Guy listening to music during night workout

What to Eat After a Workout at Night

 April 19, 2024|  Aya Chawa

Keeping an eye on your nutrition and how you’re fuelling your body before, during, and after exercise is crucial. Whether you prefer to work out at night or in the morning, you need to ensure that you’re consuming enough energy to fully benefit from your workouts and achieve the strength and endurance that you hope to gain.

What should I eat after a night cardio workout?

Man doing cardio workout at night

In general, our bodies are either in an anabolic (growth) or catabolic (wasting) state. To grow muscle mass, we must consume more calories than we burn per day (surplus), and to lose weight, we must intake fewer calories than we burn per day (deficit).

After a night cardio workout, it is important to refuel with a meal that helps you recover and rehydrate.  

Aim for a mix of:

  1. Complex carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores and prepare for your future workouts.
  2. Lean protein to repair damaged muscle tissue.
  3. Fluids & electrolytes for hydration. 

What foods to eat after a cardio workout at night

Brown rice with grilled chicken breast and veggies, whole grain tuna wrap with veggies, or a blend of your favourite fruits with a scoop of protein powder for a refreshing protein smoothie.

What should I eat after weight training at night?

Woman weight training

The goal of weightlifting is muscle development and strength, so you want to keep your body in an anabolic state that is conducive to muscle hypertrophy and growth. 

After weight training at night, your focus should be repairing the muscle tears sustained during exercise and replenishing glycogen stores. Prioritise protein to aid in muscle synthesis in a well-balanced meal with complex carbs to replenish those glycogen stores in the muscle tissue.

Aim for 25-40g of protein with 100-150g of complex carbs and some veggies (adjust up or down based on individual progress and needs). 

What foods to eat after a weight training workout at night

Grilled salmon with sweet potato and steamed vegetables, 2 cups of Greek yoghurt with a teaspoon of peanut butter and a handful of mixed berries, or turkey and veggies in whole grain bread. 

When Should I Eat After a Workout at Night

Having a quick snack right after your night workout can help take the edge off your hunger and give you time to cool off, shower, change and eat your full meal.

After resistance training, there is an increase in muscle protein synthesis (building) which is why your post-exercise meal is important. 0-2 hours (your recovery window) after your night workout, aim to eat enough protein paired with complex carbs to maximise muscle strength and size.

Is it okay to not eat after I work out at night?

Woman sleeping without eating after a workout

Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle mass, it is always important to consume enough calories, protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats throughout your day.

It is not simply a matter of eating something right before or right after your workout. Your overall diet should be composed of nutrient-dense whole foods as everything you eat will influence your recovery, fuelling and performance during workouts. Listen to your body and fuel it with proper food when you are hungry.

Night Workouts Vs Morning Workouts

Man stretching before a night workout

Night workouts and morning workouts can have different effects on your body due to variations in body functions like hormone levels, circadian rhythms, and metabolism. 

  1. Hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day impacting factors like energy, fat metabolism, and muscle growth. For example, cortisol levels are lower at night which reduces the risk of muscle breakdown. 
  2. Circadian rhythm, or your body’s internal clock also influences various physiological processes. Some people find that evening workouts help them unwind and have a good night’s sleep. 
  3. Metabolism tends to be slightly higher in the evening compared to early morning hours, which means that your body may have more readily available energy potentially leading to better performance. 

How Long Should I Wait After Food to Work Out?

When and what you eat before exercise will impact how you feel during your workout. Consuming carbohydrates pre-workout can help you do better and may allow you to work out for a longer time or at a higher intensity. 

  • You can have a small snack right before and during exercise if you plan on working out for more than 60-90 minutes. A good option would be a carb-rich food or drink like an energy bar or a smoothie. 
  • If you plan to exercise within an hour eat a light meal or have a sports drink. Good choices include a banana with a teaspoon of peanut butter or whole-grain bread with low-fat cheese.
  • Any larger meals should be consumed 3 to 4 hours prior to your workout to have enough time to digest and not upset your stomach during exercise.

The best meal to eat after a workout at night

The best meal is always a balanced one that includes lean protein such as chicken, turkey, and fish which provide adequate protein and heart-healthy fats which are low in saturated fat. Include complex carbohydrates and vegetables in portions depending on your unique dietary needs and fitness goals and ensure these are eaten post-exercise with proper hydration.

While guidelines are helpful, individual responses to exercise and nutritional needs vary. Some may feel hungry immediately after a workout, while others may not have an appetite. Pay attention to how your body responds and adjust your meal timing and quantity accordingly.




 April 19, 2024 | Aya Chawa
Aya Chawa

About the Author

Aya joined Kcal in 2021, where she has been dedicatedly assisting Clients in optimising their performance through proper nutrition. As a certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Fitness Coach, she understands the importance of an active lifestyle in conjunction with a balanced and nutritious diet, both crucial for weight management and disease prevention. Aya obtained her bachelor’s degree in nutrition & Dietetics from Lebanese American University in Beirut, where she also minored in Food Science. During her academic journey, her passion for nutrition led her to work as a dietetic intern in Beirut. She firmly believes in the power of a holistic approach when it comes to wellness. By addressing the individual needs of each client, she tailors meal plans that not only enhance performance but also promote overall health and well-being.

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