What to Eat After a Workout

 You can’t out exercise a bad diet.

Seriously, I wish you could!—but all the working out in the world isn’t going to make a difference if you don’t clean up your diet.

Since we already talked about what you should eat before a workout to maximize fat loss, I thought we’d chat about what to eat after a workout to maximize muscle mass.

You have 30 minutes to fuel your muscles correctly after a workout. Eat this! {click to tweet}

Video Transcript

Today we’re talking about what you MUST eat right after a workout to maximize muscle mass.

Mariah here from mariahdolan.com, your busy mom headquarters to help you love the skin you’re in, and if you have no idea what you should be eating after a workout, have no fear…I’m going to break it allllllllll down for you.

After your workout you want to replenish your body’s glycogen stores as quickly as possible.

The best way to do that is by having a recovery drink.  Since drinks are already broken down, the nutrients from them get to your muscles faster than eating whole foods.

It’s important to drink your recovery drink within minutes of finishing your workout, no longer than ten minutes.  Don’t even shower before you get your drink in otherwise your body will start breaking down your hard earned muscle and you’ll lose muscle mass.

That’s the LAST thing you want to do after sweating it out.

So, here’s what you look for in a recovery drink.

If your workout lasts one hour or less you want to have on average a  2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.

If your workout lasts greater than one hour, you want on average a  4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.

Don’t get too wrapped up in the percentages.  Just know you want to have more carbohydrates than protein, and more carbs the longer you workout.

Many protein powders are just that.  Protein only.  So if you already have a protein powder that you love, but is purely protein, add berries, green apple, spinach, chlorella, maca root, etc. in order to get some carbs in after your workout.

Now I want to hear from you.

What’s YOUR favorite post workout meal.  Let me know in the comments below.    

Cheers to your health,



  1. Claudia Richey

    I love your post, Mariah. And the mention of dates in your post-workout drink.

    My favourite is this:
    1 cup almond- or coconut milk
    1-2 dates
    pinch of turmeric
    pinch of fresh ground black pepper
    1 serving L-Glutamin
    1 serving vanilla why powder or vegetarian option, such as Vega
    I also like to add some healthy oils to this, such as ghee or Flax oil

    It’s yummy, just what I want after my workouts and delivers a bunch of muscle repairing and anti-inflammatory ingredients. 🙂

    • Mariah Dolan

      Oooooooohhh Claudia. Nothing compares to almond milk mixed with dates!

      Thank you for sharing your post-workout drink. I’m definitely going to try it 🙂

  2. Joy

    Thanks for the tips. I don’t do a very good job of eating post workout. Exercise usually suppresses my appetite. I do usually guzzle a ton of water though. I’ll have to try to be more intentional and see if it makes a difference. Thanks!

  3. Sally

    Oh dear… I had no idea what to eat after working out. Previously, I’d down a glass of water and that’s it. Thank you for showing me the light!

  4. Sue

    Great video Mariah. My fav post work out drink, especially after a long run is :-

    2 apples & 1/4 cucumber juiced, then place in a blender
    Add the following to your blender –
    – 1 banana
    – 1/2 avocado

    Blend up, add a bit of water if it’s to thick.

    Enjoy 🙂

    • Mariah Dolan

      Sue, that sounds so good! There’s nothing like fresh fruits and veggies after a run 🙂

      I’m going to try your recipe after my next workout. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Yeal

    What about the 2nd meal after shake ? For example chicken fillet? As I have heard after workout you need to take protein shake in 30 minutes after workout and take the 2nd meal in 1-2 hours after shake.

    • Mariah Dolan


      You’re exactly right. Your post-workout shake should be consumed right after your workout—ideally within 10 minutes but no more than 30. Then you want to have a complete meal 1-2 hours after.

      Since I workout first thing in the morning, I have my post workout shake then breakfast one hour later 🙂

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