Follow These Guidelines To Refuel After Tough Workouts

What foods should you eat right after a hard workout? Try these tips to refuel your body from nutritionist Katie Casto Hynes.


You just finished an awesome workout. You are feeling good and on a runner’s high. After chatting with friends, you finally head home. Suddenly you realize over an hour has passed since you completed your run and all you have had is water. This happens to the best of us. However, post-exercise fuel is just as important as the workout itself!

Follow these guidelines to make re-fueling easier:

When: Consume a recovery snack within 30-45 minutes post-exercise. This time frame optimizes recovery and promotes the desired adaptations to hard training.

What: Carb + Protein + Fluid. Replenish glycogen (energy) stores in muscle with carbohydrate. Repair and regenerate broken down muscle tissue with protein. Re-hydrate with fluids and electrolytes. Reinforce your immune system by choosing nutritious whole foods.

Here are some snacks that are great for recovery:

  • Low-fat chocolate milk or soymilk + fruit/nut snack bar
  • Fruit protein smoothie (add yogurt, soy milk, or protein powder)
  • Trail mix (nuts + seeds + dried fruit)
  • Apple, banana, or carrots + nut-butter
  • Chia pudding, greek yogurt, or cottage cheese + fresh fruit
  • Rice crackers + 2 hard boiled eggs
  • Whole grain wrap + turkey or hummus + avocado

How much: Aim for 40-50+ grams Carb + 15-20 grams Protein.

What does that look like?

  • 12 oz fruit smoothie + 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 6 oz Greek yogurt + 1 cup blueberries + ¼ cup granola
  • 2 slices whole grain bread + 2 Tbsp peanut butter + 1 Tbsp honey
  • Energybars such as GoMacro, Nii, or Zing.

Choose on-the-go options to pack in your gym bag or leave in the car. This alleviates searching for food or fluids while in a post-workout haze. Stuck at the local deli? It’s okay to grab a coconut water or Gatorade and small bag of almonds. It will do the trick. Recover well and you’ll be running even faster!