10 tips on what to eat after training when you exercise before bedtime

10 tips on what to eat after training when you exercise before bedtime

If you are used to exercise in the evening just before going to bed, you may have two questions you may worry about. The first is whether bedtime training is harmful? The second question is what can you eat if you exercise at evening time? We will reply to both of them in this article.

Exercise before bedtime – yes or no?

Training in the evening hours can increase heart rate as well as internal body temperature. This can cause sleep problems because hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are stimulated in your body. In the past, therefore, bedtime exercise was considered harmful and generally not recommended. But the new study says the opposite. Research has confirmed that people who exercise 35 minutes before going to sleep are sleeping as good as during the days when they did not practice in the evening. [16]

The key to quality sleep is regularity. This was confirmed by the National Sleep Foundation, which found that 83% of people who exercise regularly, no matter when, have better sleep than people who do not exercise. [17] It follows from the above that each of us is unique and therefore needs to be adapted to the needs of your body. In case you have difficulty sleeping, we recommend that you exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime. If you prefer late exercise, it is all right and can bring you many benefits.

Afternoon and evening training is the best time to build strength. Your body temperature rises to the highest rows from 4 PM to 6 PM. The study confirmed that as body temperature rises, muscle strength also increases. [18] Another research came up with the claim that increased exercise-induced testosterone production is the greatest in late afternoon and evening hours. [19]

Exercise before bedtime will also relax you after a busy day and relieve stress. However, it is not necessary to forget about the right diet, even before going to bed, so that you do not wake up at night with a growling empty stomach. If you want to know what food is best for you after your workout in the evening before going to bed, just read the following lines.

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What can you eat after an evening workout?

First and foremost, we must emphasize that eating after training is really important and you should not avoid it even when you exercise in the evening. In order to understand how a proper diet can help you improve the effect of exercise, it is important to first understand what is happening to the body after the physical activity ends. Indeed, during exercise, muscles use glycogen reserves as a source of energy. This results in depletion of muscle glycogen. At the same time, some of the proteins in the muscles that need to be regenerated are being broken down and damaged during training. [1] [2]   

What can you eat after an evening workout?

Therefore, after training, the body needs to replenish glycogen reserves and repair and build muscle proteins. Just adding the right nutrients helps the body regenerate more quickly and efficiently. The after-training meal should therefore consist of proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates. [19]

All of these macronutrients, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are involved in post-training regeneration. Proteins promote muscle recovery and build. Consuming adequate amounts of protein will give your body the amino acids needed to repair broken proteins and also build new muscle tissue. [12] Protein powder, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, salmon, chicken breast, protein bar or tuna can serve as a protein source. [3] 

The amount of carbohydrate is influenced by what kind of sports you are doing. For example, endurance sports exhaust more glycogen from the body than resistance training. If you’re a runner, cyclist or swimmer, you’ll need more carbohydrates than a bodybuilder. However, it is important to add carbohydrates to your body along with proteins, as this combination is best researched for fast glycogen synthesis. [13] [14] We recommend sweet potatoes, quinoa, fruit, rice, oatmeal, wholegrain pasta and dark green leafy vegetables as a suitable source of carbohydrates. [3] 

Healthy fats offer avocados, nuts and seeds, nut butter or a mix of nuts and dried fruits. You don’t have to worry because studies have confirmed that fats have no negative impact on glycogen formation or muscle growth after training. On the contrary, they promote muscle regeneration and immunity. [15]

Remember, food is fuel for your body. So once and for all, get rid of the idea that you will gain fat because of eating before going to bed. If you eat healthy food and do not cram with ice cream at night, you can eat without reproach before bedtime. So, what can you eat before going to bed?

10 tips on what to eat after training if you exercise before bedtime

10 tips on what to eat after training if you exercise before bedtime

If you know you will go to sleep in an hour after training, you should not choose a large portion of food as you normally do after training during the day. This may cause you flatulency or feelings of heavy stomach while sleeping. Instead, prepare a quick, easy-to-digest protein, healthy fat and carbohydrate snack. You will support the hard work you have done in the gym and make your results more effective. [3] [4] Be inspired by the following food combinations and you won’t have to stand ten minutes in front of the refrigerator to choose.

1. Banana with peanut butter

Try to eat a banana together with one or two tablespoons of peanut butter. However, make sure you consume 100% peanut butter or peanut butter with protein and not sweet nut spreads full of simple carbohydrates. Use peanut butter to add healthy fats and essential proteins to your body. Banana is an excellent source of carbohydrates and minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, which you eliminated in the form of sweat during training [5]

Banana with peanut buttter - Fitness recipes

2. Baked batatas with egg

It will take a while to bake the batatas (sweet potatoes), but it is worth it. Batatas and eggs are the perfect combination if you are looking for a high biological snack. This value determines how many grams of your protein your body can produce from a supplemented food. [5]

Eggs are commonly considered as an excellent source of protein even for night-time eating. You can prepare them in many different ways, such as dropped eggs, fried egg or scrambled eggs.   

Baked batatas with egg, fitness recipes

3. Greek yogurt with forest fruits

Greek yogurt has a high protein content with minimal fat and forest fruits such as raspberries, strawberries or blueberries, whether in frozen or fresh form, contain only a few calories and carbohydrates, but many antioxidants. If you’re hungry after training, try this combination. [5]

Greek yogurt with forest fruits, fitness recipes, fitness meal

4. Cottage cheese with vegetables

White cottage cheese contains many proteins, but also leucine. This amino acid promotes protein synthesis after exercise. Cottage cheese can be enriched with chopped carrot or cucumber and the protein snack before bedtime is ready. [5]   

Cottage cheese with vegetables, fitness recipes

5. Quinoa salad

Quinoa is one of the best vegan protein sources. 100 g quinoa contains about 15 g protein. To increase the amount of protein in your diet, mix it with beans and peas. Add your favourite vegetables for a more delicious taste.     

Quinoa salad, healthy food

6. Protein drink

Protein drink is always a good choice. Mix the scoop of whey protein or casein with water or milk. You can also add a teaspoon of nut butter, cinnamon or cocoa to bring healthy fats and proteins. In addition, this protein delicacy tastes as good as a milkshake. Yum! [6]   

7. Avocado and scrambled eggs

Egg whites are an excellent source of protein, and egg yolks give you essential fatty acids. Avocado contains potassium, magnesium and several vitamins, so it is a good choice to eat at bedtime. [7]

Avocado and scrambled eggs

8. Quality protein bar

The protein bar should have a high protein content but at the same time should be low in carbohydrates. You can also enjoy this delicacy after an evening workout.  [9]

Quality protein bar, protein, fitness food

9. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are also ideal food after training. Sprinkle a mix of nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds into the half mug and you can start your night-time eating. [10]  

Nuts and seeds, fitness meal, fitness

10. Salmon with spinach

Mix canned or roasted salmon with a handful of baby spinach and a spoon of olive oil and have a quick and easy snack before going to bed. In addition, you complement antioxidants, vitamin B12 and D, but also omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. [10]

You should not forget about the drinking regime and replenish enough fluids after training. When you’re hydrated, you can ensure the optimal indoor environment for your body to maximize your workout results. That is because during the exercise you lose the amount of water and electrolytes through sweat. Depending on the intensity of your workout, you should drink plenty of water or an ionic drink. [11] 

Salmon with spinach, fitness meal, fitness recipes

We believe that we have answered the two most common questions about training in the late evening. You should remember that evening training will not hurt you, but still, listen to your body. After training, prepare yourself a light snack full of proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats and never go to bed with an empty stomach.

When do you get used to practicing? Are you rather an early bird or a night owl? What do you get used to eating at bedtime? Write us your answers in the comments and if you were interested by this article, support it by sharing. 


[1] Kerksick C, Harvey T, Stout J, Campbell B, Willborn C, Kreider R, Kalman D, Ziegenfuss T, Lopez H, Landis J, Ivy JL, Antonio J - International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18834505

[2] Pitkanen HT, Nykanen T, Knuutinen J, Lahti K, Keinanen O, Alen M, Komi PV, Mero AA - Free amino acid pool and muscle protein balance after resistance exercise. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12750588

[3] Cynnthia Sass - What to eat after a late-night workout? – https://www.health.com/nutrition/night-workout-nutrition

[4] Dominique Michelle Astorino - Squeezing in a late night workout? A nutritionist shares exactly what to eat after – https://www.popsugar.co.uk/fitness/Should-I-Eat-After-Late-Night-Workout-44658887/

[5] Julia Denner - Slim down with these 8 delicious post-workout snacks – https://www.runtastic.com/blog/en/slim-down-with-these-8-post-workout-snacks/

[6] Why you should eat before bed (+ 10 healthy bedtime snack ideas) – https://www.12minuteathlete.com/bedtime-snack-ideas/

[7] Brad Borland - What to eat before bed to build muscle overnight – https://breakingmuscle.com/healthy-eating/what-to-eat-before-bed-to-build-muscle-overnight

[8] Ginny Grabowski - Late night workout: What to eat afterwards? – http://www.alaskafit.com/late-night-workout-what-to-eat-afterwards/

[9] 4 great post workout foods for the late night lifter – https://generationiron.com/4-great-post-workout-foods-for-the-late-night-lifter/4/

[10] Cynthia Sass - What to eat after a late night workout? – https://www.health.com/nutrition/night-workout-nutrition

[11] American College of Sports Medicine, Sawka MN, Burke LM, Eichner ER, Maughan RJ, Montain SJ, Stachenfeld NS - American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17277604

[12] Kersick C, Harvey T, Stout J, Campbell B, Willborn C Kreider R, Kalman D, Ziegenfuss, Lopez H, Landis J, Ivy JL, Antonio J - International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18834505

[13] Poole C, Willborn C, Taylor L, Kerksick C -The role of post-exercise nutrient administration on muscle protein synthesis and glycogen synthesis. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24149627

[14] Ivy JL - Glycogen resynthesis after exercise: effect of carbohydrate intake. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9694422/

[15] Fox AK, Kaufman AE, Horowitz JF - Adding fat calories to meals after exercise does not alter glucose tolerance. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14978010

[16] Myllymaki T, Kyolainen H, Savolainen K, Hokka L, Jakonen R, Juuti T, Matinmaki K, Kaartinen J, Kinnunen ML, Rusko H - Effects of vigorous late-night exercise on sleep quality and cardiac autonomic activity. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20673290

[17] Kirsten Dold - Is working out before bed a bad idea? – https://www.openfit.com/is-working-out-before-bed-a-bad-idea

[18] Racinais S - Different effects of heat exposure upon exercise performance in the morning and afternoon. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21029194

[19] Hayes LD, Bickerstaff GF, Baker JS - Interactions of cortisol, testosterone, and resistance training: influence of circadian rhythms. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20560706

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