Summer is just round the corner and with bikini bodies looming, we’re definitely stepping up our game when it comes to working out! This week we want to talk about the importance of post-workout nutrition. We often associate post workout nutrition with masses amount of scary looking protein powders and bodybuilders aiming to get their biceps as big as their thighs, but there are so many other reasons why you should be refuelling after a session in the gym. And here’s why.

When we exercise, our bodies use up stored energy, usually in the form of glycogen. After a workout we are often depleted in glycogen and feel tired and hungry! Skipping a post-workout snack could lead to some serious munchies later on in the day, throwing you off your healthy eating bandwagon. A massive appetite followed by guilt isn’t a good combo for your body or your mind.

Another reason to consider post-workout nutrition is for repairing your muscles. Ever woken up not being able to walk down the stairs after a killer gym sesh? That is called DOMS (Delayed Onset Of Muscle Soreness). The reason we feel sore the day after a workout is because during exercise, small fibres in our muscles tear (I’m talking teeny tiny here!) and the soreness you feel the next day is your body trying to repair them. Post-workout snacks can help aid the repairing of tired and “damaged” muscles, leaving you feeling slightly less sore the day after!

What should I be looking for in a post workout snack? Protein should be your main focus followed by complex carbohydrates (to replenish lost glycogen stores). Protein provides amino acids that are needed to rebuild and repair muscle tissue that has been damaged during exercise. The amino acids also help increase the absorption of water from the intestines and improve muscle hydration.

Last bit of information, I promise! We’ll get to the good stuff in a minute! Many people get confused when it comes to the timing of your post workout snack. Do you eat straight away? Within one hour? As your doing your last rep?!! Well studies have shown that the first 15-20 minuets after a workout are crucial for refuelling. Your body’s enzymes that that help resynthesize muscle glycogen are most active in that time frame and the longer you wait the longer it will take your body to recover.

Ok, so with that in mind, here our Hip & Healthy’s favourite vegan, plant based protein powders!

Sunwarrior prides itself on being a company that are committed to making only the best plant-based foods and supplements. The chocolate flavour (our fave!) is made up of raw, organic pea, cranberry and hemp protein, and contains organic Dutch cacao.

Pulsin Pea Protein
Pulsin protein powders are all GM and pesticide free and contain no dodgy chemicals. Their pea protein is derived from yellow split peas, a great source of amino acids and vitamins A, B6 and C. We love adding berries to ours to give it a natural sweet kick!

Garden of Life Raw Protein
The Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein takes post workout nutrition to a whole new level. The 100% raw sprout blend contains 17g of protein and 13 organic raw sprouts (amaranth, buckwheat and adzuki bean to name a few!) for an increased daily nutritional profile. The live cultures and raw ingredients mean this company are suitable for vegans with gastrointestinal sensitivities.

We also have considered that there will be times when you’ll be in too much of a rush to make one of these delicious protein smoothies…so we’re sharing some of our favourite snacks that are nourishing for your body and taste pretty good too!

Biona Peanut/Almond Butter
Pop a tub of Biona’s devilishly yummy nut butter in your gym bag along with a banana and you’ve got the perfect post-workout snack that tastes awesome!

Nakd Bars
A handy and totally natural fruit and nut bar that will leave you feeling satisfied after a sweaty gym session. We can’t get enough of the Cocoa Orange flavour!

Bounce Balls
These delicious little balls make a great, energising, nutrient-dense post workout snack. With no artificial flavours, fillers or sugars, you can be sure that Bounce will provide you and your body with nothing but goodness.

words by Molly Jennings

image: Lija Activewear (Coming to our store soon!)