Post-workout meals: the breakdown

October 24, 2015

Gyms, crossfit and circuit training facilities have become a huge trend in the past few years. The turn towards being active is certainly providing many health benefits for people all ages but is that enough? Many health experts will agree that what you eat over the course of the day will always be the most important factor in seeing results, no matter what your goal is. But what do we eat directly after a workout? After finishing a gruelling workout many of us feel absolutely starving while others lose their appetite and wait hours until their next meal. Your eating habits strongly depend on your intended goals so here are the top 5 tips no matter what your goal is:

  1. Post workout meal for weight loss: You may be thinking that skipping the meal after a workout will help you burn fat and lose calories but this could be more detrimental to your results! After a tiring workout your muscles are depleted and are looking for some replenishment to recover and keep working. This means that most of the calories you intake will go towards your muscle growth rather than fat storage. If you don’t eat the right food after a workout, your muscles may become fatigued making your next workout not as effective. So what should you eat and when? Well, it has been said by many nutritionists that you should eat within an hour after your workout. Have a good mix of proteins, carbs and nutrients such as grilled chicken and mixed vegetables.
  2. Best post workout meal in the morning: For those who workout first thing in the morning may find that time is not a luxury. Planning our breakfast the night before and eating at work or on the go is usually the best bet, making it harder to consume a nutrient and protein enriched meal. One option that I have found to be quite versatile is oats. In summer, it’s easy to make some delicious overnight oats soaked in your favourite protein powder, water, chia seeds and berries. For winter cook your oats in water and add some greek yoghurt, blueberries and honey. Oats are full of lean carbs that help your muscles recover and the neutral flavour allows you to tailor them to your taste.
  3. Best post-workout meal in the evening: For any fitness freak, no matter what their individuals goals are, it’s important master the staple dinner recipe: Salmon, rice and vegetables. Similarly to oats, this meal is easily tailored to many tastes; you can spice it up for a fiery palette or enrich it in herbs and zesty citrus flavours. Grill the salmon in light olive oil and steam your vegetables to get the most nutrition out of your food. Make sure you don’t over cook your vegetables as they lose nutrients due to long heat exposure.
  4. Best post-workout meal for those looking to build muscle: As mentioned earlier, after your workout your muscles need to be fuelled to properly recover and more importantly, grow. To help this process, protein enriched foods are key to keep them healthy and growing. Try foods like eggs, chicken and sweet potato. Remember to also drink plenty of water, as muscle building requires hydration that increases strength, energy levels and helps in digestion. Finally, include a good amount of clean carbs to your meal like rice, pasta and potato.