Expert Q&A

Post-workout meal: Appropriate after 8 p.m.?

Should eat after I workout, even if it's past 8 p.m.?

-David from California

Yes, it is important to eat after any workout to replenish your muscle stores to prevent overuse injuries due to muscle fatigue.  If you ate dinner before your workout, then a well-balanced snack before bed will meet your caloric needs.  A good example of this would be a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and a piece of fruit.  If you skipped dinner and headed to the gym instead then your post workout meal is your recovery meal.  This meal should consist of a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.  A healthy example of post workout late recovery meal would include a baked potato (sweet or white), 3 ounces of lean meat, 1 cup of veggies, and 1 cup of milk.  If you do not want to eat a full meal late in the evening, drink a health shake with protein.  Try blending yogurt, fruit and whey protein powder with ice for a tasty light meal.  Pair the shake with whole grain crackers or a piece of fruit. 

Whatever you do after working out, do not skip this meal.  Without these calories your body will not be able to store the carbohydrates in your muscles, which can result in a sluggish workout the next day.

For further information on eating after you have exercised see the following articles from TheDietChannel: Sports Nutrition: 8 Nutritious Ways to Maximize Your Workout, Maximize Your Workout With Protein & Nutrition Timing and Re-Build Your Body After A Strenuous Workout With Food.

Dena McDowell, MS, RD
Contributing Expert

Have a question for our Experts? Send it in!