Post–Workout Nutrition:  What to eat?

After exercising, do you ever feel tired, sluggish or run down?  As you know, you can burn a lot of calories and lose a lot of fluids during exercise.   It is important to replenish your nutrition after workouts so that your body has the optimal nutrients it needs to restore energy levels, reduce fatigue and repair muscle. 

During exercise, muscles use glycogen for fuel.  Glycogen is stored glucose in the muscles from consumption of carbohydrates; during exercise reserves become depleted and need to be replenished.  The glycogen stores within muscles are limited, as the stores become depleted your energy and intensity lessen.  During short and high intensity workouts, glycogen is used as the main source of energy.  Whereas for long and moderate to low intensity exercise, fat is the source of fuel.  Your body naturally attempts to recover and restore the depleted glycogen stores as well as repair and rebuild muscle.  By eating nutritious snacks and meals post-workout and in a timely manner, you are providing your body with the needed building blocks to help decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle growth, restore glycogen stores and enhance recovery faster.  Collagen Endurance Plus is a great product to incorporate into your workout routine as it provides your body with the needed amino acids, vitamin C and vitamin B to help get the most out of a workout.  Collagen Endurance Plus helps support joint health and provides pre-workout support as well as post-workout recovery. 

The three main objectives of nutrition and exercise are:

  • Hydration
  • Fueling before and during exercise
  • Recovery

All are important in order to get the best results out of your workout.  It is important to replenish carbohydrate fuel stores (glycogen), repair and build new muscle tissue and rehydrate.  Protein, unrefined carbohydrates and non-caffeinated fluids are all needed for post-workout recovery.  The amount of food used to refuel depends on the duration and intensity of the workout.  No matter how intense or how long your workout, always consume a snack or meal consisting of protein, unrefined carbohydrates and fluid. 

The value of eating protein after exercise.

Exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein (1).  It is important to consume adequate amounts of protein after a workout to ensure that you have the building blocks required to repair the old muscle tissue and build new muscle.  Research has shown that consuming 20-40 grams of protein maximizes the ability to recover after exercise (2,3).   


The value of eating carbohydrates after exercise.

As mentioned, glycogen is used as fuel during exercise.  By consuming unrefined carbohydrates after exercise, you are helping to replenish those glycogen stores.  Depending on the activity and intensity of exercise, will determine the rate at which the glycogen stores are used.   Endurance sports like running or swimming use up more glycogen stores then resistance training.  So, if you participate in endurance sports, you may need to consume more carbohydrates than someone who mainly focuses on resistance training.   It is recommended that post-workout you consume 0.5-0.7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight within 30 minutes to 1 hour of working out to aid in needed glycogen synthesis (4). 

The value of drinking water/Non-caffeinated beverages after exercise

During exercise, electrolytes and water are lost from perspiration.  The amount of water needed to replenish stores is based on individual needs; it depends on the intensity and duration of the workout, the amount of perspiration and type of exercise.  Drinking enough water is essential and promotes performance and recovery.

Timely nutrient intake post workouts help to restore used glycogen stores and minimize muscle breakdown.  By eating carbohydrates and protein, you’re providing your body with the building blocks it needs in order to recover. Try to consume your post-workout snack or meal within 30 minutes to 1 hour after completing the exercise.  The sooner the better so your body can start the recovery process.

When choosing your post-workout snack or meal, it is important to choose foods that are easily digestible for optimal nutrient absorption.  Make sure to pick the right nutrients to promote adequate recovery and maximize the benefits of the workout.  Here is a list of examples of easily digestible protein and carbohydrate foods and meals that are great to eat post-workout.


Easily digestible proteins:

Easily digestible carbohydrates:

·       Eggs

·       Banana

·       Greek yogurt

·       Berries

·       Cottage cheese

·       Pineapple

·       Cheese

·       Rice cakes

·       Salmon

·       Whole grain bread, tortilla

·       Chicken

·       Oatmeal

·       Turkey

·       Potatoes

·       Tuna

·       Sweet potatoes

·       Nut butters

·       Pasta

·       Collagen hydrolysate

·       Collagen Endurance Plus

·       Rice


Post-workout snacks/meals:

  • Scrambled eggs with toast
  • Plain Greek yogurt with fruit
  • Cottage cheese with fruit
  • Hummus with pita
  • Tuna sandwich on whole grain bread
  • Whole grain toast with a serving of nut butter
  • Whole grain wraps with turkey and avocado
  • Rice crackers with a serving of a nut butter
  • A fruit smoothie made with collagen hydrolysate
  • Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
  • Water with Collagen Endurance Plus


The bottom line, proper nutrition postworkout is essential to stimulate and replenish glycogen stores and muscle protein synthesis.  This not only will help you to recover after your workout, but it will likely improve your performance at your next workout.  Try to eat your recovery meal within 30 minutes to 1 hour of your workout to get the most benefit.  And make sure to hydrate before, during and after your workout for the best results.  Here’s to your wellness! 



  1. Pitkanen HT, Nykanen T, Knuutinen J, Lahti K, Keinanen O, Alen M, Komi PV, Mero AA. Free amino acid pool and muscle protein balance after resistance exercise.  2003; 35(5):784-92.
  2. Biolog G, Tipton KD, Klwin S, Wolfe RR. An abundant supply of amino acids enhances the metabolic effect of exercise on muscle protein. Am J Physiol.  1997; 273(1):E122-9.
  3. Tipton KD, Ferrando AA, Phillips SM, Doyle D Jr, Wolfe RR. Postexercise net protein synthesis in human muscle from orally administered amino acids.  Am J Physiol.  1999; 276 (4): E628-34.
  4. Kerksick C, Harvey T, Stout J, Campbell B, Wiborn C, Kreider R, Kalman D, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, Ivy JL, Antonio J. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand:  nutrient timing.  J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008; 5:18.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. Nor is it intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a medical professional. Individual results may vary.

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