What you eat before and after a workout is just as important as the workout itself. You can do all the exercise you want but if you don’t provide your body with the nutrition it needs when you do, you’ll be stopping yourself from seeing the results you really want and potentially damaging your health at the same time.
Eating the right food after a workout is essential for recovery, weight loss, muscle gain and a whole host of other benefits. If you’ve spent hours in the gym to lose weight then go home and eat a burger and fries, you’ll be further away than when you started and, if you’re trying to build muscle but don’t give your body what it needs to repair, you’ll be doing more harm than good by risking injury in your next session.
It’s not as scary or as strict as it sounds though. We’re not talking celery sticks and lettuce only. There’s plenty you can rustle up with the ingredients you’ve probably already got in the cupboard.
Here are 5 of them you should be eating after a session in the gym:
Sweet potato is a complex carbohydrate that’s easily digested meaning it’s great for aiding muscle recovery. There are loads of ways you can eat it too, roasted with other veg, in place of a regular jacket potato or as a substitute for mash.
It’s no secret that eggs are good for you and they’re even better post-exercise. Their high protein content helps the body to grow muscle so if you’re on a mission to get bigger, add an extra few to your weekly shopping list. Scramble them, fry them, poach them, you know the drill.
You may have grown up watching Popeye chug a tin of spinach at every available opportunity and you’d do well to take a leaf out of his book (pun intended)! There’s no end to the nutritional content of spinach – it’s low in fat and cholesterol, high in magnesium and vitamins and the nitrates it contains help with muscle strength making it just as good a choice for before a workout as after. It’s a particularly good option for vegans too who might struggle to find such high levels of nutrients elsewhere. Eat it raw as a salad leaf or wilted in curries and stir fries.
Avocado is a very trendy food right now but there’s a reason it’s plastered all over the Instagram feed of gym bunnies everywhere. Yes, it’s high in fat which puts a lot of people off it but it’s good fat, fat that’s needed to help your muscles and joints repair. Opt for the classic ‘avo on toast’ or even blend it up in a smoothie with some other greens. It’s another great option for vegans too.
Greek yoghurt contains high levels of protein and its thick and creamy texture is likely to make you feel fuller for longer compared to other yoghurts you’ll find at the supermarket. Pair it with fruit and oats for a wholesome and nutritious start to the day but be sure to steer clear of the ones with added flavours and sugars.
These are just a few examples of the common foods you can eat to give your body the best nutrients after exercise and if you’re feeling adventurous there are thousands of recipes you can find online to keep things interesting. Remember that the most important thing you can do is to stay hydrated though – always aim for those 3 litres a day!
For further advice on nutrition or exercise, get in touch with one of the Zbody team members here.