A daily exercise routine can greatly benefit your body and mind. But, to sustain the results, you need to have a well-balanced, healthy diet. Just like pre-workout nutrition, post-workout nutrition is also important as unhealthy eating habits can neutralise the efforts of your hard training.
Below is a brief on what to eat and avoid post a workout session. So, without further ado, let’s take a look!
Post-Workout Nutrition – What to Eat
- Peanut butter and toast: A delicious pre and post-workout treat, natural peanut butter is an excellent way to restore the lost nutrients after an intense workout session. It helps decrease the risk of post-workout muscle cramps as it is a great source of potassium. It also contains quality plant protein, healthy fats, and high fibre.
- Lean proteins: Proteins that supply essential amino acids at once are the best protein to consume post-workout. Lean protein can be obtained from animal-based foods, seafood, and some plant-based options. These include chicken, turkey, shrimp, grass-fed beef, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, eggs, tofu, and quinoa.
- Brown rice: Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables and brown rice is a sumptuous meal after a workout. Chicken is a healthy source of protein, brown rice contains carbs and fibre, while vegetables are a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
- Fruit: Fruits like blueberries and strawberries are full of vitamins, dietary fibre and antioxidants, which help the body restore energy post-workout. On the other hand, bananas are easy-to-digest carbs that can power up your body pre and post-workout. They also prevent muscle cramps as they contain antioxidants and potassium.
- Chocolate milk and yoghurt: As delicious and tempting as it sounds, chocolate milk is equally nutritious for your body after strenuous training. It is recommended to have liquid foods over solids after a heavy workout for easy digestion. Chocolate milk contains carbs, protein and water content that will aid your body regain energy faster and is the best cure for tired muscles. Likewise, yoghurt provides high-quality carbohydrates and protein that helps refuel your body.
Post-Workout Nutrition – What to Avoid
- Salty food: Salty food like potato chips and pretzels can be alluring post-workout. However, they lower the potassium level, which is important during the recovery phase. Potassium – a mineral that is vital for cell function – is an electrolyte. Since your body loses electrolytes during a workout, binge eating salty foods can further deplete the electrolyte Thus, avoid them at all costs.
- High-fat fast food: Mouthwatering food items like french fries, cheeseburgers, chilli dogs and nachos may sound like a worthy cheat and may satisfy your appetite after a highly-intensive workou But, they can wipe out the progress you have made. The fat consumed can slow down digestion, which isn’t healthy after breaking a sweat. Also, they offer minimal nutritional value and are calorie-rich. Here, if you want a protein fix, then it is best to opt for eggs instead.
- Processed energy bars: For most, an energy bar is a convenient option for post-workout nutrition. However, some energy bars may contain unhealthy ingredients. Thus, it is a safer choice to avoid ultra-processed energy bars with lengthy ingredients lists, especially artificial sweeteners or refined sugar.
- Caffeine: Consuming caffeine keeps the body more responsive, aware and focused. Post-workout, your body is already high on endorphins. Also, after a rigorous workout, your body needs rest to support muscle growth and repair any damage done to your tissues. Here, consuming coffee would blunt your body’s natural recovery process. Thus, it is best to avoid caffeine and prioritise refuelling and resting muscles by eating right.
- Sugary drinks: Post-workout, the first thing most people reach out for is something to drink to replenish the lost fluids. However, stay away from sweetened beverages, including sports drinks. Drinking sugar-sweetened drinks, whether it is a soda or fruit juice, after an intense workout is counter-productive as it slows down the metabolism. Sports drinks also contain high amounts of sugar and chemicals. Although they can be marketed as a perfect option to stay hydrated and replenish your electrolytes, these drinks are unhealthy. Thus, it is best to stick to plain water to hydrate yourself.
It is essential to consume a proper amount of carbs and protein post-workout as it aids in the recovery process and ensures your body is sufficiently nourished and replenished. Drinking plentiful water post-workout is also vital for overall general health and fitness. Thus, make the most of this post-workout nutrition guide, and to learn more about what to eat before and after a workout, go here.