Feel free to splurge a little bit after your workout, and not just because you burned a load of calories at the gym. Some foods that are considered unhealthy can be beneficial if consumed after a workout because they aid muscle recovery and growth. After a workout, your muscles are crying for carboyhydrates, sugars, and protein so it won’t hurt to treat yourself to a little something sweet.

Chocolate milk

junk foods

Photo by Hannah Lin

Chocolate milk is the perfect combination of protein and carbohydrates to repair muscle tissues and prepare your body for the next workout. Many studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of chocolate milk as a replacement for sports drinks, and chocolate milk has been proven to be a better recovery drink. Milk protein is composed of about 20% whey protein, which is quickly digested, and 80% casein protein, which is digested slower and provides a steady stream of amino acids to your muscles for a long period of time. In addition, the sugar and carbohydrates in chocolate aid the absorbtion of nutrients in your muscles.

PB&J bagel


Photo by Katherine Carrol

Many dieters and fitness gurus avoid bagels because they are high in enriched flour. However, bagels are a source of dense carbohydrates, which aid muscle recovery. Pairing bagels with PB&J or these alternatives creates a snack rich in carbohydrates, protein, and sugar. Jam, or fruits in general, are packed with sugar that help your muscles absorb nutrients.

Ice cream


Photo by Lauren Kaplan

Ice cream is not just a sweet, refreshing post-workout treat. The sugars in ice cream create the same insulin spike as jam does that promotes muscle building and prevents muscle breakdown. Celebrity trainer Jay Cardiello says that eating some ice cream is beneficial up to two hours after a workout.

Sugary cereals and granola

granola macro 1

Photo by Lauren Kaplan

Store-bought cereals and granola make for an unhealthy breakfast, but their high sugar content will help replenish your muscle glycogen stores after a workout. Have some cereal or granola with Greek yogurt to get a boost of protein as well.


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