More Bad News for Having a Post-Workout Meal


I know many of you gym rats swear by these concepts and love to trash me when I argue against them, but the evidence is piling up against eating right after you work out…..sorry.

It all comes down to electrons. Electrons are what are used and moved through the process of taking food (glucose and fat) and making energy that we use to run every aspect of our cells, body, and life.

When we work out, we ramp up the demand for electrons to make the energy needed to pump our blood, contract our muscles, focus, breathe, sweat, detoxify…..and much more.

During this process, our body switches from sending nutrients (food) from our gut to the body and pulls the nutrients (food) it needs from its stores of sugar (glucose from glycogen in the muscle and liver) and fat (in the form of fatty acids from mainly body fat but could be from the muscle and organs like the liver as well in less metabolically fit people). And all is fine and dandy.

Now, when you stop working out, your demand for energy drops greatly, and the reserves continue to fuel the body. Cool.

If you eat soon after, especially a large meal with fast-absorbing sugars, proteins (branch chain mains and protein powder), fats…..or any combination of these, your body flows a new supply of raw materials into the system. 

So, the supply is up, but the demand is down.

As the body continues to make energy and use or store these nutrients, the cells fill up and can overflow with the electrons used in the process.

These electrons can and usually will seep out of the cells’ energy centers (mitochondria) and form free radicals. 

These free radicals can build up greatly and start to play havoc on our energy centers (mitochondria) first, then attack the other parts inside the cell and itself.

You are producing excess oxidative stress, inflammation, and AGEs, which all contribute to accelerated aging and chronic diseases…….Yuck!

So what do I do after I work out?

Relax. Wait. Eat a normal whole-food meal that is higher in good fat, moderate protein, and low in carbs later, at the normal meal time, with no rush…..(insulin and mTOR-friendly diet)

If you must eat right after, follow the same guideline as the meal above, just 1/3 of the size but then go for a nice slow walk for a while right after…..that is if you must.

We are learning more every day, my friends! 

We can do better!

Dr. Don