Is a Bagel a Post Workout Meal?

To help your muscles recover and to replace glycogen stores, have something to eat immediately after you exercise. The snack or meal you have after exercise should contain a mix of carbohydrates and protein. A bagel is a good post-workout meal as long as you serve it with a high-protein food.

A halved bagel on a cutting board. Credit: MelindaSiklosi/iStock/Getty Images

Time Frame

Eat a solid food, like a bagel, approximately one to three hours after you have finished exercising, recommends registered dietitian Sharon Howard. The carbohydrates in the meal will help give you energy to perform the next day and they will replace any glycogen you may have lost during your workout. The protein in your post-workout meal helps build muscle and repair damaged muscle tissue.


According to the "Foundations of Coaching," after every exercise session, athletes should consume approximately 1 g of carbohydrates for every kg of body weight. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a medium bagel contains 55 g of carbohydrates and 11 g of protein.


Bagels are a convenient post-workout choice because they are very portable. Prepare a bagel with a high-protein spread or load it with lean cuts of lunch meat, such as turkey, chicken breast and ham. Spread options for the bagel may include fat-free cream cheese or peanut butter. Choose to eat whole-grain bagels over bagels made from refined flours. Whole-grain bagels take longer to digest and have less of an effect on blood-sugar levels.

Expert Insight

During a 2010 study published in the "Journal of Applied Physiology," eating a low-carbohydrate meal after exercise increased insulin sensitivity more than consuming a high-carbohydrate meal in study participants. Insulin sensitivity causes the body to take sugar from the bloodstream into the organs and can be a precursor to serious diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, according to Science Daily.

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