9 Worst Foods to Eat After a Workout

Avoid this if you want to keep progressing in your fitness journey.

Check out the 9 worst foods to eat after a workout.

When it comes to post-workout nutrition, the choices you make can significantly impact your fitness journey. Consuming the wrong foods after a workout doesn’t just undermine your efforts; it can actively work against your fitness goals. Let’s delve deeper into the repercussions of making poor post-workout dietary decisions.

  1. Stunting Muscle Growth: Eating inadequately after a workout can hinder muscle growth, which is often a primary goal for individuals hitting the gym. The body relies on nutrients to repair and build muscle tissues damaged during exercise. Insufficient or incorrect nutrition may impede this process, slowing down the development of lean muscle mass.
  2. Causing Fat Gain: Post-workout, the body’s metabolism is elevated, making it an opportune time to replenish glycogen stores and support muscle recovery. However, opting for foods high in sugars or unhealthy fats can lead to an excess intake of calories, contributing to fat gain. Contrary to the objective of many fitness enthusiasts, this can counteract the hard work put into burning calories during the workout.
  3. Dehydration: Hydration is crucial for overall health, and this is particularly true after a workout. Consuming the wrong foods, especially those with diuretic properties like alcohol, can exacerbate dehydration. Inadequate hydration impairs the body’s ability to recover, leading to muscle cramps, fatigue, and compromised performance in subsequent workouts.
  4. Myths vs. Reality: The realm of post-workout nutrition is rife with myths and misconceptions. Common recommendations, often passed down through generations or popular culture, may not align with current scientific understanding. Relying on outdated advice can thwart your progress by promoting suboptimal food choices that do not cater to your specific fitness goals.
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With that in mind, we look into the 9 worst foods to eat after a workout, shedding light on the reasons behind each recommendation. By understanding the science behind post-workout nutrition, you can make informed choices that align with your fitness objectives and maximize the benefits of your hard work in the gym.

This list you will see below was first shared by Max Posternak. Max Posternak, the visionary behind Gravity Transformation, is dedicated to providing advice and training tips for those seeking fitness improvement and weight loss. With over 5.5 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, Max has become a go-to source for fitness enthusiasts.

Related: 10 Terrible Things To Do Before a Workout

9 Worst Foods to Eat After a Workout

  1. High Sugar Foods and Drinks:

Consuming high-sugar drinks like Gatorade after a workout may quickly refill glycogen stores, but it can lead to excess calorie intake. Opt for complex carbohydrates found in foods like baked potatoes for a more filling and nutrient-rich option.

  1. Alcohol:

Alcohol, being a diuretic, can lead to dehydration—counterproductive after a workout. It interferes with muscle repair, hinders growth, affects hormone balance, and contributes to fat gain. It also impairs judgment, potentially leading to poor food choices.

  1. Fried Foods and Highly Fatty Foods:

Calorically dense fried foods, pizza, and hot dogs can lead to weight gain. High-fat foods slow down nutrient absorption crucial for recovery. After a workout, focus on nutrient-dense, protein-rich meals to support muscle growth.

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  1. Just Salad or Vegetables:

While salads are healthy, relying solely on them post-workout deprives your body of essential nutrients. Ensure your post-workout meal includes an adequate amount of protein, as amino acids are crucial for muscle recovery, healing, and growth.

  1. Excessive Protein or Energy Bars:

While protein bars can be convenient, consuming them in excess can lead to unnecessary calorie intake. Opt for a whey protein shake for a low-calorie, high-protein alternative to support muscle recovery without excessive calories.

  1. Mass Gainers:

Mass gainers lack nutrient density and often contain artificial additives. Creating your own nutrient-rich shake with whole foods is a better alternative for those aiming to bulk up.

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  1. Nothing at All:

Skipping a post-workout meal, especially one containing protein, can hinder muscle protein synthesis. Aim to consume protein within a couple of hours after your workout to support recovery.

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  1. Anti-Inflammatory Medication:

Avoid using anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil and Tylenol post-workout, as they suppress acute inflammation, which is essential for muscle repair and growth.

  1. Highly Processed Foods:

Chips, crackers, and packaged snacks are calorie-dense but lack essential nutrients. Choose whole, nutrient-dense foods to provide your body with the necessary elements for muscle recovery and overall health.

Steering clear of these 9 worst foods after a workout can help you maximise your efforts in the gym. Focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods that support muscle recovery and contribute to your overall well-being.

For a full explanation from Max Posternak himself, you can choose to watch the video below in its entirety.

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Massages prompt self-myofascial release. A popular method to achieve this is through foam rolling, which might seem to help from empirical evidence but research on the actual benefits of foam rolling is still lacking.

That being said, there are three studies that have shown positive effects of foam rolling on reducing muscle soreness.

Read more: Why Massage Guns Should be in Every Athlete’s Recovery Toolkit

Active recovery

Active recovery can be a good method to reduce muscle soreness. This includes cooldowns and low-intensity exercise.

This is also an under-researched area but there are a handful of studies that have found that active recovery, whether performed directly after exercise or in the days following a workout, can reduce muscle soreness compared to not performing it.

Importantly, use a low-intensity exercise that involves the muscles you’ve worked.


Research is relatively inconclusive when it comes to supplements to recover from a workout and reduce muscle soreness. However, he mentions that the research behind Omega 3 is promising. The supplement seems to improve anabolic signalling which likely increases muscle repair and muscle growth.

Caffeine before a workout seems to also reduce muscle soreness.

Slow increases in training intensity

Slowly increasing the intensity of your workouts is the easiest way to avoid muscle soreness and give you the best chances to properly recover from a workout.

If you’re a beginner, de-trained, or starting a new exercise routine make sure you take a few weeks to ease into your program. Work at volumes and intensities that are lower than you normally would to prevent excessive soreness.

Learn more

Learn what effect stretching has on recovery, what the benefits of cold water are and how to improve your physical health.

Source: California Performance Co

Having a pre-workout snack can offer several positive benefits to enhance your exercise performance and overall fitness experience. First and foremost, a well-timed snack provides your body with a readily available source of energy. Carbohydrates in your pre-workout snack are particularly crucial as they are the body’s preferred and efficient fuel source. Consuming carbohydrates before exercising helps replenish glycogen stores in your muscles, providing the energy needed for sustained physical exertion.

Secondly, pre-workout foods can contribute to improved focus and mental clarity during your exercise session. Nutrient-rich snacks that include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats can help stabilize blood sugar levels. This steadiness in blood sugar prevents energy crashes and helps maintain mental alertness throughout your workout. When your brain has a stable supply of glucose from the pre-workout snack, you’re better equipped to stay focused, make sound decisions during your routine, and push through challenging exercises with greater efficiency.

Additionally, having a pre-workout snack aids in muscle preservation and recovery. Including protein in your snack helps prevent muscle breakdown during exercise, especially in situations where there’s an extended gap between meals. The protein component supports muscle repair and growth, ensuring that your body is in an optimal state for recovery post-workout. Overall, a thoughtfully chosen pre-workout snack acts as a fuel reservoir, enhances mental acuity, and supports muscle integrity, contributing to a more effective and satisfying exercise session.

So how about you check out our article about the 6 Best Foods to Eat Before a Workout.

Or better yet, check out how Jeff Nippard, a respected fitness coach and natural bodybuilder, eats before, during, and after his workout.

Read More: 8 Signs You Are Overtraining Without Knowing It

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