The picture of a hard workout followed by a massive meal or naughty treat is all too familiar. So often we feel that, just because we’ve ran a 10K, we can indulge to heart’s desire and while there is nothing wrong with indulgence sometimes (of course, we encourage it! It’s all about balance, right?), what we eat post-workout has a profound impact on recovery and performance.
After depleting our bodies of energy, it is important to refuel properly so that our bodies can recover efficiently and effectively in order to prepare for the next round. However, with so many different workouts and with so much information available at our fingertips, it’s difficult to decipher what exactly you should be eating after you’ve planked, pushed, and pulled.
First things first – water! Your body has worked so hard and with all of that sweat you have dripping off of your brow, it means you’re also depleted of electrolytes. Unless you’re training for an extensive amount of time, it’s best to avoid sugary drinks and to just stick with water! If you want to get fancy, why not try making your own electrolyte drink? It’s actually super easy! Lifestyle blogger and plant-based advocate, Niomi Smart, has a brilliant recipe for homemade electrolyte water…
Electrolyte Water (makes 2 bottles)
1.5 litres Water
1/4 cup lemon Juice – about 1 1/2 lemons
1/4 cup Lime Juice – about 2 1/2 limes
1/2 tsp Himalayan Salt
1 Orange, Juice
- Squeeze the juice from the lemons, limes and orange and mix well into the water with the salt.
- Pour into two bottles, and keep in the fridge. Shake well before drinking.
- I started sipping on mine slowly after about 10 miles. Try not to drink it too quickly.
It’s always important to get your post-workout nourishment in at least 30-60 minutes after working out. It is especially important to combine your post workout meal with protein and carbohydrates in order to aid recovery and feed your muscles. During workouts, especially difficult ones, you tap into your glycogen stores, which allow your body to work for prolonged periods. This is why endurance athletes carb load days in advance before a big race. Once these stores are used up, it is crucial to replace them so that your body can recover properly and avoid using muscle as a source of energy.
You may have heard that chocolate milk is the perfect post work out meal because it provides fast acting carbs (meaning that the sugar is broken down more easily than say a meal high in fibre) and a good source of protein. But! There are other ways to get those carbs and proteins that don’t involve added sugars and dairy for our lactose intolerant Hip & Healthies!
Bananas with almond butter
The combination the magnesium from the banana and the plant protein from the almonds is a post-workout meal made in heaven. Whilst the magnesium helps to relax your muscles, the protein found in the almond butter will help replenish your muscles and aid recovery. Plus it’s a delicious combo!
Oatcakes with hummus
Who doesn’t love hummus? We seriously bow down to the genius that discovered this magical dip. This duo gives you the perfect balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats to kick-start your recovery so you can work yourself up to your next sweat session in no time! For an added anti-inflammatory boost, try Natural Vitality’s Turmeric Hummus which you can get at Wholefoods and Planet Organic! The H&H team are completely hooked!
Superfood protein smoothie
For a fast-absorbing, post-workout snack, nothing beats a nutrient packed protein smoothie. Now before the words “protein smoothie” scares you into thinking your muscles are going to grown 10 times their size over night, think again. Protein smoothies are such a great way to get a multitude of nutrients in one handy, portable meal so long as you are using healthy and natural sources of protein and carbohydrates. Tom Puntis, Performance Specialist at Workshop Gymnasium explains “You need something easy to digest and fast acting after a workout. Smoothies are great for this very reason and I always recommend using whole foods like fruit, veg and healthy fats like nuts or avocado to provide a great all-round post-workout snack.” If however you want to use a protein powder, that’s ok too as long as you use one that is natural, organic and unprocessed. These days, you won’t struggle to find this. There are so many amazing protein powders that are organic, don’t contain any bulking ingredients and don’t feature any processed sugars or sweeteners. You can also easily find vegan proteins too. We love Sunwarrior Pea Protein mixed unsweetened almond milk, nut butter, banana and plenty of greens like spinach and kale!
Rice with white fish
Another easy to digest meal that is great for your body post-workout is rice and some form of white fish like cod or sea bass (we always recommend wild). This combination is perfect for replenishing your body after a sweaty workout and to help feed nutrients back into your muscles to start the repairing process. This is particularly great if you are an evening workout go-er as you can whip this up in no time for dinner! We’d recommend adding a fresh tomato salsa with some roasted veg to make it more substantial and delicious!