Can You Eat After Exercise? Here’s the Right Guide

Almost everyone may often feel hungry and want to eat something after exercise. Sometimes, this makes you confused to hold your hunger or even continue eating. However, is eating after exercise bad for the body?

Can I eat immediately after exercise?

Whatever the sport, whether it’s cardio or muscle strength training, both of them consume energy. So, it’s only natural that your stomach rumbles after exercise.

This condition can put those of you who are trying to lose weight into a dilemma: do you want to choose not to eat or obey your stomach?

Actually, it’s perfectly fine if you eat after a workout. The body still needs food intake to replace the energy that has been depleted.

However, you should give it a break. Avoid immediately eating food, especially heavy food, after exercising.

No need to worry, the exercise you do will be in vain. When you exercise, your body burns calories from energy reserves (glycogen) in fat and muscle.

You can eat a light protein snack after 15–30 minutes to an hour after your workout to start refueling again.

Eating after a workout can even help prevent muscle aches and cramps.

A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition also suggests eating small amounts of carbohydrates and protein every 3-4 hours after exercising.

Reasons to eat after exercise

It’s normal to be hungry after a workout because your body’s energy reserves are depleted, so you need to replenish it.

According to the American Council on Exercise, the following reasons can trigger hunger so it’s better to eat after exercise.

1. Appetite increases

Some people feel like eating right away after exercise. The reason is, your appetite can increase after you are physically active.

Appetite increases

This increased appetite can occur due to not eating enough before exercise. In addition, exercise also lowers blood sugar levels, thereby triggering hunger.

2. Decreased glycogen reserves

When exercising, your body will also use energy reserves in the form of glycogen to be converted into sugar (glucose) as an energy source.

This can cause glycogen reserves to decrease so that hunger arises.

For that, you need to restore it by eating after exercising.

3. Dehydration


Exercising can also cause the body to become dehydrated or dehydrated. This condition can occur when you do not get enough fluids during exercise.

Water is generally the best fluid to keep the body hydrated.

But if the intensity of exercise increases, you can also drink sports drinks.

The types of food that are good after exercise

There’s nothing wrong with eating after exercise, but be careful in choosing the type of food you will consume. Choosing the wrong type of food actually makes exercise in vain.

Don’t just keep your stomach rumbling, you can eat anything in large portions. You still have to manage and choose healthy food intake.

Eat foods with balanced nutrition between carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, some examples are as follows.

1. Carbohydrates: rice, whole grain bread, sweet potatoes, potatoes, oatmeal, or fruit.

2. Protein: protein powder, protein bar, yogurt, cheese, eggs, chicken, salmon, or tuna.

3. Fats: avocado, seeds, nuts, or peanut butter.

If you feel dizzy and weak after a workout, eating a sweet snack or fruit with natural sugars is enough to help you restore your energy quickly.

It is also important to meet the need of water before, during, and after exercise. Not drinking enough water will have a big impact on your sports performance.

You just drink water if you exercise less than an hour. A sports drink may be needed if you exercise vigorously or for more than an hour.

Avoid eating high-fat foods after exercise or heavy meals after exercise.

Consumption of both types of food forces the stomach to work too hard after exercising.

To start eating a heavy meal, make sure it’s about 30 to 60 minutes after your workout. This is of course with a note if it is already scheduled to eat.

It is better to consult a doctor or nutritionist to determine food intake during exercise. This is because each person’s exercise and meal plan can be different.

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