Exercise is a great way to work up an appetite. By the time you’ve warmed down and left the gym, your thoughts should be turning to food. A balanced post-workout meal should provide optimal amounts of protein and simple carbs. Protein aids muscle growth and repair, while carbs help to replenish your glycogen stores.
Whether it’s a snack or a full-blown meal, it’s important to choose foods that will support your ability to repair damaged tissue and build new muscle.
The following foods are ideal for boosting recovery and fuelling your body with the nutrients it needs to grow.
Eggs are a complete protein source, supplying all nine essential amino acids. These nutrients aid in muscle repair and reduce catabolism. Your post-workout meal can consist of scrambled eggs, boiled eggs or an omelette plus a source of carbs such as mushrooms or green vegetables.
Easy to peel and easy to digest, bananas contain simple and complex carbs, potassium and vitamins. Bananas are an excellent source of fast-acting carbs, making them a great post-workout snack. The potassium in bananas helps replenish the electrolytes lost during exercise, while fibre supports digestion. Pop a banana into your gym bag, ready to eat after training or blend one into your protein shake.
Protein is ideal after training. It’s an easy and convenient way to nourish your muscles and help them grow. Most proteins are in liquid form and quickly absorbed, whereupon they can begin repairing damaged muscle fibres.
High in lean protein and rich in niacin, chicken is a great choice for your post-workout meal. Grill up a chicken breast and serve it with rice and leafy vegetables. Keep your meal simple and avoid adding fats as this may slow the rate of protein absorption.
Packed with simple carbs, fibre, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6, sweet potatoes are a favourite choice for many athletes. Baked, mashed or boiled, these versatile starches are ideal after training and go well with most types of meat. A nutritional powerhouse, sweet potatoes digest quickly, supplying a steady release of energy.
Mix whey protein and eggs with oats, blueberries or bananas to make a delicious post-workout meal. Top with cinnamon or Greek yoghurt. Pancakes take just minutes to cook and can be served hot or cold. If you’re short on time, prepare them the night before. Thanks to their blend of whey protein and carbs, high-protein pancakes contain all the nutrients your muscles need to recover.
After completing a training session, set your sights on a balanced post-workout meal. Then your body can start to repair.
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