An exercise regime is as important as what goes as the food you intake after the exercise. What you eat can make or break your fitness goals. Let us take a deep dive into what an ideal post-workout meal should look like to maintain a healthy body and mind.

What is a post-workout meal?

As the name suggests, a post-workout meal consists of the foods you consume after your workout session. Choosing the right foods after your workout can help you recover more quickly, build muscle, and get ready for your next workout.

Importance of post-workout meal

When you work out in the gym, lifting heavy weights and performing cardio, two things happen in your body. First, your body loses glycogen stores from muscles and second, it breaks down muscle tissue. The exact level of glycogen depletion varies with the intensity of your workout. However, it is sure that you will lose some level of glycogen from your muscles.

Resistance training causes micro-tears in your muscle tissue which is rebuilt by your body with the help of amino acids. Thus, it's quite evident that your body needs at least these two things from your post-workout nutrition to start the recovery process, Glycogen and amino acids.

When to have a post-workout meal?

The window you have to eat after a workout for maximum benefit is referred to as “nutrient timing.” Most of the early research had test subjects eating their post-workout meal immediately after exercise, 15 minutes after, or 30 minutes after, basically as soon as possible. This is why you might have heard people say you should eat within 30 minutes of your workout.

But eating within 60 minutes is ideal and easy to regulate daily. So set your clocks today!

Best Post Workout Food And Drinks

Physical activity uses a lot of energy. It is difficult for the body to recover if energy levels are not replenished within 15 to 30 minutes after finishing a workout. Eating even a little snack shortly after exercising can help to restore energy levels. 

Your body needs carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles and protein to spike the amino acid pool in your bloodstream so that your body can repair the muscle tissue and build new muscle tissue.

This list of the top foods to eat after hitting the gym. Check it out!

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a great source of protein and an excellent snack for those looking to lose weight. Helping you keep your appetite and metabolism in check, low-fat cottage cheese can be great low-calorie food for breakfast snacking.

Palak paneer is considered one of the most healthy curries in India. Tender and flavorful, this leafy green spinach is rich in iron, folic acid, and vitamin K. It is pleasurable even for people who don’t enjoy spinach that much. 


This fruit is prized for its high nutrient value and is added to various dishes due to its good flavour and rich texture. Believe it or not, avocados contain more potassium than bananas, which supports healthy blood pressure levels. Loaded with fibre, they can contribute to weight loss, reduce blood sugar spikes. Avocados may aid weight loss by keeping you full longer and making you eat fewer calories. 

Have a Chicken Dinner

Chicken brings tons of easily digestible protein to your post-workout routine. Protein is very important for our body. It gives us energy and also keeps our stomach filled for a longer time so that we don't end up eating something that is not good for our health. 

Add in plenty of rich fibre veggies and beans to this hunger-searing lean protein. This perfect combination of nutrients will keep you full and energized for hours. Trust us, it’s healthy!

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are popular with the fitness crowd because they bring carbs, fibre and potassium to the table, assisting in the post-workout recovery department. One of the key nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes is that they’re high in an antioxidant known as beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A once consumed. 

And, they’re delicious, versatile and can be dressed up or down in many-many ways.

Chocolate Milk

High-Intensity workouts often result in muscle fatigue and distress. And while carbohydrates are important to provide you energy during the workout, you need to sustain the day too afterwards.

Using milk as a recovery fuel will also boost your calcium and vitamin D intake. Chocolate in the milk boosts the carbohydrate supplied to your muscles and liver, replenishing the energy storage for work or the next practice. So make sure you benefit from drinking a glass of chocolate low-fat milk after the next intense workout.

Whole-Grain Veggie Wraps

Whole grain high fibre wraps are a great start to a wonderful recovery meal. Add some fresh avocado, lean meat of your choice, greens, beans, or whatever suits the theme of the wrap, roll up and enjoy. They contain iron, B vitamins, manganese, and potassium. Whole wheat tortillas (read rotis) are the healthiest of all! They provide complex carbohydrates and fibre. Half the grains we eat should be whole grains to protect against heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancer.

This will not only improve your digestive system but also provide you with nutrients many of us tend to overlook, keeping you full for a long time.

Dark Green Veggies

Leafy green vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre but low in calories. Kale and spinach are easy to include even in your daily health smoothies and are available at most places. They also contain antioxidants such as lutein and beta-carotene, which reduce the risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress.

Crispy Brown Rice

Pop, pop. Easy to eat, crispy brown rice or what we also call murmure is a 100 per cent whole grain, gluten-free puffs are a more nutritious choice in the morning. This low-sugar cereal carries a slightly nutty flavour and pairs well with both strawberries and raspberries. These fruits are packed with hunger-busting fibre that this otherwise nutritious cereal lacks, ensuring you'll stay satiated for long.

Something Fishy

Salmon and other omega-3-rich fish provide protein for muscle recovery along with healthy fats to reduce joint inflammation and keep your cardiovascular system in top form. The quick-cooking protein is the ultimate weeknight-friendly, post-workout dinner. But even the greatest of tastes can fall before the altar of repetitiveness. With that in mind, cod, Tilapia & Salmon are the best options for a post-workout meal.

Most Importantly, Water

It is essential to drink plenty of water before, during, and after a workout. Staying hydrated ensures that the body gets the most benefit from exercise. The body loses water and electrolytes while sweating, so drinking water during and after a workout promotes performance and recovery. Make sure to reach the minimum goal of eight glasses daily. Not only that but it also helps in stopping you to give in to the craving urges. 

What To Avoid Eating After Workout?

As we mentioned, eating is just as important as your workout sessions. What’s more important? Eating right! But there's no point eating or drinking any old thing following a workout as some foods can do more harm than good. So here are three things you should not eat after hitting the gym, or any exercise.


Caffeinated beverages such as coffee can be a beneficial energy boost before a workout and may even enhance performance. It can dehydrate the body post-workout, which we don’t need, do we? 

Caffeine also raises our body’s stress hormone cortisol. While vital for healthy bodily function, too much cortisol can increase inflammation, cardiovascular issues, immunity and hormonal imbalances. Stick to water to rehydrate yourself post-workout. 

Oily & Fried Food

One should always avoid oily, fried food as they contain little health benefit and can often contain harmful trans-fats. It's important to remember that exercise is a stressor, so we should aim to eat a post-workout meal that includes micro-nutrients and nourishing ingredients that fuel and take care of our body.

Sugary Smoothies

A protein smoothie is one of the crowd's favourite post-workout meals because it can quickly nourish the body after an intense workout or weights session. However, not all protein powders are created equal. Watch out for sugar-laden protein powders or worse, artificially sweetened shakes which may also include fillers, chemicals and bulking agents.

How does a post-workout meal help in achieving specific goals?

Post Workout Meal For Weight Loss

During any kind of physical activity, your muscles use glycogen stores as a source of fuel. So, after a workout, the glycogen levels in the muscles drop. Proteins inside the muscles are also broken down. After a workout session, your body will try to rebuild itself by getting its glycogen levels up and re-growing muscle proteins.

Chicken, Tuna for a protein boost up and Bananas and Sweet potatoes for good carbs are some easy options.

Post Workout Meal For Muscle Gain

Your muscles need to recover after a hard workout, but what's the best way? Knowing what foods to eat and when to eat them can help you recover better and be ready for your next workout.

For a refreshing, protein-packed drink to refuel worn-out muscles, mix two scoops of 100 per cent whey protein powder with water and blend with one cup of leafy greens like spinach, a medium banana, 10 ounces of orange juice and a little ice.

Final Thoughts

Finding what healthy foods work best for you post-workout will be through trial and error. Having a nutritional strategy in place will create the success of your food plan post-workout.

Overall, it's most important to eat protein after a workout to help your muscles repair.

Speaking of muscles, Decathlon offers a wide range of equipment you might want. that’ll help you tone your muscles even more. From dumbbells to ropes, Decathlon is the one-stop destination for all your quality exercise goods. It provides people across the world by developing innovative and affordably priced gym wear and gym equipment products.

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