Meals surrounding the workout are going to be covered in depth through several posts. Right now we are talking about our post-exercise meal.

This is arguably the most important meal of the day. We’ve found out that we need three different meals to properly fuel our workouts.

We need our:
Pre-exercise meal.
Intraworkout meal.
Post-exercise meal.

The muscles are most receptive to storing new glycogen within the first 30 to 45 minutes after the end of exercise, so this is a crucial time period in which to provide the body with carbohydrates. Consuming carbohydrate up to 2 hours after the end of exercise will still promote muscle glycogen storage, but not as efficiently. Waiting longer than 2 hours will result in even less glycogen stored.

Research shows that consuming carbohydrate immediately after exercise also results in a more positive body protein balance. Consuming protein and carbohydrate after exercise results in greater protein synthesis.

Studies have shown that the addition of protein to carbohydrate intake causes an even greater increase in glycogen synthesis than either carbohydrate or protein alone, and therefore both nutrients should be consumed both before and after exercise.

Clearly, the body recovers more quickly after exercise when carbohydrate and protein are consumed in proper amounts before, during, and after exercise.

Studies have shown that consumption of carbohydrate and protein in a ratio of approximately 3:1 (in grams) is ideal to promote muscle glycogen synthesis, protein synthesis, and faster recovery time.

The body requires at least 20 grams of protein in order to initiate protein synthesis, and prefers 60 grams of carbohydrates in order to maximize protein synthesis, glycogen synthesis, and a faster recovery time.

What is the best way to get these two nutrients?

Whey protein (such as in milk) is the preferred protein source because it is rapidly absorbed and contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs.

A cheap alternative is low-fat chocolate milk.

This will provide adequate amounts of carbohydrate and protein to assists recovery.

This post-workout meal should be followed by a high-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, low-fat meal within the next few hours for optimal recovery.

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