Is it really necessary to eat post workout?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 15, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Hi everyone, I am new here- have been eating paleo for several months now but somehow missed this awesome site. So, I am hoping to get some advice and looking forward to participating in the community.

I'm currently eating low carb strict paleo. Not doing it for the sake of being hardcore, this is the only way I found to keep my emotional binging in check and hopefully get down to a normal bf%. I eat whenever I'm hungry, ending up with random fasts most days of the week.

The thing is, I am almost never hungry for several hours after working out regardless if it was fasted or after breakfast. For example, today I had coffee with a spoon of coconut oil at 7:30 (about 12 hours since last meal), did a 40 min intense-ish bodyweight only workout at 8. I'm not anywhere near hungry at 11 am and will probably eat in 2-3 hours.

There is so much info out there on postworkout nutrition and how IF is bad for women, and I'm wondering- am I hampering my progress or even harming my body by doing this? Any advice would be appreciated!!!



on October 15, 2012
at 07:10 PM

it's actually not so cut and dry



on October 15, 2012
at 06:37 PM

I wonder the same thing.. I'm not hungry for a while after a workout, wether it be crossfit or strength training. I've always had a feeling that it doesnt matter... My glycogen stores will get replenished one way or another... right?

  • E472dc440b385e3a7f478f2aa245f37c

    asked by

  • Views
  • Last Activity
    1409D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

11 Answers



on October 15, 2012
at 07:23 PM

You don't have to eat right after a workout. There is even some suggestion that holding off is helpful for most people (most people not being athletes). After working out, growth hormone begins to rise. It takes about an hour for it to peak, unless you eat, in which case it'll stop almost immediately. So, all those folks lifting weights and then eating right after the workout might just be stunting their growth response to it.

I hear this from Art De Vany years ago. I don't know if this is the interview in which he mentions it, but here's a link: llvlc211-arthur-devany.mp3

I suspect that, if you are eating enough calories to support your output, you will be just fine.



on October 15, 2012
at 07:16 PM

If you feel good and are making the gains you want, then there's no need to change. Lots of the PWO fueling is geared towards trying to make performance gains at the cost of other things. (For example, I don't run as lean as other people because I do PWO carb loading for performance reasons).

It also matters what you're doing. If you're on a heavy glycolytic program then some PWO carbs would be good just to replenish what you burnt off. This would be the crossfitesque style of working out.

Low rep, heavy weight workout probably doesn't need as much PWO carbs, but make sure you're eating enough in total to repair the muscles from the hard work.

Long slow "cardio" doesn't need any carb, you'll make up enough from gluconeogenesis and you should be burning more fat through beta-oxidation so that PWO carbs won't help much anyway.

Generally, you need to tweak your PWO fueling based on how you worked out and what your goals are. If you're doing fine, then nothing to worry about.


on October 15, 2012
at 07:27 PM

I don't eat PWO, but I do take BCAAs during the morning per Leangains when fasting for a few hours after (See link below). This works best for me. I am at the gym at 5am and not hungry afterwards, but it's hard for me to IF after work and at night, so the 12-8pm works well for me.



on October 15, 2012
at 07:12 PM

Yes I eat to reduce cortisol


on October 16, 2012
at 01:29 AM

There may be some reasons to eat, and some not to eat, but it's all mucking around on the margins. For a normal person without intense athletic goals, just do what feels right. If you begin to feel exhausted after mild workouts or something, you'll know to switch things around. Otherwise, relax and enjoy. If in a year you decide you need to triple your squat and deadlift, then you might start digging around for a protocol that will help you do that. If you're like me, though, and content to exercise and be healthy, then you'll eat after exercising when you feel like it and not eat after exercising when you feel like it.



on October 15, 2012
at 09:16 PM

Johnny at The Simple Saloon doesn't think so.

I agree with him. It never made any sense to me, physiologically.




on October 15, 2012
at 08:54 PM

The most important thing is that SOMETIME post workout you take in enough protein to rebuild/build muscle. At the end of the day if you hit your protein goals you should be fine.

That being said you can help the process, and of course, optimize it, by eating carbs post workout OR highly insulinogenic protein to help inhibit protein breakdown and help promote protein synthesis.



on October 15, 2012
at 07:19 PM

Depends on who you ask, but a lot of experts say that you should have a high-protein meal within an hour of finishing your workout to enhance protein synthesis. This is apparently especially true if you're a hardgainer--some experts even suggest a specific protein intake profile during the workout. Here are some MDA articles:


on October 15, 2012
at 06:51 PM

The Post work out meal is mostly relevant if you train with weights or do intense cardio (Interval etc). Training in a fasted state further increases value of post work out meal. If one follows a strict LC regimen, the training will burn more fat and less carbs and the meal will have less influence on recovery. All in all I don't think that post work out feeding is important in your case, so continue with whatever feels best for you.


on October 15, 2012
at 06:45 PM

I experience the same thing. I instruct Pilates and Zumba classes, and most days I have 1 to 4 Pilates classes, then a Zumba class afterward. So, often, I eat between 1 and 3 and then not again until the next morning. However, Pilates is not exactly strength training in the same sense as weight lifting. And I finish up with intense cardio. I'm also trying super low carb right now to try and curb the sugar cravings/binges (as well as supplementing with magnesium).



on October 15, 2012
at 06:34 PM

What workout do you go through?

If it's strength training, you're hampering progress. Carbs around the workout with protein, it's simple :)



on October 15, 2012
at 07:10 PM

it's actually not so cut and dry

Answer Question

Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!