10 Best foods to eat after a workout
How often have you had a great workout celebrated by a burger and fries? Come on, you can admit it; we’ve all done it.
The problem is that this is totally not cool. Your post-exercise meal is perhaps the single most important meal of the day. Of the whole week even.
See, what happens when you exercise is all the glycogen and protein that has been stored in your muscles all week is suddenly broken down. A few hours after you’ve finished exercising, your muscle protein plummets, which basically means that your muscles are quickly breaking down.
You’ve got a 45-minute window in which to absorb the carbs and protein because it is during this window that your body is at its most responsive. Let’s take a look at 10 of the best foods to eat after a workout.
Hmm, regular yogurt is okay, and it does contain a decent amount of protein. But it’s really no match at all for the mighty Greek yogurt, which contains double the amount of protein as regular old basic yogurt. It’s also a good source of carbs.
If you mix it with cereal or fruit, you’re getting even more bang for your buck. We recommend Greek yogurt with micro berries. Get on it for a great recovery post-exercise.
Wholegrain Breakfast Cereal
Most people assume that you can only eat cereal in the morning – at breakfast. It’s “the norm”. The trouble with the norm is that it doesn’t encourage us to expand our minds and try new – better – things.
Basically, you can eat cereal at any time of the day.
And you should definitely eat it after a workout routine. This is because cereal is high in protein, carbs and fibre, and is thus great for reloading your muscles. You can bulk it up too by adding plenty of milk or even yogurt.
Protein and carbs are key when it comes to your post-exercise meal. Eggs have got both of them covered by the bucket loads.
The great thing is that eggs aren’t crammed with too many calories (just 70), but they are crammed with plenty of protein. They also contain vitamin D, which is also essential.
You don’t, however, have to do the Rocky thing and eat them raw. You can totally have ‘em cooked. No worries.
Brown rice is really good for carbs, and you’ve probably been relying on it for quite some time. It’s cheap, versatile and can bulk out most meals.
But brown rice is nothing compared to the daddy of complete proteins – quinoa. It’s probably one of best foods to eat after a workout.
Quinoa is stuffed with all the essential amino acids, as well as more vitamins and nutrients than you can shake a stick at. It’s also loaded with protein and fibre and is easier to prepare. Get on the quinoa train!
You might be tempted to grab an energy drink after a workout (or a glass of wine), but we highly recommend that you swap both for good old orange juice.
Okay, so orange juice has its critics and gets a bad rep for being loaded with sugar. But it’s also packed with potassium which is great for you after you’ve just been exercising.
Moreover, sports drinks and energy drinks are better for during your exercise, rather than after. Orange juice is the king of post-workout drinks.
Bananas also deserve their place in our list of best foods to eat after a workout. Bananas are great for restoring deleted energy in your body after you’ve been kicking some ass in the gym.
They’re also rich in so-called “good” carbs that are just the tonic right now. These carbs work quickly to renew your levels of glycogen, helping your body to repair damaged muscles. They’re also rich in potassium, too.
Salmon is one of the best fishes you can eat at any time of the day, but its effects are particularly potent after a work out. Salmon is one of those light and lean proteins that comes with an incredible bonus – it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These promote heart health, and are loaded with anti-inflammatory agents that aid in muscle recovery.
Basically, they help your muscles to recover after you’ve put them through the ringer.
We recommend that you combine your salmon with carbs and vegetables, such as spinach and couscous. This will also help you to feel full for longer.
Stir fry after an exercise should be a no-brainer. You’re basically getting a tonne of nutrients in just one easy-to-cook meal. And you can also top it all off with some lean protein like chicken. All you need to then to is throw in some ginger and you’re all sorted for taste.
Ginger also ramps up our metabolism, which is what you need after a workout. We recommend that you thrown some peppers and brown rice in your pan too.
Protein alone isn’t enough; you also need some nutrient-rich carbs.
Your best bet is sweet potatoes, which are actually super foods in disguise. They come with a staggering 3 days’ worth of vitamin A, as well as a whole heap of carbs that help to build up your depleted glycogen supply.
Moreover, each sweet potato is rich in fibre, which helps you to stay full for longer. This also means that you don’t get caught out snacking on candy!
As well as best foods to eat after a workout, it’s good to know what to avoid?
Many of us enjoy a cheeky cocktail or a glass of wine after a workout. We’ve deserved it.
While alcohol is okay in moderation, we really do recommend that you abstain from it altogether after exercising.
See, alcohol can quicken muscle loss by around 40%. That’s a staggering number. Moreover, alcohol can also slow down your process of replenishing glycogen, which basically means that you probably won’t be able to last the distance during your next workout.
Just a single sweet potato is enough to get your carb fix post-workout. To incorporate it into a meal, why not add it to a smoothie or eat it with a bowl of oatmeal?
What are your favourite foods to eat after a workout?
Stay happy and healthy!