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What not to eat after a workout

What not to eat after a workout

We know what to eat after a workout, but what should we avoid eating? After an hour or so sweating it out in the gym, the cool-down will probably leave you with that ‘time for a little something’ feeling. The human body is very efficient at using calories, so it is all too easy to undo the good work of your exercise.

Quick snacks abound in vending machines and cafes. Unfortunately most are just what you don’t want to be eating after a workout. Don't be fooled into thinking that just because you've done a workout you can pig out on junk.

Here are the top five post-workout villains, and some ideas for healthier replacements. The last one might surprise you!


A quick sugar fix from the vending machine will give you an energy boost. This will shortly be followed by an energy crash, as those simple sugars get processed very rapidly by a hungry body. There are very few nutrients in sweets or chocolate for the calories ingested. Swap for a banana or some other fruit.


Pepperoni, double cheese, perhaps even stuffed crust? Delicious, but loaded with bad fats and empty calories. Change to the lighter pastas and non-creamy sauces, or go for a traditional thin base pizza with vegetable and tomato-based sauce.


Those energy drinks are sold on the basis that they are just what is needed after a workout. Most of them contain far too much sugar and very little else. Your main rehydrator is water, with some food to add nutrients.


Unless you are hiking the Grand Canyon or windsurfing in the Mediterranean, you probably aren’t that salt-deficient and don’t need to load up on crisps. Most of the commercial salty snacks just give you fat and air, with little nutrition. Swap for a sandwich or wrap with a light savoury filling.


Surprised at this entry on the list? Raw veg and salad contain lots of nutrients, but they are too low in calories to satisfy after a tough workout. Add some carbs (bread or pasta) and some protein with hummus, nut or seed paste or egg.

Plan ahead with some good snacks in your bag. That way you won’t undo the results of your trip to the gym.


the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.