The Right Post-Exercise Fuel

Getting the Most Out of Your Workout

You’ve just finished your pre-work stint on the treadmill or your after-work tour of the weight room—a wave of exhilaration taking over for exhaustion. A few gulps of water, a quick shower, and you’re done—right? Nope. After talking with Cassie Kipper, a Registered Dietitian from Equinox, we realized that post-exercise fueling is actually just as important as the exercise itself.





20-25 GRAMS





“During exercise, the muscle fibers are broken down and micro tears occur throughout the body,” says Cassie. “The recovery process of building back the muscles is how strength is built.” It’s a process that can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours—but it’s a process that you can certainly have a hand in, based on what you put in your body directly after your workout.

Here’s the rundown. Try to consume 20-25 grams of protein during the first 30 minutes following your workout. According to Cassie, you’ll want to include carbohydrates with your protein: “Carbohydrates will encourage better insulin sensitivity by the cells and replace glycogen stores. A ratio of 4:1 of carbohydrates to protein will ensure the best utilization of each nutrient by the body.”

So, carbohydrates and protein (4:1) after a workout — it’s not rocket science. The mistake some of you have surely made, however, is overdoing it on the protein: “Taking in too much protein can negatively affect the recovery process and overall health. Too much protein can over stress the kidneys making it much harder to rehydrate after a sweat-drenched workout.” Your body can only utilize about 20-30 grams of protein at a time, so you’ll want to stick to that. The rest will become calories. When choosing a post exercise snack, try half of a whole wheat bagel with two tablespoons of peanut butter, two cups of skim milk with a banana, Muscle Milk, or a protein bar without too much sugar.

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