Regardless of your workout length and intensity, your muscles need hydration and fuel to recover.  The good news for the “everyday exerciser” (meaning you workout for an hour or so three or four times a week) is that you don’t have to stress much about post-exercise fuel.  Your regular diet will typically provide enough nutrients to refuel your muscles and repair muscle damage.

If you are doing lengthy and intense workouts, aim to eat within 45 minutes after exercise.  Eating within this time frame will ensure the best opportunity for refueling.  To accomplish this, you want to pair complex carbohydrates with protein. Here are 5 great options that combine both important food groups:

  • low-fat chocolate milk
  • turkey or lean roast beef sandwich
  • fruit and low-fat cottage cheese
  • smoothie made with fruit and non-fat yogurt or milk
  • banana and peanut or almond butter

It is also critical that you drink enough to replace any water lost through sweating. To determine how much weight you typically lose during exercise, weigh yourself before and afterwards.  If you are hydrating well during exercise, the difference between your pre and post-workout weights will be minimal. Plain water is usually adequate for re-hydration, as post-exercise snacks and meals contain all of the electrolytes and minerals the body needs. If you sweat a ton during your workout, which means you lost electrolytes like potassium try adding potassium-rich foods to your post-workout snacks, like yogurt, banana, orange juice, or raisins.


Written by Shana Maleeff, MA, RD, CDN. Shana is a Rise Coach and Registered Dietitian, living and loving life in New York City. Shana loves working. She also teaches group fitness classes. Want to work with Shana or another Rise coach like her? Get started at