The question, “What should I eat after my workout?” is something that I get asked on a weekly basis.  Everybody knows that eating healthy is a large part of getting in shape.  Eat your fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and unsaturated fats, and have junk food in moderation, and you will lose weight and support muscle mass.  What you eat is important, but when you eat it is even more crucial.  Not just any combination of macronutrients will work. A very specific, yet simple combination of protein and carbs will have the maximum benefit.

What you consume after a workout is more important than most people think.  After intense exercise, it is essential to replenish nutrients and supply your body with the means to recover properly.  If you don’t have the proper post-workout nutrition, you will not be able to reap the benefits of your hard work in the gym, and risk overtraining and burnout

Which type of carb is best after a workout?

After intense resistance training workouts, muscle tissue is broken down, actin and myosin fibers are torn apart, and glycogen stores are depleted.  To effectively replenish glycogen stores, you will need carbohydrates.  But not just any carb will do.  You will want to consume a high glycemic, rapidly digesting carbohydrate to reach the muscles quickly, and expedite the recovery process.  Sports drinks or white bread with jelly make great post workout carb choices.   Gummy bears also work well, but just be careful to not go overboard.  Generally 20-30g of sugar after a workout will work well.  Slower digesting, low-glycemic carbs are a bad choice directly after a workout because it will delay glycogen uptake. 

Which type of Protein is best after a workout?

You will also need a rapidly absorbed protein to help rebuild the muscle fibers that have been broken down during the workout.  Whey protein is a great choice because it is absorbed the fastest.  Although Whey protein is the best option, any lean protein source will work (such as egg whites, lean chicken or turkey breast, etc.).  Just make sure to steer clear of casein protein, which is slowly released into the body. 

Why you should avoid dietary fat after a workout (but not other times of the day)

The most important thing to avoid after your workout is fat, saturated or unsaturated.  Consuming fat in your post-workout meal will slow the absorption of nutrients when you need them the most.  Any other time of the day, consuming a moderate amount of healthy saturated fats will help you lose fat and keep you full, but is best to avoid surrounding your workout.