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Do I Actually Need to Eat Within 45 minutes of Working Out?

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Do I Actually Need to Eat Within 45 minutes of Working Out?

Do I Actually Need to Eat Within 45 minutes of Working Out?

By Lauren Williams


If you’ve attended a Farrell’s FXB Kickboxing or FXB Strength Training class, odds are good you’ve heard your instructor answer this question. But if you haven’t or are new to the Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping program, let me give you the short answer … yes, you do. While it may seem a little counterintuitive, eating shortly after exercise can have a big impact on your performance and recovery.


When is the best time to eat after a workout?

While there’s no optimal timeframe, studies have shown that eating sooner is definitely better than later. That’s because your body uses glycogen (aka: energy stored in your muscles) to power you through your workout. Research shows replenishing your body’s glycogen stores shortly after exercise can actually accelerate your recovery. In a 2001 study, scientists at Vanderbilt University Medical Center fed volunteers a snack either immediately or three hours after moderate-intensity exercise. The researchers found that glycogen was formed 44 percent faster in participants who ate right after working out.

Why is replenishing glycogen so important?

Your body needs energy to function. When your fuel stores are depleted, your body can start breaking down muscle to fuel itself, undoing all the reps you just did to get in shape. The good news is: The calories you eat after exercising won’t “cancel out” everything you burned at the gym. Instead, those calories will go toward replenishing your energy stores and building stronger muscles that will help you burn calories long after you’ve finished working out.


What should I eat after a workout?

Like your Farrell’s instructor probably told you, carbohydrates and protein are key to a strong recovery. Your body uses the energy in carbs to refuel those glycogen stores. Meanwhile, protein is used to repair and rebuild your worn-out muscles. Bonus: Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (think: fish, nuts, and seeds) can prevent joint inflammation, a common workout injury.

The ideal amount of carbs and protein in a post-workout meal or snack depends on the person and the activity. Use these winning combos as a guideline for you:

  • Low-fat Greek yogurt with berries
  • Farrell’s LeanMe Shake™
  • A whole-wheat wrap with veggies plus chicken or turkey
  • A green salad with olive oil and salmon

Need some more post-workout meal prep inspiration? The Farrell’s Nutrition Coaching program can help. You’ll get access to detailed meal plans, grocery lists, portion guidelines, and a dedicated nutrition coach who can help you find the best fuel for your workout routine.

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