Fitness Tip of the Day: Don't Force Feed

Is the idea that you must eat after a workout a myth?

Don’t buy into the idea that you must eat 20 to 60 minutes after a workout. In almost every study or experiment that’s investigated post-workout nutrition, subjects were given food after finishing exercise that had been performed in a fasted or semi-starved state. And that’s now how real people exercise! If you’ve had a pre-workout meal (or any recent meal), don’t’ feel compelled to eat right away—especially if you’re still “burping up” food and aren’t planning on another sweat session that day.

The exceptions: If you’re working out early morning (sans breakfast) or are planning to exercise again within 8 hours, grab a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein (think: a banana smoothie with a scoop of protein powder), and you’re good to go.  

—Ben Greenfield is an Ironman, coach, writer and triathlete who focuses on nutrition and physiology of endurance and multi-sport athletes. He was recognized as Personal Trainer of the Year in 2008 by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a member of Team Timex Multisport. Check out his eBook, Endurance Planet’s Guide To Sports Nutrition with Ben Greenfield: 20 Fueling Myths Exposed, and his website,   

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