You’ve worked out hard in the gym, finished your session in a sweaty mess after hitting a new PB. Once you’ve showered and changed your tummy rumbles, and you’re ready for some food.
Tempted by something naughty to reward your hard work? Think again. What you eat after hitting the gym may be the most critical food you eat all day.
When you work out, your body burns fuel from anything you’ve eaten recently, and then it breaks down stored glycogen. Your muscles start to use free protein to rebuild within a few hours of working out, but your body is especially good at absorbing carbs and protein within 30-45 minutes after your workout— called the "post-workout window."
- Is your goal is to build muscle? Eat at least 30g of protein and 30-35g of carbs within 15-30 minutes of your workout.
- Trying to stay in shape or shed a few kilos? Take your time and eat within 45 minutes or an hour after your workout.
Here are the best foods to fuel recovery after a tough workout:
- Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt has double the amount of protein compared to regular yogurt and is an excellent source of carbohydrates. Through in some fresh berries as they pack micronutrients, which have been proven to help fight muscle soreness.
- Protein shake
You can’t go wrong with a simple protein shake. There are loads of choices out there: whey protein or vegetarian/vegan powders. Combine a boost of protein with fruit, peanut butter, and milk of your choice for a fast, effective recovery drink.
Have them any way you like—scrambled, over easy, poached, sunny side up, or even just hard-boiled—eggs are packed with protein and nutrients. Serve them with a slice of toast, some capsicum and onions, a good-fat-rich avocado, or even some lean turkey for an added dash of protein.
- Whole-grain breakfast cereal
Go for a high-protein, high-fibre, low-sugar cereal, porridge oats are fab. Perfect for reloading your muscles’ energy stores, make it more substantial by adding milk or yogurt, and a sprinkle of blueberries and protein powder.
- Low Fat Choc Milk
Believe it or not, low fat choc milk contains the perfect combination of macronutrients to boost recovery. 300mls of choc milk is a cheap, fast and useful recovery tool.
There you have them, five foods that will boost your recovery and help you reach your fitness goals sooner.
Remember, you can’t out train your diet, so stick to healthy macronutrients, avoid excess alcohol, rehydrate and commit to consistent training.
Move Health and Fitness can help guide you through customised training programs and advice from our certified dietician.