We all know how important it is to fuel our workouts correctly, whether that’s via our diet or through supplementation. But, what to eat after a sweat session can be a little confusing. Which foods are best? Will I undo all of my hard work if I eat that? Which foods will help ease those dreaded DOMS? There’s a lot of questions and, thankfully, we’ve got the answers! Read on to find out the best foods to eat post-workout and why they’re worth filling up on after your epic session.
WHY IS POST-WORKOUT NUTRITION SO IMPORTANT?
There are a number of reasons why nailing your nutrition after a workout is key. Now, if you’ve worked hard, you’ll likely be hungry, but that’s not the only reason to fill up on food. Choosing the right foods to chow down on post-workout will aid recovery, reduce muscle soreness, help build muscle and replenish the glycogen in your body. All of this is super important if you wanna see results!
WHEN SHOULD I EAT POST-WORKOUT?
It’s recommended that you consume food within an or two of your workout. This will ensure your body can benefit from the above. If you don’t have time for a meal, grab a post-workout protein shake or a Carb Killa® bar to pack in the protein and feed those muscles.
WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO EAT POST-WORKOUT?
Now, if you’re into your fitness or weight training, you’ll know the importance of protein when it comes to building muscle. Protein is the key ingredient when it comes to growing muscle and consuming sufficient amounts will help you maintain muscle too. Protein aids recovery too, so it’s a must after a heavy session. Aside from muscle growth and maintenance, there are so many other benefits of protein, including storing and transporting nutrients around the body, supressing appetite and also boosting your immune system – super important right now.
SO, WHICH FOODS SHOULD I EAT AFTER A WORKOUT?
Here are a few easy, tasty protein-packed foods you can consume after your workout. Eat them as a snack or incorporate them into your meals to ensure you’re filling up on nutritionally beneficial foods.
You’re probably not surprised to see this protein-packed dairy product on the list, but eggs really are the go-to for so many who are set on building and maintaining their muscle. Not only are they super cheap but they’re easy to eat too. In a rush? Whip up some scrambled eggs, and a slice or two of wholegrain toast if you’re in need of an energy kick, or why not give an omelette a go – they’re a great way to cram in extra veggies too! Pre-preparing hard boiled eggs is also a great idea; pack them into a lunchbox for after your workout for an easy way to cram in your protein fix.
Feeling fancy? Well, you’ll be glad to hear that smoked salmon is a great post-workout option. Pair with your eggs if you’re feeling something a little more upmarket for breakfast than you’re usual porridge oats, or, for a snack, layer onto crackers or rice cakes with low fat cream cheese.
Not only is smoked salmon full of protein, it’s also packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests that consuming regular amounts of omega-3 fatty acids can support recovery after training, decreasing those pesky DOMS*, so even more reason to indulge!
Need a food to pair with your protein? Look no further than sweet potatoes. Now, these aren’t exactly protein rich, but carbs are also important when it comes to a post-workout refuel – unless you’re keto, that is. Studies show that high carb foods, such as grains, fruit and potatoes, can help eliminate the drop in your immune system that can occur after an intense workout.
For those concerned about filling up on potatoes and putting on fat, if you consume sweet potato after a sweat sesh, your body will likely use it as energy rather than store it as fat, which is why it’s ideal to consume post-workout when your body needs a refuel.
Just like white potatoes, sweet potatoes are super versatile – cut into wedges and roast in the oven or boil and mash up a delicious sweet potato mash (Nandos, eat your heart out!).
It may look a little, well, unappetising, but if you’re set on packing in the protein then cottage cheese is a great option. As well as being packed with essential minerals such as magnesium and calcium, cottage cheese is full of protein, helping you build and maintain muscle post-workout. It’s also renowned for increasing heart health, as well as aiding digestion and settling the stomach – what’s not to love?
A great snacking option, you can purchase snack-sized pots of cottage cheese in most supermarkets for a fast, easy refuel after training. Or, why not eat alongside a jacket potato or alongside other protein-packed options such as chicken and fish. If you’re not a fan, cottage cheese can be easily seasoned to spice up the flavour – add chives, paprika or even curry powder if you fancy a kick!
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE TIME TO COOK POST-WORKOUT?
If you’re short on time, try prepping your meals; this will ensure you can cram in your protein fix and stay fuelled, even when you’re on the go. Alternatively, grab and go protein snacks are a great option and are often readily available in most gyms, supermarkets or convenience stores. A protein bar, such as Carb Killa®, is a great way to get your protein fix without worrying about cooking or heating up pre-prepared meals. Or, if protein shakes are your thing, Carb Killa® shakes are a great way to refuel after your session.