How to Properly Refuel After a Workout


Whether you prefer pumping iron at the gym, running outside, or hiking, biking, or practicing yoga, you need the right food to properly refuel after your workout. Without the right nutrition, you won’t see the gains and performance improvements that you expect. You could even put yourself at risk of injury. Add the following to your post-workout routine to make sure you keep your body in tip-top shape.

Replace the Hydration You Lost While Exercising

An intense workout can make you lose more than a pound of water through sweat. You can keep your body hydrated by drinking water before, during, and after you exercise. 

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, you should consume about 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before you exercise. During your workout, try to drink at least 7 ounces of water every 20 minutes. 

While drinking before and during your workout will help you stay hydrated, you still need to drink after you exercise. Set aside about 8 ounces of water to drink within 30 minutes of your workout. 

For the best results, drink water. If you’re exercising for more than an hour or engaging in a high intensity workout, a sports drink is an option, but be careful what you choose as many are high in calories and unbalanced in sugar and sodium content. A good option to consider is Nuun tablets.

Eat Protein to Repair Your Muscles

Your muscles need protein to grow and repair themselves. 

Many people stock their gym bags with protein bars and powders. Unfortunately, a lot of those products contain refined sugar that you don’t want for a healthy body. Instead, grab high-protein whole foods like: 

  • Almonds
  • Trail mix
  • Pumpkin sees
  • Peanuts

If you plan to eat at home (or you have access to a refrigerator), you can also refuel your body with protein from: 

  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Lean beef
  • Tuna 

Replace Lost Calories with Complex Carbohydrates

You want to burn calories when you exercise. Still, your body needs energy to recover. That means you need to eat complex carbohydrates after your workout to fuel a proper recovery. You can find complex carbs in: 

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Broccoli
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes

Avoid simple carbohydrates that you get from fruit juice and most packaged foods. Your body will burn simple carbs quickly, which means you will crash shortly after your workout. 

Exercising is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. Get the most out of your workout, and make sure you refuel properly afterwards so you’re prepared for your next adventure.