The Post Workout Window

Whether or not to eat after practice has caused many debates. Some people believe that eating thirty minutes after practice benefits your body. Others believe that it’s beneficial to eat up to sixty minutes after, and even some people believe that it’s not necessary to eat at all. Though some teams work out late at night, those swimmers might worry about eating after working out due to the fact that they would be eating right before they go to bed, which can interfere with sleeping patterns. But those who don’t practice at night need to eat after practice because it’s logical that your body needs to be refueled to finish your day.

If you are at practice working out extremely hard, then you are not only depleting glycogen, you are also tearing and ripping the muscles during training. If you want to repair your body and build up muscles, your body needs the fuel so it can recover from your workouts.

Post-workout nutrition has three basic ideas:

  • The body deals with nutrients differently at different times, depending on activity.
  • What you consume before, during, and especially after your workout is important.
  • By consuming particular nutrients after your workouts, you improve your body composition, performance, and overall recovery.

With the basic ideas, post-workout nutrition has three specific purposes:

  • Replenish glycogen
  • Decrease protein breakdown
  • Increase protein synthesis

Protein is the building block of building muscle, and it’s important to get protein after a hard practice. Consuming protein will help repair the muscles that were worked and to build up those muscle. But, as protein is important, so are carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are often over looked, especially if you practice late at night fearing they will work against your goals. But, you need to have carbohydrates after practice because it’s carbohydrates that bring the other nutrients to the muscles. Be sure the carbohydrates are quality and not just processed junk.

Benefits of good post-workout nutrition includes:

  • Improved recovery
  • Less muscle soreness
  • Increased ability to build muscle
  • Improved immune function
  • Improved bone mass
  • Improved ability to utilize body fat

For good post-workout nutrition, consuming both protein and carbohydrates will help you achieve these benefits. But what is the best way to consume both protein and carbohydrates? Here is a quick recipe to help you out:

  • Ingredient:
    • 3 scoops of  whey protein powder (any flavor)
    • 1/8 cup Steel Cut Oats
    • 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk (use less for thicker shake)
    • Couple of ice cubes
  • Directions:
    • Blend into a smoothie

If you do not have steel cut oats to use in your smoothie, just use a small amount of sweet potatoes on the side instead. No matter what, refueling is important and can help you make the most of your practices.


  1. Morelli, Michael, Jr. “Is the “Post Workout Window” for Real?” Morellifit. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.
  2. Andrews, Ryan. “All About Post-Workout Nutrition | Precision Nutrition.” Precision Nutrition. N.p., 11 Jan. 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

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This is a nice summary of basic recovery nutrition. In addition, athletes, especially elite and youth, should remember to try to meet dietary needs with real whole foods. In place of the protein powder in the smoothie above, I would suggest nonfat greek yogurt, milk or soy milk. The USOC, USAS, the American Academy of Pediatrics are all wary of the use of supplements, including protein powders. All of these governing bodies discourage use of supplements among youth and recommend great caution among mature and elite athletes. The supplement industry is highly unregulated – products often contain harmful or questionable fillers and banned substances, and claims to benefits are often not backed by hard science. Bottom line – Eat whole… Read more »

About Emilee White

Emilee White

My name is Emilee White and I grew up in Canyon Lake, California. I began swimming at the age of 13 in age group, but with my background of dance, swimming came naturally to me and I excelled in the sport. I swam all four years on my high school …

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