5 Essential Nutrients for Optimal Post-Workout Recovery

General Pre-Workout Supplement Advice Training Tips

If you’ve spent any amount of time in the gym, you’ve probably seen someone chugging a post-workout protein shake. Are these guys onto something, or have they fallen victim to bro science?

If you’re not sure what you should be doing post-workout, keep reading.

We’ll explain the importance of post-workout recovery fuel and five essential nutrients you should consume when you’ve finished exercising below.

Importance of Post-Workout Recovery Fuel

First, it’s important to understand why post-workout nutrition matters.

When you exercise, your muscles use up your stored glycogen (carbohydrates). You may also damage some of the proteins in your muscles during your workout.

To repair your muscles, your body needs to replenish its glycogen stores. Eating a balanced meal after your workout can help your body accomplish this.

When glycogen stores replenish, your body has an easier time building muscle and recovering from your workout.

Eating a meal after your workout also helps you maintain an optimal balance of other important hormones like insulin and testosterone.

Five Essential Post-Workout Recovery Nutrients

As you can see, eating a meal or snack post-workout can be beneficial for some people. If you do choose to eat something after your workout, you’ll see the best results if you make sure that it contains the following nutrients:

1. Protein

Protein is one of the most important nutrients to consume after exercise. This is because exercising triggers a breakdown in muscle protein.

Post-workout protein is especially important for people who do intense forms of exercise.

If you’re only going for a quick walk on your lunch break, you don’t need to worry about your post-workout protein consumption. But, if you’re doing intense weight lifting or aerobic exercise, protein matters a lot more.

Most people seem to see the greatest benefits when they consume somewhere between 20 and 40 grams of protein post-workout. This is the amount found in most homemade protein shakes or protein bars.

Generally speaking, it’s best to get your protein from a whole food source (a piece of chicken or fish, for example). If you don’t have time to prepare a meal, a protein shake will do.

If you’re focused on recovery, a whey protein shake seems to be best since it’s absorbed quickly by the body. If you want a more filling post-workout shake that will tide you over for a few hours, a whey-casein blend is more effective since it digests slowly.

2. Carbohydrates

Your body also needs carbohydrates after a workout. This is important for replenishing the glycogen stores, especially after doing endurance training like running or swimming.

A good rule of thumb when planning your post-workout meal is to make sure it contains a 3-4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. For example, you might have 20 grams of protein and 60-80 grams of carbs.

This will help replenish your glycogen stores, promote muscle repair, and stimulate insulin secretion. Insulin secretion promotes glycogen synthesis.

The more frequently you exercise, the more important your post-workout carb-to-protein balance is.

People who workout multiple times per day or week need to be careful about consuming adequate carbohydrates.

This is because their muscles undergo more strain. They’re also more likely to deplete their glycogen stores than someone with a casual workout routine.

3. Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is essential for people who want to maintain their muscle strength and muscle endurance. It promotes muscle growth by helping replenish muscle proteins damaged during a workout.

Beta-alanine can also improve your workout performance.

This is because it helps the body produce carnosine. Carnosine reduces lactic acid buildup in the muscles. This, in turn, helps reduce muscle fatigue and allows you to push yourself harder as you train.

The easiest way to take beta-alanine is to add it to your post-workout meal. You can mix a powdered supplement with water and drink it with your meal, or mix the powder in with your protein shake.

4. Creatine

Creatine is a molecule that is naturally present in the body. It helps provide the cells with energy and promotes faster recovery and better workout performance.

Supplementing with creatine can help you push yourself farther during your workouts. You’ll see greater benefits and faster results.

Creatine supplementation also promotes better cognitive function, especially in people who don’t eat animal products (which contain creatine).

Like beta-alanine, you can add creatine to your post-workout shake or meal.

Creatine hydrochloride seems to be the best type of creatine because it’s more absorbable. When it’s combined with a hydrochloride group, creatine is more stable and less likely to cause digestive issues.

5. Digestive Enzymes

Finally, you may also benefit from consuming digestive enzymes along with your post-workout meal or shake. Digestive enzymes promote better nutrient absorption and assimilation.

The better your body absorbs the nutrients from your food, the better your recovery will be and the better results you’ll see. You’re also less likely to experience stomach upset after your meal.

The type of digestive enzyme you consume will vary depending on the food you’re eating. Common digestive enzymes include:

  • Lactase: Helps the body digest lactose, which is in dairy products
  • Protease: Helps the body break down protein
  • Peptidase: Helps the body break down casein and gluten
  • Amylase: Helps break down sugar and starch

Most digestive enzyme supplements come with a combination of these different enzymes.

Looking for More Nutrition Advice?

You’ve now got plenty of information on post-workout recovery nutrition. Do you want to learn more about how to fuel your body to see the best results from your workouts?

Whether you want to learn more about pre and post-workout nutrition or anything else in between, we’ve got the information you need.

Don’t forget to check out our supplement reviews, too. We’ll help you sort through all the different products on the market to find the ones that will work best for you.

Bestseller No. 1
MAYLUCK ABS Stimulator Muscle Toner - EMS Abdominal Toning Belt, Training Device for Muscle, Muscle Shaping Muscle Stimulator for Men and Women, Arm and Leg Trainer, Office,10pcs Gel Pads
  • 【Muscle Toner】 This muscle toner adopts EMS(Electrical Muscle Stimulation) technology to make a rhythm and safe impulse on body, which can help gaining tighter muscle and achieving perfect figure by consecutive using.
  • 【Long Working Time & Power】 Compared to battery-powered abs stimulator, the USB charging one can offer more stability and more power.
  • 【Sticky Gel Pad】 It is made of LATEX-free Polymer Gel, comfortable & safe to use, suitable for most skins. It can stick tightly on skin and comes with another set of gel pads.
  • 【Comfortable & Safe to use】 Designed with ergonomics targeting abdominal muscle exercise and just put it in your gym, office, fitness anywhere/anytime that you want.
  • 【Effect after Using】This abs stimulator is USB CHARGER, saving time and energy. It defaults to work 20 minutes and automatically power off after no operation. This abs belt can help to get a perfect figure after 8 weeks consecutive use for 12 minutes per day, 2-4 times per day every day. Each 12 minute using equals to 30 minutes sit-ups or 2 weeks of diet.
Bestseller No. 2
YILVV ABS Stimulator Muscle Toner, Abdominal Toning Belt Muscle Smart EMS Body Trainer, 6 Modes Portable Unisex Fitness Training Fat
  • Strengthen & Tone Muscle - This abs toner makes a rhythm and safe impulse on body, which can help gaining tighter muscle and achieving perfect figure by consecutive using.
  • Multiple Modes & Intensity Levels - There are 6 modes and 10 intensities available to help muscle growing and fat burning. To avoid sudden stimulation, you may start with a warm-up mode at a gentle intensity level and then select a proper mode.
  • COMPACT & PORTABLE - Designed with highly compact and flexible composite material, makes the device light and thin, perfect for human body. No matter in the gym, make it ideal for muscle training at home, at work or when exercising outdoors, or even durin
  • Noticeable Result after Consistent Use - This Muscle Toner is designed for abdominal /arm /leg /hip /waist muscle training with 20 minutes per time, 1-2 times per day for 6+ weeks. 20-minute using equals to 30 minutes Sit-ups, 2000M Running.
  • Satisfactory service -- 100% FDA Approved. We approval 12 months . If there is a problem with the product, contact us, we offer a 24-hour service, we offer 100% refund or free replacement.
SaleBestseller No. 3
LETSCOM Fitness Tracker HR, Activity Tracker Watch with Heart Rate Monitor, Waterproof Smart Fitness Band with Step Counter, Calorie Counter, Pedometer Watch for Kids Women and Men
  • Heart Rate & Sleep Monitoring: Tracks real-time heart rate automatically & continuously and automatically tracks your sleep duration & consistency with comprehensive analysis of sleep quality data, helping you adjust yourself for a healthier lifestyle
  • All-day Activity Tracking: Accurately record all-day activities like steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes and sleep status
  • Multi-Sport Modes & Connected GPS: 14 exercise modes help you better understand specific activity data; Connect the GPS on your cellphone can show run stats like pace and distance and record a map of your workout route
  • See Calls & Messages on Your Wrist: Receive call, calendar, SMS and SNS (Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter) notifications on display; never miss the messages that matter
  • Built-in USB Plug: Easy to charge with any USB block and computer; no charging cable and dock needed; one single charge gives you up to 7 days of working time
Bestseller No. 4
Abdominal Muscle Toner, 6 Pack Abdominal Trainer Smart Fitness Training Body Fit Toning Abs Trainer Battery Operated Fat Burning Slimming Workout Equipment
  • 【SPECIAL DESIGN】This Abdominal Trainer is ergonomically designed to target the eight points of the abdominal area as well as. The addition muscle toner tailored to fit the contours of your arms and thighs. The entire system is 30% more conductive than our competition due to our premium sterling silver li.
  • 【MULTI-MODE】6 simulation modes, 10 grades intensity to match your day life requirements. It will get off power automatically 12 minutes from stop, when your forget power off.
  • 【LOW ENERGY FOR RELAXING】Low energy consume design, relieving symptom for tighten shoulder, waist and back, brings your long life comfortable experience. Release a minimum electricity on special part of body, exercise muscle by impetus to relieve fatigue and stress.
  • 【EMS ABDOMINAL TRAINER】6 pack ABS Muscle toner, micro-electronic gym workout equipment for abdomen/thigh/arm/calf/hip. Special for fat burning, body muscle building. Quick results and it will be feeling compact for first use.
  • 【DAILY USE】Use ab belt 20 minutes per day(No need to spend a lot of time and sweat),but the effect equals to 2000M running, 30 minutes of sit-ups, 30 minutes of free swimming, 2 weeks of diet. You can gain better body figure after consecutive use of abdominal toner for about 2 months.
Bestseller No. 5
LETSCOM Smart Watch Fitness Tracker Heart Rate Monitor Step Calorie Counter Sleep Monitor Music Control IP68 Water Resistant 1.3" Color Touch Screen Activity Tracking Pedometer for Women Men Kids
  • Large Stylish Dial Display: 1. 3-inch TFT-LCD color touch screen features 4 different customizable displays, making it easier and quicker to view the time, day of the week date, steps travelled, and calories burned, your message notifications can also be displayed straight to your device screen
  • Heart rate monitoring & sleep tracking: Automatically monitor your daily real-time heart rate, and track your sleep quality status to get a better understanding of your health
  • All-day Fitness Tracking: Accurately records your activity data such as: steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, minutes active and your weekly/monthly accumulative data, you can also see your fitness targets at a glance allowing you to easily control your rhythm of exercise, helping you to adjust and make your exercise as effective as possible
  • More smart functions: music control, incoming call notifications with the option to long press to hang up, up to 10 alarm clocks, timer functionality, breathing guides, sedentary alerts, wrist sensor, target settings, all this plus the option to sync your data with Starve
  • Great battery life: Built with a 210mAh battery that only takes 2. 5 hours to charge and can be used for up to 10 days with a standby time of 30-45 days. You can adjust the screen brightness according to your needs
Bestseller No. 6
Letsfit Smart Watch, Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor, Activity Tracker with 1.3" Touch Screen, IP68 Waterproof Pedometer Smartwatch with Sleep Monitor, Step Counter for Kids, Women and Men
  • Overtake Your Expectations: Featuring a 1.3 inch large touch screen that allows you to understand your health more intuitively by displaying your sports data vividly and in a way that is easy to understand. With a IP68 Water Resistant rating, this Letsfit Smartwatch also lets you avoid any troubles when swimming or working out in the rain.
  • Protect & Monitor Your Health: Our Letsfit activity watch includes a bunch of new features, including: music control and stress training. Making it more than just a health tracker.
  • Affordable & Functional: Like most traditional health trackers, Letsfit Smart Tracker can monitor your steps, calories burned, sport mileage, and sleep quality status 24 hours a day whilst syncing with our VeryFitPro app. Your device can also enjoy up to 10 days of battery life per full charge.
  • Call & Message Notifications: Receive and read SMS messages and SNS notifications straight to your device (including Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, LinkedIn and Instagram). You can even hang up incoming phone calls straight from your wrist.
  • After-Sales Guarantee: The "VeryFitPro" APP requires Android OS 4.0 or iOS 8.0 and above or Bluetooth 4.0 and above, suitable for smartphones only. We also offer a 12-month warranty and around the clock support.
Bestseller No. 7
BingoFit Epic Fitness Tracker Smart Watch, Activity Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor, Waterproof Pedometer Watch with Sleep Monitor, Step Counter for Kids (Black-2)
  • Heart Rate and Blood Oxygen Monitor: The fitness bracelet monitors your all-day heart rate and blood oxygen to optimize workouts and view the curve to get a clear picture of your health, see historical data on app.
  • All Day Activity and Sleep Tracker: It will tracks your all-day activities like steps, calories burned, distance and your sleep time and quality in the night. You can see the current data in the watch and the history data in the app.(Tips: only monitor the night sleep)
  • Smart Design: Customized Dial Face, Weather Display, Music Player, Brightness Adjustment, Remote Camera, GPS Connected, Alarm, Sedentary Alert, Stop Watch,etc. It has a separate charger, no need to take off the strap, easy to charge on PC or USB.
  • Call and Message Notifications: 1.3 inch color screen, give you a great visual experience. Get call, SMS and SNS alerts from the fitness watch. Never miss things that matter.
  • APP Supported: Download EveryFit or Dafit from APP Store or Google Play, requires Android 4.4 or iOS 9.0 or above (not for tablet or PC). If you are not satisfied with this item, please contact us before return it or review it. We will try our best to help you, please feel free to contact us: amazon.us@bingo-fit.com.
Bestseller No. 8
LETSCOM Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor, Activity Tracker, Step Counter, Sleep Monitor, Calorie Counter, 1.3'' Touch Screen Smart Watch, 5ATM Waterproof Pedometer Watch for Kids Women and Men
  • 24/7 heart rate & Auto sleep monitoring: 24/7 heart rate monitoring allows you to check your heart rate anytime. With Auto sleep monitoring, you can know your sleep quality from our very Fit Pro app(which can indicate 3 Sleep stages) to optimize your routine and uncover health trends
  • All-day activity tacking & 14 sports modes: This smart watch can track your all-day activities like steps, calories burned and distance. You can check the sports Calendar and 50 recent sports records from this watch. 14 sports modes help you better understand specific activity data
  • Call & message notifications: you can receive calls, app messages, and SMS messages from this fitness watch. It will never let you miss any important things and make your life efficient and orderly. You can reject a call (answering a call is not supported) and read up to 10 messages on your wrist.
  • Extra convenient functions: other Convenient functions include sedentary reminder, alarm Reminder, music control, find phone, breathing training and female health tracking. All is designed to make your life more efficient.
  • Customized dial face & full touchscreen: you can personalize your dial face (four different themes for you choose). full touchscreen enables you to check your sports data quickly. You can quickly enter sports mode and return to the main menu by pressing the two buttons on the side of the watch.
SaleBestseller No. 9
Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch, Black, Silver, Large (6.7 - 8.1 inch)
  • See simplified heart rate zones for quickly checking exercise intensity during workouts with PurePulse(TM) continuous, wrist based heart rate monitoring (no uncomfortable chest strap required)
  • Use multi sport tracking to track runs, cardio, cross training, biking and more. Effortlessly and automatically record other workouts to your dashboard with SmartTrack
  • Enable connected GPS to map your routes and see run stats like pace and duration on display (when your phone is nearby)

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