In addition to what we should eat, and how much we should eat, when we should eat is another huge factor to add to the equation. Our body has different metabolic demands at different times of the day and we can use these principles to help support health, performance and recovery.
Nutrient timing is becoming increasingly recognised as an important component to enhance nutrition. Without over complicating this already complex subject, as a rule of thumb your post-workout nutrition requires two things:
1. Protein to aid in protein synthesis
2.Carbohydrates to help replace muscle glycogen and enhance recovery.
So now that we have covered the bare basics of post-workout nutrition, here are some great meal ideas to refuel with:
Protein supplements are a great, convenient, way to make sure you’re hitting your daily protein macros. There are so many myths surrounding protein shakes that women tend to avoid it in their diet. One of the most common fears that many worry about is that protein will make them ‘bulky’ or cause them to gain weight. I can assure you that this is not the case, but rather including protein supplementation into your diet can help increase lean muscle mass, support weight loss and aid muscle recovery after exercise. To add more nutritional value to your shake try blending in a banana and some frozen berries!
‘Proats’ or Protein Oats
Adding a scoop of whey protein to your oatmeal is a cheap and effective way to create a perfect post-workout meal. Not only will the protein enhance the oatmeal nutritionally, but it also adds flavour and a cake-like consistency. There are so many different flavours of protein on the market from the classics such as chocolate and vanilla, to more outlandish flavours such as sticky toffee pudding and cherry bakewell. Get creative with your oats by adding different toppings such as fresh fruit, chocolate coated raisins, or chopped nuts. If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed I often add grated courgette to my oats to make ‘zoats’. Head over to my YouTube channel to find out how to make this nutrient dense bowl of deliciousness!
Granola and Greek Yogurt
If you’re looking for a post-workout snack on-the-go, grab a tub of your favourite greek yogurt and pair it with some Granola. The yogurt will provide you with a natural, pure source of protein and the granola offers a combination of complex and simple sugars. Just remember to exercise portion control, as granola is a calorically dense food. To avoid going overboard on your serving, stick to the one handful rule when portioning it out.
Stuffed sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese and potassium. So after a workout, sweet potato is the perfect carb to replenish glycogen stores and restore electrolytes. A quick and easy way to transform the humble potato into a meal is by first baking it and then topping it with lean protein sources such as grilled chicken, feta cheese, chilli con carne or tuna!
‘Bro Food’: Chicken, Rice and broccoli
Considered the ultimate ‘bro-food’, this meal has been a staple in most bodybuilders diets, including Arnie and The Rock, for decades. With a perfect balance of protein and complex carbohydrates it is the ideal form of post-workout nutrition. Many people roll their eyes at this simple, old-fashioned meal but as the saying goes “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it!”. Try adding some variety to this classic dish by swapping the broccoli for different vegetables, trying out different seasonings, or simply swapping a chicken breast for turkey!
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