Is Sushi a Good Post Workout Meal?


Is Sushi a Good Post Workout Meal?

Working out and sushi are rarely used in the same sentence. However, a close look at the benefits of the Japanese delicacy might change that. Many would agree that sushi is delicious, and it has become widely available in grocery stores and dedicated restaurants making it a popular go-to for many. This leaves us to wonder if there are benefits, besides taste and convenience, that support our health and fitness goals.

Sushi is a great post workout meal which offers a variety of macro and micronutrients. Sushi contains protein, fats, and carbohydrates necessary to build and repair muscles that were micro-teared during a workout. Additionally, the fish in sushi contains omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, and a variety of vitamins, while the rice can help replenish muscle glycogen.

Before we discount sushi as a post-workout meal, let’s acknowledge what makes a great post-workout meal and what sushi has to offer. Additionally, we’ll look at how it could help us reach our fitness goals for muscle growth and getting lean. Let’s get started!

Is Sushi Good for Muscle Growth?

Yes, sushi is great for muscle growth as it contains protein, fats, and carbohydrates needed for muscle building and repair. 

When talking about muscle growth, protein is usually the main topic. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, help build and repair muscles that were micro-teared during the workout. Eating adequate protein substantially aids in muscle growth and sushi surely offers protein. 

Some types of sushi, such as a tuna roll or salmon sashimi, offer more protein than others and could be a better choice to fit your needs. But is protein all we need for muscle growth? The answer to that is no, and luckily sushi offers a lot more than protein.

Muscle building actually requires a balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins and minerals. So even if your particular choice of sushi doesn’t have a ton of protein, it still has ingredients beneficial for muscle growth such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, magnesium, iron, and calcium, just to name a few. 

Even the white rice in your sushi is beneficial! It provides your body with an easy-to-digest energy source to help replenish muscle glycogen stores.

Is Sushi Good for Getting Lean?

It is common to feel rather hungry after a good workout and sometimes just about anything sounds good to fill your stomach. If one of your workout goals is getting lean, you might often wonder if what you are eating is helping you reach that goal or canceling out your workout.

A framework to keep in mind when choosing a post-workout meal for getting lean is to pick a lean protein, a complex carbohydrate, and a healthy fat. Using this framework, sushi would fit the category of a great post-workout meal for getting lean. However, it’s important to not consume too much rice, as it is high in carbohydrates. If you are looking to lose weight, opt for rolls which contain no rice or ask for less rice in your roll.

Overall, sushi is relatively low in calories and fat, and nutrient-dense, a great combination for getting lean post-workout. Saturated fats and processed sugars, two ingredients not found in sushi, often are the culprits packing on the pounds. In moderation, and without a ton of added sauces or dressings, sushi is a great post-workout meal to get lean, especially when compared to options such as fast food.

What is a Good Post-Workout Meal?

A good post-workout meal is one that contains a balance of macronutrients, protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Glycogen is the preferred muscle fuel when working out, so carbohydrates are important to help your body replenish its stores. Exercise also triggers the breakdown of muscle protein, so eating protein helps by providing your body with the amino acids it needs to regrow. Your fat stores are unlikely to be depleted by working out, but fat has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in recovery as well.

When choosing a post-workout meal, think whole grain bread with turkey, Greek yogurt with fruit, banana with nut butter, or spaghetti with a lean ground-beef meat sauce. All of these options combine a carbohydrate with a protein.

Simple carbs such as white rice, are easy for the body to digest, allowing them to quickly aid in recovery. However, whole grains are beneficial as well and lead to longer-lasting energy. Lean protein such as fish, chicken, and Greek yogurt is the best option because they maximize your protein stores.  Fat does not need to be avoided but it is important to choose unsaturated fats with your meals.

Think about natural fats such as nuts, avocado, or olives rather than fast food and cake.

Best Post Workout Meal for Muscle Gain

If you are looking for the best, complete post-workout meal, nutritionists and fitness experts alike would likely recommend going back to the basics with chicken, broccoli, and rice. This might sound boring but there are ways to spice up this meal without adding fatty sauces! Get creative and try new spices on baked chicken like thyme, basil, or hot chili flakes.  Adding garlic and lemon to broccoli adds a fresh take to a plain vegetable as well!

  1. A 4 oz piece of chicken has 35g of protein which for the average adult meets two-thirds of their protein needs for the day.  For working out and gaining muscle, the need will be a bit higher but nothing packs in the protein quite like chicken. 
  2. Broccoli, or a similar vegetable, is crucial post-workout because it provides fiber and bulk that are going to keep you full longer. Not to mention the micronutrients it provides that are also vital for muscle building including iron, vitamin C, and calcium.
  3. For muscle gain, white rice is a good choice because the high sugar content is easy for the body to absorb, giving your body a quick energy boost and restoring glycogen stores.

Best Post Workout Meal for Weight Loss

The best complete post-workout meal for weight loss would be a similar meal to chicken, rice, and broccoli. You will want to pair lean protein, with a vegetable but this time add a complex carb. A great idea fitting into this framework would be scrambled eggs with wheat toast and a side of sweet potatoes.

  • Eggs pack in 7g of protein each and also provide calcium, iron, and vitamin D. Spice them up with your favorite spices and add just a tablespoon of low-fat milk to make them creamy.
  • Wheat toast is a better option over white because it is going to provide fiber to slow down digestion and keep you fuller longer, which is helpful for weight loss. It is also going to stave off sugar spikes you get from processed carbs, keeping down carbohydrate cravings longer.
  • Sweet potato makes a great side for a post-workout meal also because of its high fiber content and water content.

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Erin Quense

I'm Erin, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and freelance writer from NJ. I believe that food is an essential, joyous part of life and I am passionate about helping others make food work for them and their lifestyle- whatever that may look like!

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