After a tough workout, everyone’s first instinct is to reach for whatever you’ve been craving – after all, you’ve cycled your glutes to oblivion and completely deserve it… right? However, to maximise your workout results, your focus should be on rehydrating, keeping your metabolism moving, and replenishing your body’s glycogen. Here’s a guide to what is best suited to a post-workout snack, and what food should be avoided at all costs (some might surprise you!)
Say YES to:
- Clean protein Things like spirulina, salmon, tuna, eggs, quinoa, chia seeds, whey powder, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt, chicken, lentils, Slim Secret bare bars
- Carbs (but the good kind) Banana, quinoa (yes, it makes both lists), pasta, oatmeal, sweet potato, leafy green vegetables, pineapple, berries, brown rice
- Starches (some of which double up from your carb list) Potato, rice, lentils, pasta, green bananas.
- Water Okay, well it is not quite eating, but it is just as important. To help your metabolism and digestion, as well as just to hydrate after all that sweat, make sure you put lots of H2O back into your body.
Say NO to:
- Sugary drinks (soft drinks in particular) as your body needs to rehydrate. Stick to water. It’s the best option.
- Chilli or spicy food. Hot foods and any condiments with spice are hard to digest so not suitable post-workout.
- Red meat. It is a great source of protein but it is more difficult to digest, so you’re better to go for one of the options listed above.
- Cheese. It might be a protein, but it is highly processed. So, anything other than cottage cheese is a no.
- Raw vegetables. This may seem a really surprising one. While they are great for you at any other time, they fill you up quickly (meaning you’re less likely to eat other things with them) and eaten raw don’t have enough of the protein, carbs or starch you require to replenish your energy after a workout.
- Oily or fatty food. And that includes any fast food as well! What’s the point in undoing all that good!? Plus, like many of the other foods on the “no list” it is also not easily digested and will actually slow down the digestion of any other good foods you’re eating with it.
- Nuts. Another surprising one, and a little like the raw vegetables they just don’t do enough in a short space of time that your body needs post workout because nuts release energy slowly, and therefore also slow digestion too.
- Coffee. If you work out in the morning and can’t live without your daily dose of caffeine, then make sure you have it before your exercise. Pre-workout, caffeine has been shown to improve performance and help muscles, but post-workout it is a no-go zone. After exercise our cortisol levels are already increased, and caffeine only adds to that, playing havoc with hormones. And while the science is particularly complicated and there are other physiological reasons involved, what it really boils down to is that when it comes to drink you should be reaching for the water bottle above anything else!