Refuel the Right Way: What to Eat After a Workout

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Curious about what you should be eating after workouts to help maximize your fitness results? Fitness guru and Studio SWEAT onDemand founder Cat Kom gives you her definitive list on what to eat after a workout and why.

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Hey friends, I have another great guest post for you today! This fitness nutrition post is from Cat Kom, personal trainer and founder of Studio SWEAT onDemand. She’s writing about what foods are perfect for post-workout nutrition, and bonus: all these foods are whole foods so you don’t have to go out and buy expensive protein powders!

I’ve added some notes throughout the post with some recipe links and helpful hints for refueling after your workouts! Let’s get ready to dive in.


What to Eat After a Workout by Studio SWEAT onDemand trainer and founder, Cat Kom

With 3 kids and with a full-time job as a trainer, I get it. After a hard day at the gym, nothing seems more satisfying than a super-heavy meal. But I think you should see your post-workout meals as a refueling process.

Because after a workout, your objective is to rebuild muscles, restore glycogen and stop yourself from waking up with achy muscles. And I can tell you right now: not even the most filling heavy foods will help you with that!

Instead, I like to tell my clients to stick to whole foods. That means using natural, unprocessed, delicious ingredients—all that fun stuff.

What to eat after a workout

Eggs

And I’m not talking about the “Rocky”, raw-eggs-in-a-protein-shake kind. A regular scramble will do!

I love eggs because you can use them in about a million recipes, and they’re a great source of high-quality protein. All you have to do is remove the egg yolks to make it even more low-cholesterol than it already is.

Sarah’s note: check out our easy scrambled egg cups – they take less than 5 minutes to cook!

Salmon

When clients ask me what to eat after a workout, I start by recommending whole foods because they supply your body with amino acids that your body can’t generate on its own. That’s super important when you need to rebuild muscles.

And salmon isn’t just an amazing source of protein, it’s also low in fat, nutrient dense, and full of omega-3 fatty acids.

Sarah’s note: smoked salmon is a great way to make nutrient dense and quick post-workout meals. Make our smoked salmon salad for a fast veggie-packed meal!

Chicken

Chicken is one of the leanest meats out there: high in vitamin B3, low in saturated fat and calories. Just remember to stick to breast meat and remove the skin – parts like the skin and thighs can be pretty fatty!

Sweet Potatoes

Yes, you absolutely still need to replenish your carbs after exercise. The trick is finding a high-carb ingredient that offers so much more – like sweet potatoes! Sweet potatoes are a great source of carbs, plus nutrients like vitamin C and beta carotene.

Sarah’s note: replenish your glycogen stores after workouts by eating a snack combining carbs and protein within 30 minutes after workouts, then follow it with a regular healthy meal within 2 hours.

Bananas

Speaking of naturally sweet goodies, bananas are unbelievably rich in potassium and magnesium, two nutrients that are incredibly important in maintaining fluid balance. That means better hydration and a little energy boost—perfect for after a workout.

I think the ultimate goal is to use these ingredients in recipes that are healthy AND delicious, so you’re not completely denying yourself a tasty meal all the time.

But to me, these are at the top of my list when people ask me about what to eat after a workout. Not just because they’re unbelievably good for you, but because they’re seriously convenient and easy to whip up, even when you’re totally beat.

Sarah’s note: include re-hydration in your post-workout nutrition plan by aiming for a 1:1 fluid replacement to fluid loss ratio (try to consume the same amount of liquids that you lose in sweat). Aim to drink about 16 ounces of water for every 1 pound of weight lost in sweat during your workout. And add electrolytes as needed!

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Other great whole foods for refueling post-workout:

  • Blueberries (and other berries)
  • Oatmeal/oats
  • Cherries
  • Turkey
  • Oranges
  • Beans
Cat Kom, personal trainer and founder of Studio SWEAT onDemand

Cat Kom (ACE cPT) is a celebrated expert in the fitness world known for launching a global movement to bring fitness to the masses, no matter their age, ability or skill level.  Her online fitness studio, Studio SWEAT onDemand, produces streaming workouts that can be accessed through any internet browser, smart TVs and apps like Roku or Fire TV. In addition to being one of Huffington Post’s ‘Limit-Breaking Female Founders,’ Cat is renowned for her classes featuring passionate trainers and real people, getting real results.

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