This question differs a little from others which I found here!

Basically I need to gain weight, both general weight and muscles.

What should I eat just after finishing my workout? Is it okay to eat carbohydrates first, to bring a big amount of calories, and eat some proteins later (let's say a couple of hours later)?

Can I gain both general and muscular weight by doing this?


5 Answers 5


Let's make this clear and net.

First of all you can also avoid eating just after a workout if you're not hungry ( it's relly common ); just wait an hour or two maybe and then eat, unless you have a second workout later on the same day.

Your body is actually using the energy from pervious meals to replenish what you have used ( mostly in terms of glycogen ) during your workout. This is called an excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption. The slow component of this phenomenon happens in actually about 1h after you train ( mostly at high intesities ). Your body is actually consuming more oxygen than normal resting condition and relying mostly on the oxidative type of energy. This untill your energy stores are replenished.

And this is crucial for one reason: you have to replenish your energy levels first and then starting the adaptation cycle in terms of protein synthesis.

Protein synthesis is an extremely expansive process that tends to not occur when you have low energy levels, due to some molecular signals.

Now that I set this straight, we shall proceed with nutritional advices.

First of all I want to quote the most comprehensive review of litterature on the subject ( at the best of my knowledge ) in regards to the topic.

Determinants of post-exercise glycogen synthesis during short-term recovery.

This is an article published on Sport Medicine, so I don't know if you have full access ( if you don't, you can request the article here ); I will try to quote the highligts of the article referring to your questions:

  • Timing:

[...] it is interesting to note that recently it was shown that whole body and leg protein synthesis, as well as net protein deposition, is enhanced when nutrients are consumed immediately after exercise as opposed to 3 hours later.[97] These data and those of Ivy et al.[43] indicate that the timing of post exercise nutrient intake may affect the rate of mus cle glycogen synthesis, as well the rate of whole body and leg protein synthesis. Thus, it can be concluded that athletes should consume CHO immediately after strenuous exercise as this may increase the rate of muscle glycogen storage.

  • Nutrients:

Recently, we investigated whether the addition of an insulinotropic protein amino acid mixture to a larger amount of CHO (1.2g/kg/h) would further increase muscle glycogen synthesis rates.[86] This study demonstrated that when the total CHO intake is very high (1.2 g/kg/h), the presence of a protein-amino acid mixture does not further increase the rate of muscle glycogen synthesis, despite a much higher insulin response. The results of this study,[86] and those of others,[17,94] suggest that insulin is not the limiting factor for muscle glycogen synthesis when total CHO intake is high (1.0–1.2 g/kg/h). The availabili ty of CHO post-exercise, on the other hand, seems to play a more important role when maximal rates of muscle glycogen synthesis are required.

  • Protein Synthesis:

It should be noted that although protein and/or amino acid inges tion may not always have an effect on muscle glyco gen synthesis, there is evidence that amino acid ingestion in combination with,[109] and without, CHO[110] may increase post-exercise protein synthe sis and net muscle protein balance (protein synthesis minus protein degradation). Furthermore, studies have shown that an increase in insulin levels when plasma amino acid concentrations are high may further increase net protein balance.[111,112]

  • Type of carb:

However, the data clearly indicate high muscle glycogen synthesis rates during the initial hours after exercise can occur when a high-GI CHO diet is ingested. (High glycemic index)

On top of that there are several other factors that the article covers ( but not in line with strictly what you ask ), that I'm not going to quote here but you can find in the article and are:

  • Training status
  • Feeding schedule
  • Magnitude of muscle glycogen depletion
  • Muscle fibers type
  • Mode of exercise

I really advice you to get this paper and read it. It's not complicated, and in my honest opinion is the best aviable right now.

  • "Now that I set this straight, we shall proceed with nutritional advice. First of all I want to quote the most comprehensive review of literature on the subject ( at the best of my knowledge ) in regards to the topic". You answer stops short of the nutritional advice and only summarises the study, did you mean to do this?
    – John
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 8:32
  • I'd also suggest reading this more recent meta-analysis to supplement your answer: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3879660
    – John
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 8:34
  • Thanks for the detailed answer and the articles, I will read all of this carefully !
    – Koblenz
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 8:50
  • Koblenz you're welcome. @JJosaur yeah I mean't to actually answer quoting what scientific litterature says. Thank's for the link to the meta-analysis that I've already read and I don't suggest to add it in my answer for two reasons: Firs of all the study was founded by a supplement company. Second, the study design and its conclusions better suit a different question rather than the one asked by Koblenz. This article is better suited for overall protein quantity consumption ( because timing is actually debunked by the article itself ).
    – Liv
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 10:04

In general just eat more calories than you're burning while working out and you'll notice yourself gaining muscle mass. That's the simplest form which you should follow.

Timing your intake of food and the order of your macros doesn't ultimately matter. Just make sure that you are properly supplying your body with a surplus of the nutrients it needs and you'll be fine.

Personally, I'm a fan of chicken after I workout so I'll usually go for 8-12 ounces after a workout.


Just after finishing a weight workout, you can eat whatever you like, not eat, snack, you name it. As long as you are meeting your overall calorie ratios and goals for the day, force type workouts don't require any special post workout nutrition.

Where the confusion comes in is everyone talks about the "golden hour" to refuel, but that is really only relevant to extended aerobic endurance type exercise. Studies have shown a 3:1 carb to protein ratio intake (Such as chocolate milk, which is why it gets advertised as the perfect post workout drink, it really kind of is) gets carbohydrates/glycogen back into the muscles faster than other intake, especially when consumed within 10-45 minutes (ish) after a workout.

  • Any reference to back up that claim? "Studies have shown"
    – Liv
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 5:55
  • Sure. scholar.google.com/…
    – JohnP
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 14:24
  • Wouldn't use that reference. Chocolate milk as the perfect post workout and its only a fortuity the study is founded by the Dairy and Nutrition Council ? And this seems a constant in THE JOURNAL ITSELF. I advise you to pick your reference wisely bro'.
    – Liv
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 15:19
  • @Liv - There are many studies there, that is googles paper search engine. You can cherry pick a single paper to "distrust" all you want, it's proven science. Bro. (Or sis. Whatever)
    – JohnP
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 18:54

Eat more calories than you use and you will put on weight.

With reference to gaining muscle by timing your meals: current evidence does not appear to support the claim that immediate (≤ 1 hour) consumption of protein pre- and/or post-workout significantly enhances strength- or hypertrophic-related adaptations to resistance exercise

Just eat 5-15% above your TDEE with a sensible macronutrient split.


A good post workout meal is pizza. Pizza is high in both protein and carbohydrate. The protein will be used for recovery and for building mass, you may need additional protein depending on workout. The base of the pizza is your carbohydrate which will put the 'weight' you want to put on. Then the ham, sausage, pepperoni, Cheese is your protein value.

For the most benefit you need to strip your muscles. By this work to a point where your muscles feel like they are snapping, then you will build them back stronger and bigger than if you worked a little but didn't shred your muscles.

  • I, for one, do not desire a pizza after working out. Especially after a tough leg session. I'd prefer to eat much cleaner.
    – rrirower
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 18:32
  • It may sound bad I get that but Manchester UTD have pizza ovens in their changing rooms and all professional footballers have pizza directly after playing. It is the best recovery food
    – Luke B
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 19:45
  • The carb/fat/protein ratio is about 3:1:1 which is rubbish for feeding recovering muscle. work to a point where your muscles feel like they are snapping," - Terrible advice.
    – John
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 7:32

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