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when is the best fit for a meal between an evening workout and bedtime?

Due to my schedule, all of my workouts occur in the early evening after work, alternating days of weights and cardio. Typically I am finished by 7:30 p.m. and have a protein shake when I get home. Where is the best time fit for dinner between the workout and bedtime? I don't want to loose any benefits of working out by eating to soon afterwards or to close to bedtime.

6 answers

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This is a great question and a topic that has a huge misunderstanding.

Getting your recovery shake immediately after your last rep is required to help the recovery process, help prevent further muscle breakdown, and refill your glycogen (in muscle) and glucose (in blood) stores. Then give yourself about an hour to an hour and a half to digest that before your real food dinner. This meal should contain a significant amount of your daily carbs. This doesn't mean having 5 plates of spaghetti though. It just means that if you budget 125g of carbs/day, you should probably take it about half of them in this meal.

Post workout (read = "weight training" or "HIIT"...I don't consider steady state cardio a workout) dinners are fine no matter what time you're going to bed. There is a myth out there that you shouldn't eat within 3 or 4 hours of bedtime. You can eat without guilt or adding belly fat after your workout, since your body will be using these calories to recover from your workout, even if you are going to bed soon after dinner.

Ryan Chambers 6.6k
7 years ago

Hi Allen,

I agree with Ryan regarding the reasons for taking in a "recovery" shake, but you mentioned a "protein" shake. Are you including carbohydrate? And please tell me you're budgeting more than 125 grams of carb per day? That would be incredibly low, especially since the RDA for proper brain function is 130 gms per day...

@ Ryan

Steady-state cardio is not a workout? Seriously?
I gotta throw out my favorite phrase from ESPN during the NFL season...C'MON MAN!!! Happy

We all know HIIT burns calories and fat efficiently, but implying that long bike rides or 60 minute runs are not workouts is just plain wrong, in my humble opinion. Remember, people exercise for a wide variety of's not always about intensity and the greatest calorie burn in the shortest amount of time, though I realize a lot of people want to lose weight. Sometimes people just want to get outside and go...



Brian Zehetner 36k
7 years ago

Thanks for responding guys. It's all still new to me as this is the first time having any kind of exercise/nutrition 'program'. I'm really glad to see the resources growing on Anytime Health.

The shake I am currently using is the Myoplex Lite. It does contain both the protein(20g) and carbs(24g). I am only having the one shake a day after my workout. Is any of the AH products comparable to this one for my goals?

My goals for now are to reduce my body fat percentage and tone. I'm not striving to increase mass at this time but will later to some degree.

@ Brian

I'm definitely getting more than 125g Carbs per day. However the majority of the carbs aren't in my post workout meal in the evenings as suggested by Ryan. I'm working my way through the AH Nutrition section for information on proper diet. I love all foods, so diet is my biggest my struggle.

@ Ryan
Thanks for your response, I definitely am more comfortable about having a meal late in the evening. You've given me direction as I get my diet reeled back in properly.

7 years ago

How much do you weigh Allen? My PWO shake for cutting body fat has 29g of protein and 70g of carbs. I make it myself from Protein powder and believe it or not...table sugar! I then eat a solid food meal an hour later with the same ratio 29P/70C and sleep a couple of hours later. I also eat one apple or piece of fruit 1/2 hour before I hit the gym. That's all the carbs I allot myself for the day when dieting other than fibrous green veggies and other veggies which I don't count.

I weigh 165 lbs and it works great for me, I burn body fat super quickly and build muscle at the same time. I posted my results here: Can-you-recommend-a-diet-and-some-exercises-for-quick-weight-loss

revanpicard 152
7 years ago

Short answer would be lean protein and clean carbs in a 1:2 ratio P:C

revanpicard 152
7 years ago

Brian, I didn't mean that steady state isn't exercise, I just don't call it a "workout". To me, a "workout" is intense. I eat differently after a workout than I do going for a walk. Happy

Ryan Chambers 6.6k
7 years ago

add your answer!

ALLENBAILEY member since Mar '10


MemberCartersville, GA
5/20/2010 at 6:55 PM