also help promote lean body mass.

Salmon is also rich in other minerals and vitamins that can help promote a healthy lifestyle.

Combine salmon with sweet potato baked in its skin

The two post-workout foods can give you 23 grams of carbs and 3.8 grams of fiber to keep any hunger pangs at bay.

You would also get a good supply of your daily needs of vitamin A.

You can serve the potato mashed with a drizzle of olive oil. Try not to add cream and butter. These have high-calorie contents.

Whey Protein Shake.

protein shake

You can make a protein shake from a mixture of whey protein and milk or whey protein and water. The combination will give you a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, minerals, and vitamins.

A whey protein shake is an easy and convenient meal in a bottle or glass. Go with the version with 20g protein.

Your body can quickly turn these post-workout foods into energy to aid your recovery.

Low-Fat Chocolate Milk

hot chocolate

Low-fat chocolate milk contains the ideal ratio of protein and carbohydrates to help you rebuild and refuel your muscles after some strenuous exercises.

Just as it happens to all liquid recovery drinks, the body digests and absorbs chocolate milk quite quickly to help with your recovery after exercise.

These post-workout drinks have the 3-4 grams carbohydrate to 1 gram of protein ratio. That is the required ratio your body needs.

Such drinks can also supply your body with amino acids that your body cannot produce.


yogurt - post-workout foods

Opt for smooth yogurt after resistance training.

But, fruit yogurt should be a better option if you’ve been through some rigorous endurance workouts for over an hour.

Fruit yogurt contains sugar. It has the ideal ratio 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio to help refuel your glycogen levels very quickly.

Both plain and fruit yogurts contain high levels of protein to speed up your muscle repair process. It will supply your body with some energy-boosting carbohydrates.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt with blackberries

Greek Yogurt is great after going through your strength exercises or resistance training. While regular yogurt and Greek yogurt contain the same ingredients, the nutrient content is different.

Greek yogurt has a higher protein content and less sugar than the regular version. It is also much thicker.

You can top Greek yogurt up with some energy-boosting fruits.

For fruit type, you can go for some blueberries that are rich in antioxidants.

Blackberries are full of water and carbohydrates. They digest slowly to provide your body with a constant supply of energy.

Some research has indicated that eating blueberries after exercising can help deal with inflammation of muscles caused by your exercises.

In effect, taking blueberries as one of your post-workout foods may help reduce the soreness in your muscles.



Milkshake is one of the liquid-based post-workout foods.

For a ready-to-drink milkshake, go for a version with 20g protein content. That should help you refuel after your workout.

If possible, prepare some shake with a mixture of 3 tsp of milkshake powder and 500 ml of milk.


drinking water

It is necessary to drink enough water during and after your exercises. That will keep you hydrated. You should try and sip any drink slowly. That will make it easy for your body to absorb the liquid.

As a rough guide, you should aim to take 0.5 liters of water for every 500 calories you consume in a daily diet.

Exercisers and athletes usually eat more calories and lose more water because they sweat a lot. Thus, you should take steps to drink more water to replace what you lose.

Generally, water is the best way to replace any lost fluids. But you can use a sports drink if you are exercising for more than an hour.

Sports drinks contain carbohydrates. That means they can help replenish your energy levels.

Sports drinks contain electrolytes as well. That means they can help maintain the balance in your body’s water and energy levels.

Studies show that Sportspeople across various disciplines tend to perform better if they take sports drinks during training and competition.

A word from LiveLife

Every exerciser is different when it comes to choosing the best post-workout foods. What to eat after a workout may depend on many factors. Thus, it is necessary to pay attention to how your body feels after each post-workout meal, snack, or drink.

You may consider keeping a journal to record and track how your body reacts to the different post-workout foods and when you take them. That can help you make the necessary adjustments to help you get the most out of your workout.

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