What to eat and drink after a workout to lose weight and build muscle

  • 2 Minutes Read
Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Wondering how to maximize your exercise for a leaner, stronger, and healthier body? It pays off to plan ahead what to eat and drink after a workout to effectively lose weight and build muscle.

What to eat and drink after a workout to lose weight and build muscle

What you eat and drink after a workout can help you lose weight and build muscle

Choose post-workout snacks or meals within your calorie budget that help you recover

Yes, it's important to fuel up after exercise for energy, recovery, and muscle repair. However, when you want to lose weight and build muscle, it is equally vital to choose wisely when deciding what to eat and drink after a workout. You want to replenish your body with carbs, protein, calcium, potassium, and other nutrients that fit within your daily calorie budget. Calorie awareness through tracking will prevent you from overeating calories from energy bars and sports drinks after exercise, a common pitfall that can easily sabotage your weight-loss plan.

Tracking Tip: In MyNetDiary app settings, you can opt to add calories burned during exercise to the Daily Calorie Budget. Most people find that toggling off that option prevents them from eating beyond their burned exercise calories, which means more effective weight loss.

Water-the best fluid choice after exercise

Hydrating before, during, and after exercise is a no-brainer, but what you hydrate with is the question. Unless you are an athlete performing a strenuous workout for an hour or longer, water or another calorie-free beverage is your best choice for replacing lost fluids. If you exercise vigorously for 60 minutes or longer, an electrolyte-replacement drink may help replenish your stores of sodium and potassium. There are plenty of low-calorie sports drinks available. Make sure to check out the calories and serving size on the label. For example, it may appear to be a calorie bargain at 50 calories per serving, only to find out a bottle contains 3 1/2 servings.

If you need a little flavor, add a lemon or lime wedge, cucumber, or other favorite fruit to your water. Check out this blog for other refreshing, calorie-free, and light beverage ideas.

Tracking Tip: Track your water and fluid intake in the MyNetDiary app by simply tapping on the Dashboard's water glasses. You can set a daily water goal and even go into Water settings to edit or specify your own most-used container types (glasses, bottles).

Get a mix of macros when planning your post-exercise snack

To give your body energy while rebuilding muscle, experts recommend having a small snack or meal containing carbs, protein, and healthy fat within about an hour of your workout. To build muscle and lose weight, what to eat and drink after a workout should be practical, appealing, and fit into your daily calorie budget. A good rule of thumb for building muscle is to aim for at least 20 grams of protein in your post-workout meal or snack.

Examples of healthy snacks

Make sure to measure out and adjust portions to fit within your own daily calorie and macro goal. Significant protein sources appear in bold below.

Greek yogurt and fruit
Hard-boiled egg, hummus, and pita
Cottage cheese and melon
Low-fat milk and pretzels
Nuts and blueberries
Cheese and crackers
Nut butter and apple
Lean meat or nut butter sandwich
Smoothie made with whey protein powder

MyNetDiary Premium smoothie recipes to inspire your post-workout beverages

As a Premium member, you can customize any Premium recipes to suit your taste or nutrient needs.

Sunny Morning Smoothie

Orange Mango Smoothie

High-Protein Green Peanut Butter Smoothie

Hydrating in healthy ways and choosing wisely what you eat after exercise can improve your efforts to lose weight. MyNetDiary is here to help you fuel your fitness and reach your goals.

Related content

Eating and exercise: Dietitian-approved tips for when and what to eat before exercising

How to meet your protein needs for muscle gain in 5 easy steps

Fuel your workout with 3 nutrition tips that promote energy and build muscle

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Exercise->Fueling for Exercise Exercise->Tips
Oct 21, 2022
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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