6 Do’s and Don’ts of Post-Workout Nutrition!

post-workout-supplementationWhat you eat after the gym is arguably the most crucial meal of the day. After working out, it’s important to consume the right foods to help your body replenish, repair and rebuild. Doing so will maximize your results.

Here are 6 key do’s and don’ts.

  1. Do take whey protein. Strength training breaks down your muscle fibers. Supplementing with protein gives your body what it needs to rebuild your muscles stronger than before. Whey protein is absorbed quickly by your body (unlike slower proteins like soy, hemp or casein) and so they are the best post-workout choice.
  2. Don’t eat fat - even healthy fats. Because time is of the essence, you don’t want to eat anything that will slow down the absorption of key nutrients. Fat (even good, heart-healthy fat) will slow down digestion, so it’s important to opt for food options without much fat content.
  3. Do consume simple carbohydrates. When taken after a workout, carbohydrates restore muscle glycogen. And if you don’t eat carbs in your post-workout recovery meal, your body may actually breakdown existing muscle for this very same purpose. This is really the only time when simple carbohydrates (a.k.a. the bad carbs like those found in many cereals and fruit juices) are advisable.
  4. Don’t eat foods with lots of fiber. Like fat, fiber slows down the digestion of food. While fiber is an extremely important part of your overall meal plan (especially for people looking to lose weight as it make you feel full), a post-workout meal isn’t the time to include it.
  5. Do favor liquid meals over solid foods. Solid foods are great, nutritious and delicious, but a solid meal tends to be absorbed slowly. Sure, a plate of chicken and potatoes has lots of protein and carbs - but it’s not going to be absorbed as quickly as a shake.
  6. Don’t wait! Did I mention that time is of the essence? Experts agree that sooner is better. If you can, bring your post-workout meal to the gym so that you can consume it immediately after exercising. Don’t let your window of opportunity close!

So, what are some easy suggestions to eat after exercising? I generally opt for a whey protein shake and a banana. You’ll get protein and carbs without fat or much fiber. Acia bowls are another great option. Alternatively, you could mix whey protein powder and dextrose into a post-workout recovery shake.

Share some of your favorite post-workout tips below in the comments below. I look forward to reading them!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. *dos not do’s

    • It’s generally written “do’s and don’ts” either to avoid confusion (i.e. ” apostrophes are needed to indicate plurality if their absence hurts comprehension”) or out of sheer preference.

      You’re absolutely right when it comes to the general rule of grammar, but don’t forget that writers can also permit themselves a certain level of freedom through the use of styles and that this way of writing it is widely accepted.

      That aside, this is a fitness blog. I doubt many will find themselves tripping over apostrophe usage.

  2. Dave, I am also a promoter of Visalus nutritional shake and supplements. check out my site. Good for weight loss, muscle gain and overall better health. And also, thank you for all the videos, Love them!

  3. David Slaga says:

    So Dave, What do you do if you are lactose intolerant and can’t use whey?

  4. I usually have a whey protein shake made with skim milk, occasionally coffee and that satisfies me. I am not even hungry after i work. So it sounds like I need to take my shake with me and a banana, which I normally have 1/2 with my 1/4 cup oatmeal and mixed berries and assorted fruit upon waking with a cup of coffee.

  5. Would a banana and lean quark suffice instead of the shake and a banana? Lean quark is my evening snack so if it suffices I could switch it with my late afternoon on work-out days. Plus I’d rather not waste money on supplements.

    FYI: Quark is similar to a soft, white and unaged cottage cheese but made without rennet (enzyme culture) and salt with lean quark being fat-free and considered very healthy if eaten without any additives (which is how I eat it). Originates from central Europe, Generally used in desserts and European-style cheesecake.

    • Hi there,
      I live in Germany, so clearly know about quark. Quark fabrication makes it majorly a casein product not a whey product. Therefore, it would be kind of wrong right after your work out to substitute whey powder with quark.Your body will take much much longer to use the protein available in your quark and after a work out it needs a protein intake as early as possible.

  6. Keith Edward says:

    Hey Dave, I have the same question about lactose intolerance. I used to do soy products until I was involved in some research projects, (I’m a research nurse) and found out the bad stuff soy does to you. I have seen egg protein mixes made with stevia. Also hemp. Any other suggestions? BTY the videos are great as is your advice.

  7. I have a bit of an issue with all this. Surely, most muscle repair goes on much later after a workout, therefore, flooding your body with protein etc immediately you finish a workout probably only results in loading your liver which has to work hard at removing a rush of amino acids which the body can’t use. Surely it is better to ensure you have a good supply of amino acids for when your body goes into repair mood which is probably while you are sleeping.

  8. YES, WAIT!!! Davey got this one small part wrong. Although whey protein is insulinogenic, go ahead and eat a banana right after training. THEN give yourself at least 20 minutes before your whey protein shake. (preferably ISOLATE in lowfat/skim milk) Your body will immediately begin processing the sugar in the fruit and start pumping insulin (the most anabolic substance produced by your body) which takes a little while… When you finally chug the whey protein shake a bit later, insulin will be present in your bloodstream and ready drive it right into your muscles. Consuming the whey will create more insulin release to finish it off. Have a solid meal 60-90 minutes later.

  9. These are some great tips.

    Right after my workouts, I like to replenish my electroyles (gatorade, sports drinks, etc), following that I drink a whey isolate shake (30 grams protein) with a very light meal with some fresh fruits.

    Then about 30-60 mins later, I like to eat a medium sized meal (complex carb + lean protein).

  10. How much fiber is too much? I’ve been working out in the mornings and come home and have been mixing my whey protein into instant oatmeal. Seems like I’m getting those simple carbs you write about, but could potentially be having too much fiber. (My oatmeal has anywhere between 6 and 10 grams of dietary fiber.)

  11. Thanks for breaking down post-workout nutrition so nicely. I knew that it was a good idea to have protein and carbs after a workout, but didn’t know about avoiding fat and fibre. The reasoning you provide does make sense though, as I suppose it would slow down the absorption of nutrients. I guess that means that I shouldn’t put peanut butter in my protein shakes anymore…

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