So you’ve hit the gym, had a session with your personal trainer, or have smashed a spin or HITT class. You’re dead tired, but now comes the fun stuff: you get to eat!
Having a post-workout meal is crucial for producing better results for your body. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, get lean or bulk like Schwarzenegger, having the right post-nutrition meal can make all the difference.
1) Whole Eggs With Yoghurt
We know all eggs are essential for building and repairing damaged muscles. But too often, people just focus on egg whites as opposed to the whole egg. We’re going for the latter, as three whole eggs get you 18 grams of protein and the healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals like phosphorus and iron, from the yolk.
But it can be a little dull, so let’s throw in some plain Greek yogurt (super healthy and energetic) and some pinches of salt. It will fill you up and replenish your body.
2. Smoked Salmon With Veggies
While the classic old story of “chicken, rice and veggies” does the trick, you can amp that up by keeping the veggies, ditching the rice (or swapping it for quinoa, more on that below) and trading the children for smoked salmon.
Studies indicate that higher intakes of the omega-3 fatty acids will translate into lower levels of delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise. That means that omega-3s work their way into your muscle cells, reducing the damage caused by the exercise. It makes salmon a must-have post-workout.
Steam some veggies, grill the smoked salmon, or have it raw. This combination will give you more energy and help with your fitness goals.
3) Sweet Potatoes With Nuts
If you’re into keto, then this meal is not for you. Carbs can be your friend post-workout, as having carb-rich complex foods (no cheap carbs such as white bread) can aid your recovery and digestion.
If you’re worried about the carbs turning into fat, then don’t. It will be used to replenish the energy you’ve just burnt from the intense exercise.
But straight-up sweet potatoes can be boring. So mash them down, add salt and pepper, olive oil and then throw some seeds and nuts on it. It adds a nice crunch to a hearty meal.
4) Quinoa & Your Choice Of Protein
We’re touched on the type of protein you should be eating up above (the salmon, remember?). But this time, we’re giving you carte blanche with lean protein. Choose from chicken, fish or tofu. Then let’s move onto the next big thing. Quinoa.
Forget rice. It can be too carb-heavy and, most of the time, is under filtered. But quinoa is the great little grain that can aid in recovery (it is a complex carb), gives you energy and helps with your fibre intake. Trade it for rice and add it with your choice of protein. You’ll love it.
5) Peanut Butter with Avocado
Okay, this sounds like a weird combination, but believe us, it works big time.
With peanut butter, you’ll get the healthy fats of nuts and the high amount of protein you need to boost recovery. With the avocado (yes, a whole one), you’ll get more healthy fats, plus some B vitamins that will kick-start your metabolism.
Combine them together, and you’ll get a smooth, tasty, peanut-infused mixture that tastes buttery but is super healthy and hearty. Add some crackers or whole eggs to the mix if you want some more, but we think it’s plenty.
6) Drink Herbal Teas or Tart Juices
Herbal teas (including licorice, spices yerba – the South American tea made famous by Barcelona players Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez) and tart juices (such a cherry, cranberry, grapefruit and grape) are superb when it comes to faster exercise recovery.
These drinks are loaded with antioxidants and various anti-inflammatory compounds, resulting in people recovering from intense training faster. Just have a litre or two post-workout with or without your meals to feel the effects.
7) Ricotta & Cottage Cheese
Not all cheeses are loaded with sugar and fat. If you get the good stuff, like ricotta and cottage, you can expect to bounce back quicker from your workout. Why?
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition says that 9 grams of dairy may be enough to kick-start the muscle-building process. But it has to be high-quality, protein-filled cheese.
So we turn to ricotta, which offers about 14 grams and is a good source of amino acids. Cottage cheese provides about the same. Having some of each, or separately, can make a massive difference to your recovery. While it can bland by itself, add some apples, peaches, berries or cherries, bananas and dried fruits or nuts. It will be worth it.