This article is a follow up to my pre-workout meal article written last week and a Q&A I did with Men’s Fitness1 on the subject of pre and post-workout nutrition.

While the world of nutrition is rife with controversy, most experts agree a proper post-workout meal can improve results versus no meal at all. The challenge is simplifying all the nuances to consider so you can eat a post-workout meal that works well for you.

What are the specific benefits of a post-workout meal? What meal ideas can work best for you? These questions and a lot more will be answered in this introductory article on post-workout nutrition. For more reading, I’ve linked to several research reports throughout the article.

Post-Workout Meal Benefits

Numerous studies2 show the benefits of post-workout nutrition, which include:

1) Prevents Muscle Breakdown – A tough strength training workout will create microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. If adequate nutrients are not supplied before and/or after the workout, these muscle tears can lead to further muscle breakdown, which means your muscle is broken down to form protein that your body uses as energy to repair itself.

2) Increases Protein Synthesis – After a strenuous workout, your body is biochemically primed to suck in nutrients. Your muscles are highly insulin sensitive, which means those carbs you eat can help shuttle protein into your muscles, instead of getting converted into fat. Insulin is a storage hormone that has a bad reputation because it is integrally involved in fat storage. After a workout, however, insulin is your friend and a proper post-workout meal can improve muscle building and increase fat loss.3

3) Faster Recovery – A properly timed post-workout meal with the right nutrients can help decrease soreness in your muscles for a given amount of training. For example, if you are able to recover in only a day as opposed to 2-3 days, that means you can train harder and more frequently, which will lead to better and faster results.

4) Glycogen Replenishment – Regardless of the type of workout, if you are working out intensely, your body will use glycogen as fuel. Glycogen, which is stored in your muscles and liver is best described as your body’s preferred fuel source for workouts. Depending on the duration, type, and intensity of exercise, glycogen stores can become depleted. Eating ample carbs after a workout can not only promote protein synthesis, but also help replenish energy stores to keep you feeling energetic the rest of the day.

Post-Workout Meal Timing

There is a lot of debate as to the proper timing of a post-workout meal, but the preponderance of evidence suggests eating immediately after a workout as generating superior results.

A 12-week study4 conducted with previously untrained men examined the effects of consuming supplemental protein “immediately after versus two hours after a strength-training session. Those who consumed protein immediately after their workout gained significantly more muscle size and strength than those who consumed it two hours removed from their workout.”

Because of studies like this one, the 30-60 minute period after a workout is known as the “window of opportunity” to help maximize the training effect.

Post-Workout Meal Size & Breakdown

Given that the speed with which nutrients reach the body is critical, we need to take into account rates of digestion to maximize the nutrient delivery effect. Dietary fat slows down digestion, so a post workout meal should be low in fat. While protein in the form of meat can take a good 3-4 hours to digest whey protein5 takes as little as 20-30 minutes to hit the bloodstream. Fast digesting carbs are ideal post-workout to help maximize the insulin effect and replenish glycogen stores. The only time when eating processed carbs is a good idea (other than on the occasional cheat meal) is post-workout. Fruit can also work well, which is what I prefer.

Whey protein combined with a fast digesting carbohydrate in liquid form has emerged as the top post-workout meal of choice for anyone from athletes to bodybuilders to recreational exercisers. Consider a carb to protein ratio of anywhere from 1:1 to 3:1, with an average of 2:16 depending on the duration and intensity of the workout (i.e. 60 grams of carbs to 30 grams of protein). Sports nutritionists will typically recommend consuming 0.25 to 0.40 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight.

Your post-workout meal is the only meal in my opinion where a protein shake should be considered. Whole, natural foods are superior for getting a lean, healthy body for a number of reasons ranging from greater satiety to increased thermic effect (food burns calories during digestion whereas shakes do not).

Please keep in mind focusing on total calorie intake, smart food choices, and proper exercise are far more important than maximizing the “window of opportunity” of the 30-60 minute post-workout period. I can’t emphasize this enough. Sadly, pre and post-workout nutrition has sabotaged many fat loss programs because of excess calorie intake. People lose sight of the forest amidst the trees.

Post-Workout Meal Ideas

Let’s tie everything together we’ve learned so far to create some effective post workout meals:

  • Whey protein shake mixed with a couple handfuls of fruit (banana, strawberries etc.)
  • Whey protein shake combined with dextrose (fast digesting carbohydrate)
  • Whey protein “Ready to drink” shake with 20-30 grams of protein and 20-60 of carbs
  • Lean protein with fast digesting starchy carbs (i.e. grilled chicken with potatoes and veggies)
  • 16 ounces of chocolate milk (not as effective as whey shake, but adequate)

    …and don’t forget to drink plenty of water! A good 16+ ounces can help you optimize your performance.

    In addition to whey protein, there are two other supplements worth mentioning that are supported by research (1) creatine and (2) glutamine. As I’ve discussed in depth, I’m not a huge fan of dietary supplements in general, for a number of reasons. With that said, ingesting 5 grams of creatine post-workout has been shown to help7 and 5-10 grams of glutamine post-workout can help improve recovery8 from a workout. In fact, some people swear by glutamine substantially reducing muscle soreness in the days following a workout (delayed onset muscle soreness).

    While I didn’t cover all the minutiae with post-workout nutrition, I tried my best to cover the basics that are most relevant. Feel free to ask any questions if you need more detail!

    Show 8 References

    1. The Fit 5: Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition. Menโ€™s Fitness. 2012
    2. Poole C, Wilborn C, Taylor L, Kerksick C. The role of post-exercise nutrient administration on muscle protein synthesis and glycogen synthesis . Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2010) 9, 354-363.
    3. Westcott W, Martin W, La Rose R, Stoddard S. Fitness – Research Update: Protein and Body Composition . Athletic Business. 2008.
    4. Cribb P, Hayes A. Effects of Supplement Timing and Resistance Exercise on Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy. Exercise Metabolism Unit, Center for Ageing, Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sport; and the School of Biomedical Sciences,
    5. Hulmi J, Lockwood C, Stout J. Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein. Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:51.
    6. Van Loon LJ, Saris WH, Kruijshoop M, Wagenmakers AJ. Maximizing postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis: carbohydrate supplementation and the application of amino acid or protein hydrolysate mixtures . Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Jul;72(1):106-11.
    7. Cribb PJ, Williams AD, Stathis CG, Carey MF, Hayes A. Effects of whey isolate, creatine, and resistance training on muscle hypertrophy. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Feb;39(2):298-307.
    8. Varnier M, Leese GP, Thompson J, Rennie M. Stimulatory effect of glutamine on glycogen accumulation in human skeletal muscle . American Physiological Society. 2012.
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    62 Comments

    1. profile avatar
      santi Feb 09, 2012 - 09:55 #

      Awsome article, YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!

      Thanks Mark for all your excellent work and for keeping us motivated and on track.

      Santi

    2. profile avatar
      Alan Feb 09, 2012 - 11:23 #

      Thanks for the article. I have been practicing this but you have given me the good reasons why I should be doing it.

      Have a great trip. Enjoy the sun!

    3. profile avatar
      Emily Feb 09, 2012 - 11:23 #

      Marc,
      What are your thoughts on chocolate coconut water as a post-workout drink? \
      Thanks!
      Emily

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 13, 2012 - 22:37 #

        @Emily – It’s low in protein, which is not ideal. For example, Zico chocolate flavored drink has only 1 gram of protein. Also, I try to steer away from “flavored” drinks as generally the ingredients are suspect. Personally I would take even organic milk over coconut water.

    4. profile avatar
      Hank Feb 09, 2012 - 11:33 #

      Nice to know the facts about the ideal time to eat post workout. The importance of proper caloric intake is only part of the equation. The Whey protein idea makes sense especially with fruit. Thanks

    5. profile avatar
      Rachel Feb 09, 2012 - 18:59 #

      Marc,

      Your posts are so inspiring! I look forward to them every week. You have helped me stay motivated. Thank you.

      Have a great trip!

    6. profile avatar
      alec Feb 13, 2012 - 17:54 #

      Hey Marc,

      Is there any difference between the optimal post-workout meal for cardio or calisthenics, as compared to weight lifting? Thanks!

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 14, 2012 - 12:39 #

        @alec – Great question that I should have answered in the article. It depends on (1) the intensity of the workout and (2) your fitness goals. In general, weight lifting requires more protein post-workout than cardio because the stress placed on your muscles is significantly greater. Even as little as 10 grams of protein could be fine after a cardio workout. In addition, if you are focusing on fat loss, I don’t think a post-workout snack/meal is nearly as important because the chances are unlikely muscle will be broken down assuming you are eating ample protein in a given day. The focus should be on overall calorie intake, not post-workout after light, to moderate cardio. In fact, some may even argue not replenishing glyogen stores post-workout after a cardio workout during a fat loss plan can be a good thing.

        1. profile avatar
          alec Feb 15, 2012 - 21:28 #

          Great, thanks for the answer. So say my goal is to add muscle because I’m a thin guy, and my weekly fitness regimen is 4 days of lifting and 2 days of cardio. What would be my optimal post-cardio meal?

        2. profile avatar
          Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 16, 2012 - 19:41 #

          @Alec – I think something along the lines of a 2:1 ratio of 30 grams of protein and 60 grams of carbs post lifting and cardio workouts, which is roughly 360-400 calories. Given you are building muscle, you need to consume as much quality protein and calories as you can.

    7. profile avatar
      Bob Feb 14, 2012 - 13:01 #

      Enjoyed your content on post-workout meals. Personally, I have always concentrated more on more carbs and less protein pre-workout and then the opposite for post-workout within a 30 minute time frame.

      Thanks, Bob Williams

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 16, 2012 - 20:00 #

        Sounds good, Bob. Thanks for sharing.

    8. profile avatar
      Henry Feb 15, 2012 - 08:22 #

      Just a question. After you have taken the post workout meal, how long do we have to wait until we have the next follow-up meal? Other than that, what do you mean by “eating processed carbs”? Can you give me an example of these type of carbs?

      Thanks and great tips btw

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 16, 2012 - 20:00 #

        @Henry – The general guideline I use is that if I’m eating a meal within an hour of a workout, I don’t have a post-workout shake. If however, I have 2-3 hours until my next meal, then I have a light protein shake (200-300 calories) then have a light dinner (around 500 calories). If you are trying to build muscle, then you can have a far bigger meal ahttp://www.builtlean.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-formnd shake. By processed carbs, I mean white bread, rice, even some fruit juice, basically the carbohydrate source is “processed” from its original form.

    9. profile avatar
      Oscar Feb 16, 2012 - 13:13 #

      Hi Marc, great articles.. I have a question, on your sample meal, the one you have on the lean guide, you don’t include whey protein but you are telling us to do a shake post workout, is this something additional that we can add to our routine or is not necessary if I am following the sample meal.

      Tx

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 16, 2012 - 19:27 #

        @Oscar – That’s a good question. I try not to get too pedantic with meal timing, post workout meals etc. even though I just wrote a thorough article about it. The challenge I find is 9 times out of 10 when people start asking me about it, these same people stop focusing on the core principles that get them the best results. Post workout meal nutrition is important, but it’s of little importance compared to the quality of the meals the entire day.

        With all that said, if it’s a workout day, you can adjust the meal template I offered by substituting a protein shake for one, or both of the snacks, depending on what your calorie needs are. If you are not working out, then a protein shake is likely unnecessary. If you need any more clarification, just let me know.

        1. profile avatar
          Oscar Feb 22, 2012 - 11:58 #

          Thanks for the reply, if I follow the sample meal you gave us, would that be enough to increase mass combine with strength workouts 3x a week? if my weight is 151 lbs and I want about 10 more, the calories in that sample will be enough to be to a 10% body fat for instance?
          Thank you

    10. profile avatar
      Sharon Feb 16, 2012 - 15:49 #

      Very helpful information. I always heard a good protein especially a whey shake is good for as a post workout meal.

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 16, 2012 - 19:23 #

        @Sharon – Happy you enjoyed the post!

    11. profile avatar
      Brandon Feb 19, 2012 - 23:36 #

      Excellent pre and post workout articles. But, I am at a bit of a dilemma. Or rather, just would like your opinion on it. I’m in college, and drive to campus, so I carry my food with me. I eat my breakfast at about 7:45 AM. Two eggs w/ ham, turkey, broccoli, and pineapple salsa. Bowl of oatmeal, and a glass of skim milk. I workout at 12:30, roughly. So I have to have my pre workout as a snack in between breakfast and my workout around 10:45. I usually do an apple with 1-2 tbsp of peanut butter. And post workout is 2 scoops of whey (40g protein) and a small banana. I’m doing weight loss right now, while still weight training. And my calorie intake per day is around 1850-1900 currently. Would you suggest anything differently for a pre workout snack? Instead of peanut butter, add veggies? A piece of whole wheat bread? Anything different?

      1. profile avatar
        Brandon Feb 19, 2012 - 23:41 #

        And also on that note, my breakfast is around 550 calories

      2. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 20, 2012 - 20:32 #

        @Brandon – Sounds good to me, I’m not sure I was explicit enough in the pre-workout meal article, but pre-workout in my opinion is all about energy. If you have energy before/during your workout at 12:30pm without eating any snacks before hand, then don’t worry about the pre-workout snack. If however you get hungry around 10:45 and that snack helps improve your energy levels, the apple with peanut butter combo is definitely fine.

    12. profile avatar
      gretchen Feb 28, 2012 - 01:45 #

      Hi Marc; thank you for the informative and technical website and intelligent articles. I have a main problem of not being hungry at all after I work out. I have to force myself to choke down a protein bar or shake because I know I must. My typical workout week is as follows: Mon: one hour cycling/15 miles then speed runs yasso 800’s 4-6 times through
      Tues: 2 miles give or take a few hundred meters in masters swim team practice
      Wed: 100 pushups divided into three sets : 45/ 35/25 (or 30) ; 3-4 miles hill practice running outside preferably then 40 or so minutes cycling
      Thurs: 2 miles again in swim drills with masters swim team
      Friday: tempo run 3-4 miles / 100 pushups again divided up but completed in about 6-8 minutes (yes, pushups done first of course)
      Sat : off or cycling 60-90 min
      Sun: Long Trail Run about 9-10 miles , maybe 100 pushups again ( I do pushups before the run)

      I do it for stress relief and I really like the variety of different sports. I love swimming as pure enjoyment and a childhood activity I recently rediscovered. Never thought of myself as a runner but somehow I’m making progress. I think the cycling is great for my core and back of thighs. ( I see that the “runner only” women don’t have the physique I have been able to obtain). I dabble in various races/ triathlons.
      I have experimented with a big carb load before a workout and then a protein drink right afterwards. This seems to help me from losing weight. I am female 44, 5’2″, and I weigh about 104; I would not mind gaining some weight but do not want to back down on my workouts I just like feeling strong and seeing my times getting better, but again am puzzled as to why I have to pretty much make myself eat and why I feel mild to moderate nausea after workouts. I like just doing pushups for weights because it’s fast and it’s not boring for me such as just weight lifting routines that last an hour. I like the lean sculpted look , not “american gladiator” female physique. I’ve also noticed my rear has disappeared; I thought cycling would improve this but so far not so. Thank you in advance for your response/thoughts.

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 10, 2012 - 16:45 #

        @gretchen – It looks like you are doing a lot of exercise so congrats. It sounds like you have the opposite challenge as most people in that you want to keep your weight, not lose it. With that said, I don’t think you have to eat right after your workout, even an hour later should work out fine. Feeling a little nausea after a tough workout is not atypical, and not feeling very hungry after a tough workout is normal, so try waiting an extra hour to help your hunger come back again. Just an idea! Regarding the weight training, I preach short efficient strength training workouts on this website. If you are lifting weights for much more than 30-45 minutes, you should probably reevaluate your workout regimen. I think strength training with weights is very valuable for women in particular to combat osteoporosis.

    13. profile avatar
      Oscar Feb 28, 2012 - 10:22 #

      Hello, I am following the full body workout on your Lean Guide for about two weeks now and I am eating around 3000 calories a day but the scale is not moving up, I am stock at 151 lbs, is it too early?

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 10, 2012 - 16:48 #

        @Oscar – By the number of comments you are leaving on so many articles, I think you would benefit from a coaching call. BuiltLean.com is a free informational website, we try our best to answer all questions, but it’s not easy. 3000 calories if you are trying to lose weight is not on the right track at a weight of only 151lb body weight.

    14. profile avatar
      Oscar Feb 28, 2012 - 12:15 #

      Also if I am eating a healthy diet conforming of fruits, good carbs, good fat and meat, fish, eggs, etc, for protein, do I still need a whey protein shake post workout and if so 5 or 10g of whey protein will be okay?

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Mar 10, 2012 - 16:49 #

        @Oscar – Post workout nutrition is not an exact science, you should go by how you feel and track your progress.

    15. profile avatar
      Krishna Bhatt May 09, 2012 - 05:56 #

      Hi Marc,
      I am taking apple and a banana after the 20 min of workouts and after 1 hr I am taking my dinner with green salad and veg . Is it fine as I am loosing fat.Please suggest

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT May 12, 2012 - 20:37 #

        @Krishna – Given the questions you are asking across the site that I’ve answered, I highly suggest reading my Get Lean Guide. All the principles are in there as it sounds like you are just starting out. Also, regarding your question, please read the article again with all due respect.

    16. profile avatar
      Riz Jun 12, 2012 - 07:28 #

      Hey Marc!! First off, I love how u actually seem to be taking the time to make individual replies ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, my question is – I was always under the impression that pain is kinda a good thing after a workout – I’m not experiencing any of the “extreme” pain symptoms that u described in your article, but I do have soreness in my legs – each time i lift them etc – but its not so intense that I wince each time I climb the stairs or something. Is this kind of pain a good sign or a bad one? I assume that SOME soreness is common when ur starting out….

      Also, I’m turning 27 this month – and is there any kind of workout regimen I can follow so I dont look 30 when I turn 30 ๐Ÿ˜€ Whats the best anti-aging work-out you would prescribe? ๐Ÿ˜€ I dont want to look like a body-builder; but I don’t mind a body like Hillary Swank’s in “Million Dollar Baby” ๐Ÿ˜€ While I liked your “get lean guide,” I felt that it was somewhat focused on men. I’d like to see a guide focused on women.

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jun 14, 2012 - 18:55 #

        @Riz – Thanks very much for your comment! It’s not easy to answer every comment across the over 200 articles on the site, but I try my best ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully I’ll get some more help soon.

        Your question is a great one and worthy of a separate post as an answer, but I will try to my best keep it short and sweet. Yes, some pain/soreness is good after a workout, but it’s important to differentiate between the “good” pain of muscle soreness and a hard workout and the “bad” pain of joint pain, or excessive muscle soreness. If you’re on a program to get lean and you are sore for more than a few days, you may need to cut back on the volume, or intensity of your workouts, and/or spend more time on recovery (i.e. drinking enough fluids, working on tissue quality with a foam roller and massage ball, stretching, active rest etc.). If you are sore all the time, in some ways it defeats the purpose of working out because we want to workout to enhance how we look and feel right? But if we can barely move our arms after a tough workout, that’s not very helpful.

        I think a workout program where you are strength training for 30 minutes 2x per week, doing 1-2 sessions of HIIT for 10-20 minutes, and some stretching/relaxation exercises a couple times per week would be ideal. You can do these back to back, or on separate days. This philosophy is very similar to my BuiltLean Program, which can be used by women. Alternatively, you can use a framework like this on which is very similar to the framework I use in my program, but is more of a circuit – 20 Minute Full Body Circuit Training Workout.

        I’ve been getting A LOT of questions/comments about how BuiltLean is male oriented and there are only photos of male success stories. This is the elephant in the room so-to-speak and one that I am contemplating more deeply. I’m considering adding a female only section to BuiltLean as well as make the BuiltLean Program more female friendly by adding some more female testimonials on the sales page. Thank you for your recommendation as I think given the sheer volume of emails I’m getting from women, I need to reconsider the position of the site/brand.

    17. profile avatar
      Maria Jun 21, 2012 - 18:22 #

      I’ve been reading the site for a few weeks now, and although it is male oriented I feel that a lot of the information has been helpful for me. There is too much out there geared towards women’s weight loss that isn’t helpful but I’ve found useful information in each article I’ve read as well as the links and the comments which usually answer any questions I might have. But I wanted to leave a comment thanking you for all of the great information.

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jun 21, 2012 - 21:06 #

        @Maria – That means a lot. Thank you!

    18. profile avatar
      Simon Jul 08, 2012 - 12:18 #

      Marc,

      I have always been told that after your post workout shake w Dextrose that the meal post workout should contain slow digesting carbs rather than fast digesting, i normally stick with brown rice with a chicken breast and veg. Either Brown rice or Sweet potato.

      I find Brown rice is a good choice as its high in dietary fiber. It also contains CoQ10 which burns fat into energy helping you lose weight and protect your heart. Another ingredient in Brown rice is gamma-oryzanol which is an antioxidant that strengthens muscles and converts fat into lean body mass

    19. profile avatar
      janet Jul 13, 2012 - 21:27 #

      Marc, I’m trying to lose weight (40 lbs is my goal), but someone told me to drink whey protein after workout and before bedtime, but I’m trying to get leaner and lose the baby fat, I do not want to be bulky and big, I want to get my body back, I never used whey protein or any kind, I don’t have idea how many times should i drink it, and if it;s good for me, Thanks

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jul 19, 2012 - 14:50 #

        @janet – I apologize if I was not clear in the article but whey protein is simply not necessary to lose fat. I left this comment in one of our weekly Q&A’s:

        “Regarding supplements, if you have trouble eating enough protein, or find whipping up a shake very convenient, then go for it. Keep in mind protein shakes are 100% NOT necessary to get results. Think about whey protein as the powder form of a chicken breast. Because whey protein is just protein/calories, it will not hamper the weight loss process when consumed moderately.”

        Hope that clearly answers your question!

    20. profile avatar
      Janet Jul 14, 2012 - 02:24 #

      Hi! Is it ok to add espresso instant coffee powder instead of a fruit to my post workout whey shake?
      Also, I very much look forward to a womans section to your BuiltLean Program. Till then I appreciate your down to earth and very well informed approach to strength training and fat loss.

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jul 19, 2012 - 14:53 #

        @Janet – Thanks, Janet. I really don’t have an opinion on instant coffee/espresso because I don’t know much about it. I’ve actually never drank a cup of coffee in my life as crazy as that sounds! I am naturally pretty darn energetic, so that’s probably a good thing. With that said, I don’t see the reason why you would add those caffeine type of foods, other than for taste. Fruit is certainly healthy, especially berries like strawberries, blueberries etc.

    21. profile avatar
      Rick Jul 19, 2012 - 11:16 #

      Hi, I m 43 years old male. I am diabetic for about 15 years now. I play squash 2 times a week (40 min each. I just started weight lifting for 3 to 4 times a week. I do 20 to 30 min weight lifting in morning after my workout I drink protein shake and right after that I eat breakfast usually egg with two slice of wheat bread and cup of tea. since i have to take my morning medication for diabetics. Is it OK to eat breakfast after protein shake. (forgot to mention i want to GAIN weight I am 5.11 and 145lb)

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Jul 19, 2012 - 15:54 #

        @Rick – I wish I could be more helpful, but given you have diabetes, that’s a better question for your doctor. In terms of gaining weight, there are certain universal principles, which include (1) eating more calories that you burn (2) eating 1lb of protein per pound of body fat, and (3) create progressive resistance in your exercise program so the weight you lift increases over time.

    22. profile avatar
      Donald Aug 20, 2012 - 10:10 #

      Mark,

      what would you recommend for someone losing weight. do you need a good post workout meal? I get the message that this article is mainly for someone who is trying to build muscle.

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 23, 2012 - 09:39 #

        @Donald – well I wouldn’t necessarily say this article is geared for someone trying to build muscle. The main point I was trying to make is that it’s about calorie balance and the quality of calories you are eating that matters most for fat loss. In other words, if you don’t use the “window of opportunity” and you are on a fat loss program, the results will not matter that much. Research overhypes the effects with words like “significantly”, but in the end these studies show maybe around 1-2lb more of fat loss over let’s say 12 weeks. Negligible at best! A simple shake post workout, eating a normal meal, or holding off are all viable options. Do what works best with your schedule and helps you keep your calories lower!

    23. profile avatar
      Rhonda Aug 30, 2012 - 06:52 #

      Hi Marc,

      What is the recommendation for pwo meal if you lift weights first, then cardio after? My schedule is usually weights 8-9 a.m. with 1/2 Hiit, 30 mins shower, then to work. I either grab a salad with protein or scrambled eggs/veggies to eat at 11.00. a.m. Should I include a light whey shake after weights before my cardio or can I miss that out and have whole foods at 11.00 a.m.? I am trying to lose fat, while building muscle. I may or may not eat something in the morning pre-wo depending on my appetite. Sometimes, it just almonds and a shot of espresso. Other times, a 1/2 cup oatmeal or a piece of chicken. Sorry for the long winded question.

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Sep 05, 2012 - 14:30 #

        @Rhonda – I don’t think attempting to build muscle and lose fat at the same time is a good idea for reasons I specify in this article => Can You Lose Fat and Build Muscle At The Same Time?. I think a whey protein shake after your workout instead of your whole foods breakfast, or sticking with the whole foods breakfast should be fine either way. Will not make a huge impact either way. From a muscle building perspective, the research shows the whey protein shake is likely ideal because it can help get sucked up by your muscles the fastest.

    24. profile avatar
      Smitha Sep 07, 2012 - 17:24 #

      Marc, thank you for the excellent article!! I am concentrating on weight loss, my workout is mainly half an hour cardio and half an hour weight training. Should I be consuming a post work out mean to enhance my fat loss? If yes what do you think is the best meal for me? Usually I consume a protein shake. Many thanks for your help!

      Smitha

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Sep 12, 2012 - 12:06 #

        @Smitha – A post-workout drink will not help you burn more fat. Most studies that regard post workout drinks relate to muscle building. I do think a post workout drink can be helpful to keep your muscle during a fat loss program. From that perspective, keeping it simple with maybe 20 grams protein and 30-40 grams carbs can do the trick. Stick with whey protein isolates when you can. Finally, consider that you need to include the calories from the post workout shake in your overall calorie intake. Very important.

    25. profile avatar
      Mark Oct 01, 2012 - 21:55 #

      Hey Marc,

      i do alot of running and weight training, is protein shake and 1 cup of oats ok for postwork out?

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Oct 04, 2012 - 15:51 #

        @Mark – That sounds good to me.

    26. profile avatar
      Smitha Oct 03, 2012 - 11:41 #

      @Marc: thank you Marc! I have been trying out you suggestion and have observed a significant fat loss! I have been following all your articles and Its been very helpful.. great job! ๐Ÿ™‚

    27. profile avatar
      James Oct 11, 2012 - 06:11 #

      Hi Marc

      I am an endomorph in a muscle building phase. I wanted to get your thoughts on my PWO shake – USN Muscle Fuel Anabolic, which I have as soon as I get to the locker room.

      I fear it does not have enough ‘fast carbs’, so I actually have a banana PWO too.

      About 1.5 hours after workout when I get home, I have a whole meal – low GI carbs and protein type.

      Also, do you have any particular advice for vegetarians?

      Regards
      James

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Oct 11, 2012 - 19:30 #

        @James – I really don’t have an opinion on supplements I’m not familiar with unfortunately. The challenge with supplements is they are not evaluated by the FDA and most are ineffective, or have side effects. For more, check out our article on dietary supplements.

    28. profile avatar
      James Oct 12, 2012 - 07:18 #

      Good read thanks!

      And any advice for vegeterian muscle building please?

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Oct 18, 2012 - 14:32 #

        @James – not too much, other than to look into supplements that may help you get more protein (and I’m not the biggest fan of supplements generally speaking). I’ve hear Sun Warrior is solid. Also, consider you may be deficient in vitamin B, calcium, and omega 3’s, so those supplements may help as well. Sometimes a vegetarian diet may not provide the vitamins and minerals your body may need. It also varies by the individual.

    29. profile avatar
      lilly Oct 17, 2012 - 19:56 #

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    30. profile avatar
      Angel Oct 18, 2012 - 17:23 #

      Hello Marc,

      I am a college student, a mother also. I am 31 years old, 5.2, 108 lbs. I normally have my breakfast (eggs whites, cheese, some fruit and carbs), then a snack around 10am such as a fruit or some nuts, for lunch some protein and veggies and very little carbs, then I get home around 3 and do some intense work out for about 30 min and right after that I have a protein shake.. (Beverly protein UMP, ice cubes and water), and in about an hour or so I have something for dinner… some grilled chicken/canned tuna/fish and vegetables. What I want is to gain maybe 10 lbs but lean muscle. Does my diet sound good to you? What should I change? Any suggestions for late snacks also?? I normally get hungry again around 9:30!!

      Sorry for the multiple questions

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Oct 19, 2012 - 20:34 #

        @Angel – I’m not a nutritionist, so I don’t make specific nutrition recommendations in terms of building a specific diet plan. I can tell you I would consider tracking your calories for a few days to make sure you are eating enough calories (ideally a good 300-500 more than you burn) along with roughly 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight in combination with lifting heavier and heavier weights over time. I MUST write a muscle building 101 article, so thanks for the reminder!

    31. profile avatar
      Mark Oct 21, 2012 - 21:27 #

      is Waxy Maize waste of money?

      i heard that fruit is no good after a workout some people tell so many different things.

      and also they say OATS is no good becasue it’s a slow carb.

      if your doing sprints and bike riding then a weights is whey shake, 1 APPLE and Honey good postworkout?

      1. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Oct 25, 2012 - 17:15 #

        @mark – It sounds like you are coming across a lot of “they say”. Do what works for your body. A fast digesting carb can be a fruit and fast digesting protein can certainly be most whey protein isolates. Whether or not they have impurities or not for a specific brand is something you should look into. Whey shake + apple and honey sound reasonable, could also consider whey protein and one banana. I’m not familiar with the specific product you mention, so don’t have an opinion on it. Good luck!

    32. profile avatar
      John Aug 10, 2016 - 22:32 #

      “Whole, natural foods are superior for getting a lean, healthy body for a number of reasons ranging from greater satiety to increased thermic effect (food burns calories during digestion whereas shakes do not).”

      Pretty sure this is incorrect. While the TEF might be lower with liquid foods, surely digestion and absorption of ANY food is still energy consuming.

    33. profile avatar
      Nate Nov 20, 2016 - 13:35 #

      Mark I struggle to digest protein shakes.can I consume food suchain as a scrambled eggs and tuna after a session?

      1. profile avatar
        Kristin Nov 21, 2016 - 16:56 #

        That’s a great question, Nate! While we think that protein shakes are totally fine to include in your diet if you want to, you don’t have to have them. In fact, they’re not necessary to either building muscle or losing fat. We think it’s much better to meet your calorie and nutrient goals with whole foods. So – yes. You can absolutely have eggs and tuna after a workout instead.
        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

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