Nutrition after exercise

You are working hard to perform better and achieve your goals while doing sports. Dietician Serkan Sıtkı Şahin prepared a detailed guide about ideal nutrition after exercise in order to reach your target more easily.


Eating after exercise is important

It is important to understand how your body is affected by physical activity to understand how the right nutrients can help you after exercise. While exercising, your muscles use glycogen stores as fuel. This causes partial glycogen depletion in your muscles. Some of the proteins in your muscles also break down and get damaged. After sports, your body tries to rebuild glycogen stores and repair and regrow these muscle proteins. Eating the right foods right after exercising can help your body do this faster.

It is especially important to consume carbohydrates and protein after sports. Consuming carbohydrates and proteins; It reduces protein breakdown, increases protein synthesis (growth), renews glycogen stores.



As I wrote above, exercise triggers muscle protein breakdown. The rate at which this happens depends on your exercise and level of exercise, but even well-trained athletes experience disruption in muscle proteins. Consuming enough protein after exercise gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and regenerate these proteins. It also provides the building blocks needed to build new muscle tissue.

You need to get protein in proportion to your body weight immediately after a workout. 0. 3-0 per kilo. It is recommended to consume 5 grams of protein (0.3-3-0.5g / kg). Studies have shown that taking 20-40 grams of protein maximizes the body’s ability to recover after exercise.



Your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbohydrates after exercise helps renew these stores. The rate of storage of glycogen depends on the level of exercise. For example, endurance sports cause your body to use more glycogen than resistance exercise. Therefore, if you do endurance sports (jogging, swimming, etc.), you may need to consume more carbs than a bodybuilder.

1. 1-1 per kilo in 30 minutes after exercise. Consuming 5 grams of carbohydrates (1.5-1.5 g / kg) provides proper glycogen production. Also, insulin release, which supports glycogen synthesis, is better stimulated when carbohydrates and protein are consumed at the same time. Therefore, consuming both carbohydrates and protein after exercise can maximize protein and glycogen synthesis. Try to consume it in a 1 to 3 ratio. For example, 40 grams of protein and 120 grams of carbohydrates.

Consuming large amounts of carbohydrates to rebuild glycogen stores is important for people who exercise frequently, such as twice a day. This becomes less important to you if you are not a frequent exerciser.



Many people think that consuming fat after exercising slows down digestion and prevents the absorption of nutrients. Although fat can slow the absorption of your food after exercise, it does not reduce its benefits. For example, one study has shown that whole milk is more effective than skim milk to increase muscle growth after exercise. It may be a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after exercise, but getting enough fat from eating after exercise will not affect you as you think.


Meal timing

The timing of your meals is important after exercise. Your body’s ability to regenerate glycogen and protein increases after exercising. Therefore, it is recommended to consume a combination of carbohydrates and proteins as soon as possible after exercising. Although the timing does not have to be precise, I suggest you eat your meal within 45 minutes. However, depending on the timing of your pre-workout meal, you may be able to extend this period a little longer.

For enough water

It is important to drink plenty of water before and after exercise. Drinking enough water provides the most suitable indoor environment to maximize the results of your exercise. During exercise, you will lose electrolyte with sweat and water. Refreshing them after exercising can help improve performance.


Foods that can be consumed after exercise

The main purpose of post-workout nutrition is to provide your body with the right nutrients for adequate recovery and maximize the benefits of your exercise. Choosing easily digested foods will encourage faster food absorption. The following lists contain examples of simple and easily digestible foods:

Carbohydrates: Chocolate milk, quinoa, fruits (pineapple, banana, kiwi etc.), rice cakes, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, pasta, dark green leafy vegetables

Protein: Egg, yogurt, cottage cheese, salmon, chicken, tuna fish

Oil: Avocado, hazelnut, hazelnut paste, dried fruit, nuts


Sample dishes

With the combinations of the foods listed above, you can create great meals that provide all the nutrients you need after exercise.

– Grilled chicken with vegetables

– Egg omelet with avocado oil

– Salmon with potatoes

– Tuna sandwich with whole grain bread

– Tuna and crackers

– Oatmeal, cottage cheese, banana and almond

– Cottage cheese and fruit

– Rice popcorn and peanut butter

– Whole grain toast and marzipan

– Yogurt, strawberry and granola

– Strawberry, walnut and quinoa

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