The Perfect Post-Workout Food For Fat Loss

Today’s post is in response to a reader question. See below for how to have your questions answered in an upcoming article.

“I am a regular visitor of your site and find your posts incredible. It would be really great if you could give me some guidance on post work out meals. I am 25 yrs old. My height is 5 ft 5 inches and I weigh 67 kg. I wish to lose fat and have a lean body. I generally do weight training and some cardio, and I work out in the evenings. Will be glad to hear it from you. Thanks.”


Hi Toto. Thanks so much for your feedback on the blog! You’ve asked what is probably one of the most common questions I hear, both from clients in the gym and from readers. Here’s the first thing you need to know when it comes to post-workout food and fat loss –

It is absolutely crucial that you eat something within a maximum of an hour after training. 30 minutes would be better. The reasons for this are many, but the long and short of it is that leaving post-workout fuel too long will result in very poor muscle repair and increased fat storage. You won’t feel too good, either.

That being said, it’s not a matter of just grabbing whatever takes your fancy or is most convenient on the way home/back to the office. The manner in which you re-fuel yourself post-exercise can play a huge part in your overall ability to detoxify cortisol (the fat-storing stress hormone, which is released through exercise) and manage insulin and therefore existing body fat. Here’s what I suggest –

1. Protein

My personal opinion is that every meal should contain animal protein. Regardless of whether or not you’re looking to burn fat. But let’s say that you’re only eating protein for 2 or 3 of your meals. Whatever you do, make sure your post-workout meal includes some! This is the best time to have some organic grass-fed whey protein (Aussie readers contact me for my preferred Aus brand, as unfortunately Poliquin Whey can’t be shipped to Australia due to customs regulations). I don’t recommend drinking whey protein except after training, as it is a high-insulin protein. The good news is that a serve of even the best whey still saves you some $$$ as compared to buying your typical take-out ‘healthy’ lunch, and a shake leaves the stomach quite quickly which is why it is of great benefit after exercise. Toto, you weigh 67kg, which is roughly 147 pounds. Coach Poliquin (creator of the BioSignature method, and my ultimate nutritional guru) recommends 1 gram of protein for every 5 pounds body weight, so you’d need 30 grams of whey. If you were to eat solid food instead, this would equate to about 150 grams of meat.

2. Carbs

No. Not if you’re wanting to lose weight. Green vegetables, berries, raw nuts and seeds are all excellent sources of carbohydrate for fat loss, but not post-workout. Save them for your next solid meal.

3. Glycine

Glycine is an absolutely crucial post-workout supplement. It’s suggested that you start with just 2 grams in your shake, 3 the next time, and so on, up to a maximum of 20 grams. According to the coach, this helps your body lower cortisol faster, which will in turn ensure that you don’t store extra body fat. The build-up is in order to assist your liver with detoxification rather than overload it.

4. Glutamine

Of all the amino acids, glutamine is for sure one of the most important to weight loss. After training, glutamine helps balance your hormonal profile without elevating insulin, and that’s definitely a good thing. Glutamine is particularly useful for curbing sweet cravings, and is known for it’s benefits to the digestive and immune systems as well as muscle repair. Typically a 200-pound person should take 10grams as a minimum in their post-workout shake (remember that if you do choose not to use a shake, you can still take glutamine and glycine in water), and may choose to take further doses throughout the day if boosting lean muscle mass is a priority. Personally I use 5-10 grams with a meal, 3 times each day.

One other thing I’d like to mention. Training at night is not ideal. This is because exercise elevates cortisol, and can therefore disrupt your sleep patterns. It’s far more advantageous to your health, your energy, and your weight, to train when your body is naturally releasing cortisol in preparation for the day. If evening workouts are your only option it becomes all the more important to use the right nutrients to drop cortisol immediately after training.

Toto, I hope you’ve found this useful and thanks again for allowing me to use your question in a  post!

16 responses to “The Perfect Post-Workout Food For Fat Loss”

  1. Lori says:

    What kind of concoction would you suggest as a good after work out smoothie?
    Also, could I have been sabotaging my work outs by having a fatty nut based smoothie afterwords? I generally follow your nutritional rules (esp about sugars), but because I dont have all the money to buy meats all the time, I often over do raw nuts, coconut products, and avocados (oh and i may have a problem with too many avocado/cacao raw putting recipes! mmm good stuff.) I am building wonderful muscles, but they’re covered by the slightest, most annoying subcutaneous fat- obscuring all my work like a plushy nightmare! Should I blame the nuts? What to doo what to dooo!

    -Thank you, this blog is a life saver!

  2. Kat says:

    Hi Lori
    I’d pretty much only recommend the above formula for directly post-workout. You can definitely add non-carbohydrate superfoods though. Raw cacao, coconut milk, bee pollen, maca (I use all of those except coconut milk after training).
    Just don’t add berries etc post-workout as they spike insulin.
    Your eating sound pretty good, and it’s fine to have a whole avo each day as long as you’re eating clean. Raw cacao; I wouldn’t go over 40gram p/day as it can start to deplete calcium.
    I’m also not a massive fan of nuts in smoothies as it’s just too easy to up your nut intake that way … you can safely snack on 40 or so each day but drinking them just makes it more likely you’ll go over.

  3. Lori says:

    thank you thank you!

  4. Kimballe Robinsen says:

    Hi Kat,
    Your ‘workout’ nutritional advice seems sound & insightful … thank you for your generosity. I’m keen to take your post workout recommendations on board from the above post.
    Re: protein though, I have an intolerance to whey & am wary of soy’s estrogen promoting effect. I am trialing a vegetable protein powder with powdered egg white … how would you rate that combination?
    Pre-workout: I’m also trialing beta alanine with the same protein powder … what do u think? Also, what’s your take on pre-workout carbohydrate?
    Yours in health,

    • Kat says:

      Hi Kimballe. Try the Sun Warrior rice/pea protein, or a Poliquin rice/pea protein if you’re in the States. Def no soy! I’m not a big fan of pre WO carbs as I don’t like to spike insulin before training.

  5. Alice says:

    Hi Kat! How many meals a day should i be eating? I’m 26, 5ft 7 and now sadly 12 stone yuck!! 2 years ago i was 10 stone and even then i was upset with that i would like to be a size 8 (uk) i’m currently a 12 to 14 and not liking it! Am i right in thinking 3 meals a day is not enough? I get so tired running around after my little girl i end up grazing all day and eat to deal with emotions too….ahh

    • Kat says:

      3 meals a day is definitely not enough! I would suggest 5 on most days and maybe even 6 if the day is particularly long. Running around after an 18 month old is a non-stop active job, and you should fuel your body accordingly. Eating protein plus green veg and some good fat like nuts or avocado every 3 hours or so will leave you energized and able to resist cravings.

  6. Abrianna says:

    As far as solid food is concerned, you say no carbs, but what solid food do you consider best?

    • Kat says:

      Protein and some good fat. I don’t mean no carbs; I mean no starch. So veggies are great as well. And of course if you are not looking to get leaner than starch is great PWO 🙂

  7. HealthyTips says:

    When it comes to losing weight, don’t believe everything you hear. There are many myths out there that sabotage all your efforts. Just take a look at the Biggest Diet Myths:

    * There are some diets that can help you lose fat from specific parts of the body: No diet or dietary supplement can cause local fat reduction. Look at it this way: When you put on the weight, do have any choice about where it will be stored? No!

    • Kat says:

      That’s not entirely true … certain toxins and hormones impact where body fat is stored and also how and where it can be reduced! See the Biosignature page for more info on this!

  8. Kat says:

    Thanks Kat!

    Great article, thanks for sharing your knowledge and I will try and implement these asap. I’m guilty of the post-workout coffee on the way to work after training and am wondering why I can never sleep. I will definitely try and introduce some of the above supplements post training to help me control my cortisol levels.

  9. Catherine says:

    Hi Kat, even thou Glutamine and Glysine are already an added ingredient in my WPI Musashi powder should I still add extra these items to mix in my shake after workouts?