Surprisingly Beneficial Post-Workout Junk Foods


After a body-shocking, hardcore workout, your muscles are crying for nutrients, and they want them now. Ideally, it’s best practice to stick with a traditional clean protein and carbohydrate shake or meal, but if you’re craving junk or it’s your only option, you can still make gains.

We’ve asked celebrity trainer and nutritionist Jay Cardiello for the most surprising junk foods you can splurge on worry-free after a workout.

Bagel with Jelly

A bagel and jelly would typically be considered a low-carb dieter’s nemesis, but not when used as a post-workout meal. The bagel itself is an excellent source of dense carbohydrates to help refuel muscles for recovery while the jam is packed with sugars that create an insulin spike to help “ship” nutrients to your ailing and starved muscles.

Ice Cream

The sweet thing about ice cream, aside from the taste, is the fact that the sugars help promote muscle building and prevent protein breakdown with it’s powerful insulin spike. Cardiello says, “Ice cream can be beneficial up to two hours after a workout.”

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

The classic PB&J sandwich isn’t just a brown bag lunch item. You’re looking at a power-packed post-workout meal loaded with approximately 20 to 30 grams of protein and 50 to 65 grams of carbohydrates that refuel an overworked body in no time.

Chocolate Milk

Food for a kindergartner? We think not. Chocolate milk has you covered in the protein and carb department. Cardiello says, “What many people do not realize is that cow’s milk contains about 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein in addition to a whopping 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrates, which makes it ideal for recovery.”

Children’s Sugary Cereal

Trix are for kids… and sweat drenched gym goers. Most cereals contain sugar, which will guarantee a surge in your insulin level and fill your muscle glycogen stores quickly. Cardiello says, “Getting [muscles] replenished quickly will aid in recovery and developing new muscle.”