Proper Post-Workout Nutrition

By Doug Corbett (NASM, PES, FMS, CET)

The following is an article written by Doug Corbett about proper post-workout nutrition.  Doug has been working at RPP since September of 2011 and has played a big role in speaking not only with athletes about their nutrition, but our adult clientele as well.


Over the years, many of my clients have asked me about what to eat after a workout to optimize your metabolism and increase lean  muscle mass.  Here’s a quick summary of what a proper post-workout nutrition should entail:

1) Post-Workout Means Post-Workout – There are 2 parts to post-workout nutrition; the shake and the meal. The timing of your shake should be within 15 minutes after finishing your workout.  The second part is to eat a meal about 90 minutes after your workout.

2) Timing – The importance of the shake immediately after the workout cannot be stressed enough.  If you “do not have enough time” to make a shake then you must be creative and find time.  For example, while making dinner throw your post-workout shake for the next day in the blender, refrigerator it and carry it with you to the gym.

3) Essential For Results – Do not fear the extra calories the post workout shake and meal will be putting into your day.  A calorie is not just a calorie; a calorie is a variable and how that calorie is used by the body has to do with the timing of energy expenditure.  The calories consumed post workout will help to replenish glycogen (long-term energy storage) levels in the cells, increase lean muscle growth, burn fat, boost strength, increase endurance and improve mental clarity throughout the day.

4) Consistency – A simple key to results is consistency.  It’s simple but consistently consuming this after every workout will boost results.

5) Post-Workout Shake – The shake should consist of two parts: fast acting carbohydrates and fast acting protein.  Fast acting carbohydrates means sugar (fruit, agave, honey) and fast acting protein is whey protein.  There should be a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein.  If your shake does not have a 2:1 ratio, then a great addition is to have ¼ of raisins post-workout.  That amount provides around 30g of carbs.

6) Requirements Of The Shake – Women should be consuming 30-40g of carbs and 15-20g of protein post workout.  Men should be consuming 60-80g of carbs and 30-40g of protein.

7) Post-Workout Meal – Make sure the meal you consume 90 minutes after the workout contains vegetables, nuts, lean protein, and a starchier carb such as quinoa, yams, or wild rice.