It’s rather confusing to know what to eat before and after a workout no matter what time of day it is. This confusion can double when it comes to eating after a late workout.
As a personal trainer, I get asked all the time about what to eat after a late workout. Sometimes we can’t get our workout done early in the morning, or we simply enjoy sweating it out after a long, stressful day. But what are you supposed to do afterward? Go to bed and skip a meal entirely? Or nosh away because you “earned it”?
I’ve gathered some helpful tips from expert nutritionists on what to eat after a late workout:
- Don’t skip eating: There is nothing in your body that turns calories into “double calories” or will magically make you gain weight if you eat late at night. The goal is to watch your overall intake and make sure you’re burning off what you’re putting in your body. Weight gain typically occurs because there’s a surplus of calories, not because you ate late at night. Your body needs to repair after a late workout so you can recover and get up the next day refreshed!
- Eat as soon as possible: It’s usually a good idea to eat as soon as possible after a late workout so you aren’t going to bed with a full stomach and unused calories. Let digestion and the recovery process begin right after your training if possible to ensure that you have at least an hour before bedtime without eating.
- Pick a wholesome meal: If it’s really late at night after a workout, you can slim down the meal so you don’t disrupt your sleep. But shoot for a meal that has a good source of lean protein and complex carbohydrates to optimize muscle repair and refuel glycogen stores. If you’re watching your weight, you can keep this meal on the smaller side. And while healthy sources of fat are great before bed to minimize temptations and keep you fuller, it can slow down the absorption of nutrients post-workout.