How to Refuel After a Workout

Whether you are running a marathon, doing strength training, doing some light cardio or just playing outside with your kids - refueling after movement is highly important. There are three things you want to keep in mind when you hear the word "refuel". Fluids, carbohydrates and protein.

  1. Fluids
    1. Water
      1. Your body uses water in all it's cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate it's temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Due to your body losing water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it is important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.
    2. Electrolytes
      1. Electrolytes are chemicals that form electrically charged particles (ions) in body fluids. These ions carry the electrical energy necessary for many functions, including muscle contractions and transmission of nerve impulses.
      2. Key electrolytes for the body include:
        1. Sodium
        2. Potassium
        3. Calcium
        4. Magnesium
        5. Phosphorous
        6. Chloride
      3. Examples of electrolytes:
        1. Milk, cheese, yogurt, coconut water, beans, pickles, olives, avocados, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms & SO many more!
  2. Carbohydrates
    1. Carbohydrates (carbs) have to do with energy. Your body uses foods to make glucose, which is your body's main energy source. Glucose is a type of sugar that can be used right away fro energy or stored away to be used for later.
      1. Examples of carbs:
        1. Milk, yogurt, cheese, fruits, grains, legumes, vegetables.
  3. Protein
    1. Protein is a macronutrients that is essential to building muscle mass. It is commonly found in animal products, nuts and legumes. Chemically, protein is composed of amino acids, which are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and protein are the building blocks of muscle mass.
      1. Examples of protein:
        1. Poultry, meat, seafood, beans, peas, eggs, nuts and seeds.

When thinking about a meal to consume post exercise to "refuel", there are many food choices in which you could have fluids, carbs & protein all in one. An example of a food that has all three of these would be yogurt. You would be getting electrolytes, carbs, as well as some protein when consuming yogurt. Being mindful of what you are consuming before, during and after a workout is so important in order to keep your body functioning at it's optimal levels. Next time you finish exercising, ask yourself "how can I properly refuel my body so I have maximum energy today?". Without proper refuel, it is extremely difficult for your body to function at 100%.



- Nicolette Calimopulos, BSN, NASM-CPT,YES


Susan Sehlmeyer