Getting back into your fitness for spring? Expert nutritionist, Liam Mahoney tells us what to eat after a workout for maximum results
You put a lot of effort into your workouts, always striving for progress to achieve your goals. However, if you’ve given more thought to your pre-workout meal than your post-workout meal, then you have gone wrong already. Consuming the right nutrients after a workout is just as important, if not more, than what you are eating before.
When you are working out, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel. This results in your muscles becoming depleted of energy, and some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down and damaged. After your workout, your body needs to try and rebuild this damage and replenish its energy by eating the right balance of foods.
For maximum benefit, you need to recharge and refuel your body correctly. Here, top Nutritionist, Liam Mahoney, from leading sports nutrition brand, Grenade shares his top seven post workout foods:
Many focus on protein and carbs when it comes to replenishing and repairing the body following a tough session at the gym, but vitamins and minerals are just as important. Eggs, especially the yolks, contain lots of important vitamins, such as Vitamin B-12, B-6 and A. Eggs also contain many minerals your body needs, such as magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and copper. The only problem that there is with eggs is that you would need to eat a lot of them in order to get a substantial amount of protein from them. As eggs are high in fat and cholesterol, it is advised that you eat five egg whites with one whole egg following a workout. This way you are consuming approximately 21g of protein and still getting the good stuff that comes from the yolk without going overboard on the fat and cholesterol.
High Quality Protein Snacks
Protein is one of the essential nutrients that we all need to maintain a healthy body, and protein is especially important to consume after a workout. During exercise you are effectively breaking your muscles down and then letting them repair and adapt to become bigger and stronger and more efficient. Day to day, protein is consumed from eating lean meat, beans, soy protein products, nuts and other such foods however, If you are exercising, it is beneficial to supplement this normal intake of protein with additional food items such as protein bars and drinks. Not only are protein bars a great way to get a lot of protein in a short space of time, but it also stops us feeling tempted by naughty treats when you are feeling sluggish after a workout. I recommend the Carb Killa range from Grenade, which includes delicious protein packed shakes, bars and chocolate spreads, which contain 20% protein and 87% less sugar than other leading brands.
Sweet potatoes feature in many fitness enthusiasts daily diets. Not only are sweet potatoes readily available, inexpensive and versatile, they are also a top source of carbohydrate, meaning they’re an excellent source of energy for anyone hitting it hard at the gym. In addition to the carb content, sweet potatoes have numerous other benefits which make them a popular food to eat following a gym workout. Firstly, this food is rich in dietary fibre, which is essential for helping to control appetite, burn fat, maintain healthy digestion and build muscle, and is also loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese and potassium. After a workout, your metabolism is fired up and your body has used up its glycogen. Adding sweet potatoes to your post-workout meal will help to replenish this.
Cottage cheese contains a high concentration of the amino acid, glutamine, which is great post workout to aid muscle recovery. As a source of protein, Cottage Cheese is made predominately from Casein, which digests at a very slow rate in the body, making it a great night time source of protein to eat prior to sleep. Cottage cheese is also light on the stomach and less fattening than hard cheese, as well as containing more water to help re-hydrate your body. To add to this, cottage cheese is also rich in calcium which helps to strengthen your bones and reduces the risk of fracture, which is especially important when you are active.
Porridge is magical for a number of reasons. Not only is it incredibly filling and easy to make, but it is also found to be a great carbohydrate source to eat after a workout as it contains essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre which can keep your hunger at bay later during the day. It can also help in refuelling your depleted glycogen levels. You can eat your porridge, hot or cold, sweet or savoury. There is no right or wrong way to have porridge and the versatility of it is what makes it such an excellent addition to your post-workout diet.
Natural almond butter is a great alternative to commercially sold peanut butter because it’s not processed and has no added salt, sugars and fats. Like peanut butter, it includes protein that helps to build muscles, and carbohydrates that provide energy. Almond butter is a great post-workout snack because the high protein content will maximise muscle repair and recovery.
Good fats are important for healing muscles and joints and avocados are a great source of mono-saturated fat and Vitamin B which jump starts your metabolism. Many people think that eating fat after a workout slows down digestion and inhibits the absorption of nutrients, however while fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, it will not reduce its benefits.