what to eat after a workout to build muscle

What To Eat Before & After EVERY Workout

What you eat before and after your workout will have a big impact on how well you perform at the gym, how quickly recover and the results that you’ll see in the mirror. Regardless of whether you’re trying to build muscle or burn fat, you’ll be at a disadvantage if you completely ignore your pre and post workout nutrition. while many nutrient timing principles have been debunked, What you eat around your workouts continues to remain important, because nailing down your pre and post-workout meals can help speed up your progress more, more than any other meal you eat throughout the rest of the day.

Pre Workout


what to eat after a workout to build muscle

When we workout muscle protein breakdown rates will shoot up. Whether your goal is to bulk up and build muscle or burn fat while preserving muscle, you’re gonna want to do your best to keep protein breakdown rates lower and protein synthesis rates higher. Since amino acids are the building blocks to your muscles, they’re absolutely essential for increasing muscle protein synthesis. Without those amino acids circulating throughout your bloodstream, not only are you missing the fuel necessary for the synthesis process, but your protein breakdown rates will stay elevated, putting you into more of a catabolic mode, where your body is breaking down muscle. Which we obviously don’t want. 

Now some studies show that having protein before your workout won’t enhance muscle growth. Meanwhile other studies show the exact opposite having pre-workout amino acids and carbs. Can even provide more benefits for your muscles, than having them post-workout. The reason why these studies show two completely different results, because it depends on what you already ate throughout the rest of the day.


what to eat after a workout to build muscle

If you’ve already had a meal with enough protein a couple hours before your workout, taking in even more amino acids with something like a protein shake right before your workout, that won’t really make much of a difference in decreasing muscle breakdown rates, during your workout. 

On the other hand if you haven’t had any protein within three to four hours before your workout. It’s a good idea to eat twenty to forty grams of protein, to get some amino acids into your blood stream. You can do this by eating a regular meal, if you have about an hour or two to digest it before your workout.

Chicken breast, eggs, turkey and fish are a couple good sources of protein that you could have. But if you workout first thing in the morning right after waking up, you can have a protein shake instead since it’ll digest a lot faster. While there may be some debate about protein there isn’t debate about pre-workout carbohydrates. 

Your body uses the glucose from carbohydrates to fuel your workouts. Unfortunately the glucose stored in your muscles and in your liver is limited, and it’s constantly being used. So by replenishing it before a workout it can help you postpone fatigue. Also according to a study published in the journal of applied physiology. When researchers compared two groups one on a very low carb diet and another on a high carb diet. They found that the high carb diet is maintained their strength better, recovered faster from their workouts and they were more in an anabolic muscle building state.

While this study looked at overall carbohydrate intake for the entire day, There are other studies that look directly at what happens when you have carbs before your workout versus a placebo. They also find that eating carbohydrates before exercise will provide your muscles with additional fuel for your workouts.

This will allow you to lift heavier weight for more reps during your workouts. Which will lead to more muscle growth, if you’re bulking and less muscle loss if you’re cutting. If you’re gonna be doing a short intense workout lasting less than an hour long, your should aim to have high glycemic carbohydrates. Like white rice, potatoes and bananas before your workout. On the other hand if you’re going to be doing a longer duration endurance type workout, you should go for low glycemic slower digesting sources of carbs. Like Brown rice, sweet potatoes and oats.

I recommend having at least 30 to 40 grams of carbs before your workout. But many bodybuilder recommend splitting 50% of you total daily carbohydrate intake between your pre and post workout meals.

So if you were eating 300 grams of carbs per day, you would have 75 grams of carbs before your workout and the other 75 grams of carbs after your workout and the the last 150 grams of carbs throughout rest of the day. 

If your main goal is to build muscle or get stronger this strategy can be particularly useful. If you happen to be keto and you want to take advantage of having more strength and energy before your workouts, you could do what’s called targeted ketogenic diet. Where you would have 20 to 50 grams of carbs before an intense workout. If you’re lifting heavy most of that glycogen will be burnt off, during the workout and you’ll be getting right back into ketosis afterwards.


Eating fast before a workout really won’t impact performance one way or the other, So you could eat some fat beforehand, but you shouldn’t expect the strength and energy benefits that you would get from eating carbs. Now what about fasting, Some studies show that fasted workouts can help you burn more fat during the workout, But other studies show that you’ll just spend the rest of the day, Burning a higher percentage of carbs to balance out the fat that you already burnt off during your workout.

While it is still debatable if fast the training help you burn more fat, It’s a fact that some people do better while training on an empty stomach while other people do way worse. If you have no energy during your workouts, unless you eat something beforehand then you should definitely have a pre-workout meal. On the other hand if you take a long time to digest your meals and you find yourself feeling nauseous or having acid reflux during your workout, Then it may be a better idea for you to workout fasted.

Especially since some research shows that exercising while fasted will make your body like a sponge after the workout and increase the post-workout anabolic response to food. 

Regardless of this you have to understand that if you exercise on an empty stomach, Protein breakdown rates will spike up quite a bit. So if you’re trying to burn some fat you can incorporate fats the training, But if your main goal is to build muscle you’ll be a lot better off with a pre-workout meal.

Pre Workout Supplementation

Pre Workout Supplementation

what to eat after a workout to build muscle

Pre-workout can be used as a great tool to help you break through strength plateaus, lift more weight and ultimately build more muscle. But they’re a double-edged sword. If you take pre-workouts too often you’ll build up a tolerance and not only will they not give you a boost in energy during your workouts but, You’ll also need to take a free workout just to gather the motivation to get into the gym.

That’s, why i only recommend that you take pre-workouts no more than twice a week on the days. You’re really planning to lift heavy and work hard. Look for pre-workout supplements that contain caffeine, beta alanine and citrulline malate. Out of all of these caffeine may be the most important since studies show that when, men take a caffeine supplement they’re able to bench press and deadlift more than those the take a placebo supplement.

Let's now Turn our attention over to what to eat after your workout


Once you finish training the rate of muscle protein breakdown increases, Unless you do something about it’ll outstrip the rate of protein synthesis and you’ll actually start to lose muscle tissue. 

That’s, why it’s important to get about 20 to 40 grams of protein into your body within a couple hours after finishing your workout. The type of protein that you have should be a fast digesting source like a whey protein shake for example. This will quickly deliver the amino acid leucine to your muscle cells and leucine is a powerful stimulator of protein synthesis. It’ll also release more insulin, which will help prevent muscle protein breakdown.

Studies suggest that talking protein immediately after a workout will help you build more muscle than if taking it later on in the day. But, how soon after our workout do we have to take these shake to get these benefits. It used to be believed that there was an anabolic window where you would need to get your protein into your body within 30 minutes of completing your workout. The truth is that it depends on when you last ate protein. If you’ve had protein within three to four hours of starting to work out, Which, You would if you had a pre-workout meal, Then the timing of your protein intake after the workout is not as important. As long as you get it within a couple hours you’ll be fine.

But, if you haven’t taken in any protein within that time your protein synthesis will be lower after your workout. So, if you didn’t have a pre-workout meal the sooner you can take down some protein after a workout the better it’ll be for your muscle. For example; If your training fasted you want to have that post-workout shake or a meal sooner rather than later.


For a long time it’s been suggested, That post-workout carbs would spike insulin, which would increase protein synthesis. However, protein alone can provide the spike in insulin that you need to increase protein synthesis. This is why you can still build muscle with a targeted ketogenic diet, you wouldn’t be having carbs after a workout. But, this doesn’t change the fact, that if you’re not following a keto diet, adding carbs will boost this process even more, since insulin levels will rise faster and elevated for longer.

Another reason to take in post-workout carbs is to restore glycogen levels in the muscle cells. I already said having more glycogen in your muscles will help increase your performance and help you lift heavier weights for your next workout.

Your muscles are in a sponge-like stat after workout, ready to absorb carbohydrates rather than storing them as fat. This is why? some studies recommend having even as high as half a gram of carbs for every pound of body weight after your workout. However, Other studies show that your body can just continue slowly refilling the glycogen stores and your muscles with the carbs that you eat throughout the rest of the day. So, If you don’t want to have the majority of your daily carbs post-workout, Then you don’t need to have such a high amount of carbs, unless you’re working out twice a day or something like that.

With all that said to take advantage of the increased insulin response to slow muscle breakdown rate and to promote positive muscle building hormones, like growth hormone. I recommend still getting a minimum of around 30 to 50 grams of fast digesting carbs, like potatoes, bananas or white rice after your workout.


Now as far as dietary fat post-workout, many people believe that you shouldn’t have any fat after workout because, it’ll slow the digestion of your meal or shake. However one study showed that muscle glycogen resynthesis, was not negatively affected even after having a very high fat meal after working out. So, If you want to have some healthy fats with your post-workout meal go head but, It’s not necessary. If you’re trying to get nutrients to your muscles faster after workout, It may be a good idea to keep fat intake on the lower end post-workout.

Post Workout Supplements

We’ve already gone over how a fast digesting source of protein, like a whey protein shake can benefit you after workout. But, other than some protein power the only other supplement that i recommend after a workout is creatine. Creatine supplementation will boost energy production in muscle cells to improve performance. One meta-analysis creatine supplement led to an 8% increase in one rep max and a 14 percent increase in reps at a lower percentage of one rep max. 

So, taking up to five grams of creatine after a workout can help although, It doesn’t really matter as much what time of the day you take creatine to feel its effect.

The best post-workout meal foods

  1. Tart cherry juice

  2. Whole eggs

  3. Ricotta

  4. Smoked salmon

  5. Cottage cheese

  6. Sweet potatoes

  7. Herbal tea

  8. Brown Bread

  9. Quinoa

  10. Jerky

1. Tart cherry juice

Tart cherry juice

what to eat after a workout to build muscle

Tart cherries are sour in taste and they are full of health benefits. Tart cherries contain a rich amount of vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, calcium, iron, potassium, and folic acid. You can find tart cherries in fresh, Frozen and dried form. Studies have shown that the regular use of tart cherry juice will provide great nutrition to the body. 

Tart cherry juice is greatly used by the people who want to lose weight because there is no added sugar in it. Regular use of tart cherry juice will strengthen your immune system, gives you better sleep at night and prevents cardiovascular diseases. Muscle soreness and pain associated with workout will come to an end when you see tart cherry juice. 

1) Better sleep at night:

The people who suffer from insomnia should start drinking tart cherry juice because it improves the quality of sleep. The amount of melatonin in the body is increased by the use of cherry juice and as a result, you get uninterrupted sleep at night. So, you can increase your sleeping time by using cherry juice every day.

2) Strengthens the immunity system:

Cherries are loaded with antioxidants and their antimicrobial properties will help your body to fight against bacteria. In this way, your body will fight against infections with a strong immune system. Tart cherry juice contains calcium, magnesium, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin A that will have a positive effect on your body.

3) Improves the vision:

The people suffering from glaucoma can improve their vision by using tart cherry juice. Those who want to improve their vision at night should start using tart cherry juice because it contains an ample amount of Vitamin A and Vitamin C which is very good for your eye health.

4) Protects against cancer:

Cherries contain an ample amount of anthocyanin that reduce the risk of cancer and tumor formation. Studies have shown that the people who consume cherry juice reduced the risk of cancer cell formation. You can get different varieties of cherries in the market and the fresh juice of tart cherries every day will prevent the growth of cancer cells in the body.

5) Enhances brain health:

Our brain suffers from serious problems caused by oxidative stress but when you have tart cherry juice in your diet then it protects your brain cells. Ample amount of antioxidants found in tart cherry juice improves short term as well as long term memory. So, if you want to improve the functioning of the brain then the use of tart cherry juice is a must.

6) Good for heart health:

The daily use of tart cherry juice helps to maintain the blood pressure and it also reduces LDL cholesterol in the body. The anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherry juice will help to lower the blood pressure naturally. Anthocyanin’s in tart cherry juice help to lower triglyceride levels and reduce the risk of heart diseases.

7) Muscle recovery after workout:

After tiring workouts the muscles feel stretched and inflamed and in this condition, you need to use tart cherry juice because it will heal any kind of inflammation and muscle soreness. It contains a rich amount of potassium that maintains nerve impulses and gives quick muscle recovery. Any kind of nerve damage causing pain is also improved by using tart cherry juice.

2. Whole eggs

what to eat after a workout to build muscle

Eggs are among the new foods that you could actually classify “superfood”. They’re rich in nutrients, many of which are not common in the modern diet.  

1) Eggs are incredible nutritious

Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. A whole egg contains all the nutrients necessary to turn a single cell into a chicken. A single large boiled egg contains folate, Vitamin A, B5, B12, Phosphorus, B2, and Selenium and eggs also contain decent amount of vitamin D, E, K, B6, Calcium and Zinc. 

2) Eggs are high in quality protein

Proteins and their amino acids are the main building blocks of the human body. They’re used to make all shorts of tissues and molecules that serve both structural and functional purposes. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, with a single large egg containing up to six grams.

Eggs contain all the essential amino acids in the right ratios, so our bodies are well equipped to make full use of the protein in them. Studies show eating adequate protein can help with weight loss, increase muscle mass, lower blood pressure and optimize bone health… to name a few. 

3) Eggs contain lutein and Zeaxanthin, Antioxidants that have major benefits for eye health

As we age, our eyesight tends to get worse. But there are several nutrients that can counteract this degenerative process. 

Two of these are called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, powerful antioxidants that tend to build up in the retina of the eye. Studies show that consuming adequate amount of these nutrients can significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, two vert common eye disorders. 

Egg yolks actually contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. 

In one controlled trial, eating just 1.3 egg yolks per day for four and a half weeks increased blood levels of lutein by 28 to 50% and zeaxanthin by 114 to 142%.

Eggs are also high in Vitamin A, Which deserves another mention here. Vitamin A deficiency is the most common cause of blindness in the world. 

4) Eggs are highly fulfilling and can make you eat fewer calories

As mentioned before, eggs are a high protein food. And protein is the most fulfilling macro-nutrient. Eggs score high on a scale called the satiety index, which measures the ability of a food to induce feeling of fullness, and subsequently reduce calories intake.

In one study of 30 overweight women, eating eggs instead of bagels for breakfast increased feelings of fullness and made them automatically eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours. In anther study, replacing a bagel breakfast with an egg breakfast caused significant weight loss over a period of eight weeks.

As you can see, there are numerous benefits to eating more eggs. They’re pretty much nature’s perfect food. On top of everything else, they’re also cheap, easy to prepare, and taste awesome.

3. Ricotta

what to eat after a workout to build muscle

An Italian cheese made from cow, goat, sheep, or buffalo milk, ricotta cheese has a creamy, soft texture and slightly sweet flavor. Often considered one of the healthiest, and highly versatile cheese varieties, ricotta cheese contains calcium, selenium, and several other important vitamins and minerals. These micronutrients are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.

Eating enough protein will help you prevent muscle loss, since muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day. It can also reduce levels of ghrelin, which is the hormone responsible for stimulating feelings of hunger. Ricotta cheese high in whey protein, which contains all nine essential amino acids, that has often been noted for promoting muscle growth, and may also aid in weight management as well as heart health. 

4. Smoked salmon

Smoked salmon

what to eat after a workout to build muscle

One of the healthiest food that you can have in your life is salmon. It works wonders for your health, and it tastes good too. You can ask anybody who eat fish, and they will say that salmon is one of the best fish they have eaten. But then, contrary to what people say that if it tastes really good, then it must not be good for your health;

Salmon is actually very good for your health. It has so many health benefits that you’ll simply want to eat it everyday. Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Salmon is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, otherwise known as healthy fats or good fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the heart, for those with high blood sugar levels, and for those who wise to lose weight.

For those who are feeling a little blue, or a bit down, and also those who are just feeling stressed, then chase those blues away by eating salmon. Basically what is responsible for such mood boosting is the high protein and omega-3 fatty acids it contains. 

In fact, you’ll find yourself having a brighter mood, increased energy, and a much better feeling. It simply improves your well-being. 

Since salmon is a rich source of omega-3, it actually improves memory, keeps you alert for long hours, and it simply increases overall brain efficiency. In fact, pregnant women are even encouraged to eat salmon because the omega-3 fatty acids can do wonders on the baby’s brain development. so if you’re feeling a bit mentally exhausted, gobble up a few slices of salmon – it could get you back on track. 

For health buffs out there, salmon is one thing that you should have in your diet. Most health aficionados go for tuna, which is also good, but salmon is so much better. Salmon, for one has lower mercury content than white tuna. Compared to other meats, poultry, and so on, salmon has significantly lower calories. Salmon is also easily digestible and it’s nutrients are easily absorbed by the body. So whether you’re maintaining your weight or trying to lose some, pr perhaps just want to stay healthy, then salmon is a must in your diet.

Other benefits you get from eating salmon is preventing the risk of heart attack, enhances the digestive system, reduces chances of cancers of the colon, prostate, and kidneys, and is a great source of protein for older people. 

When you’re healthy inside, it shows outside too. Eating salmon actually improves skin texture, eyes, eyesight, hair sheen, and nails. So basically, if you’re healthy inside, it will definitely show. It is also a fact that salmon is great in anti-aging because it contains lots of vitamin A, B, and D, Omega-3 fatty acids, and lost of anti-oxidants, which are great in combating stress and aging. So who’s up for some smoked salmon tonight? 

5. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese

what to eat after a workout to build muscle

Cottage cheese is a low-calorie cheese with a mild flavor. Its popularity has grown in the last few decades, and it’s often recommended as part of a healthy diet. Cottage cheese doesn’t only offer a lot of protein — it’s also packed with essential nutrients. For these reasons, it’s widely used by athletes and in weight loss plans. Making cottage cheese is a simple process. You can even do it at home. The process starts with curdling milk. This is done by adding an acidic substance like lime juice or vinegar to warm milk. When the acidity of the milk increases, curds of casein protein separate from the whey, the liquid part of the milk. Once the curd has solidified, it’s cut into pieces and cooked until more moisture is released. It is then washed to remove the acidity and drained to remove the moisture.

1) Cottage Cheese Can Help You Lose Weight

Weight loss diets often include cottage cheese. This is partly because of its high protein and low calorie content. One study followed people who maintained a diet that included high-protein foods like cottage cheese for one year.

It showed that the diet helped decrease body weight by an average of 6.2 lbs in women and 3.1 lbs in men. Moreover, high intakes of protein, such as the casein in cottage cheese, have been shown to help increase feelings of fullness. These feelings of fullness can lead to reduced calorie intake and weight loss. Also, cottage cheese offers high amounts of calcium.

dietary calcium has been associated with metabolic processes that reduce fat accumulation and accelerate fat loss.

2) Cottage Cheese and Muscle Gain

Cottage cheese is popular among athletes and people who exercise.

Because of its high protein content, it’s a great food to incorporate into your diet if you’re looking to build muscle mass. A diet including high-protein foods can help you increase muscle mass when combined with resistance training. Also, the specific proteins in cottage cheese are particularly effective at helping you build muscle.

Casein accounts for 80% of its protein content and is considered to be a slowly absorbed protein. It’s just as effective as whey protein at building muscle and better at inhibiting muscle breakdown due to its slower absorption.

3) It May Help Prevent Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The calcium in dairy products is believed to reduce insulin resistance. One study suggests that eating dairy products may lower the risk of developing insulin resistance by 21%.

4) Cottage Cheese Can Help With Bone Strength

In addition to calcium, cottage cheese is a good source of phosphorus and protein. These nutrients have consistently been linked to improved bone health.

5) It Is High in Selenium

A one-cup (226 grams) serving of cottage cheese can offer you almost 30% of the RDI of selenium. This mineral has been shown to increase antioxidant protection in the blood.

5. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes

what to eat after a workout to build muscle

Sweet potatoes are lower in calories and carbohydrates that the average squd, They’re also higher in vitamin A, an antioxidant that boosts immunity… And helps you maintain healthy skin and vision, Even better, one Sweet potato has about four grams of plant-based fiber… Which helps you maintain a healthy weight and lower risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. When buying Sweet potatoes, choose the ones with a vivd hue.

Some research find that the deeper the coloring off a Sweet potato (Whether it’s orange, yellow or purple)…

6. Brown Bread

what to eat after a workout to build muscle

Brown bread is one of the most popular enjoyed by people the world over. Brown bread is made of wholemeal flour, which contains all the components of the original wheat grain.

Nutrition facts of brown bread?

The nutrition facts of brown bread 1 slice (33grams) are;

Calories: 92

Carbs: 17g

Protein: 3g

Fiber: 3g

Fat: 2g

Good source of fiber

Brown bread is a good source of fibre – A diet higher in fiber reduces the risk of bowel cancer, helps digestion, and may help people feel fuller, avoiding weight gain.

Vitamins and Minerals

Brown bread may be a good source of iron, thiamine, niacin, calcium, and vitamin B6. Brown bread is a decent source of several vitamins and minerals including selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and folate.

Brown bread for fitness

Brown bread rich in carbohydrates and fiber that your body to rebuild muscle and provide energy for training sessions to come. Brown bread is perfect for both muscle building and for fat loss programs.

Health Benefits of Brown bread

  1. Boosts heart health.
  2. Promotes healthy digestion.
  3. Help for weight loss.
  4. Lower your risk of stroke.
  5. Reduce your risk of obesity.
  6. High in nutrients and fiber.
  7. Lower your risk of heart disease.
  8. Lower your risk of constipation.

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