Whether you’re a professional athlete or an exercise enthusiast, nutrition is fundamental to your performance. Proper nutrition is vital for fueling your workout and helping your body recover more effectively. After a workout, we make sure to always have a recovery snack or drink ready.
A recovery meal helps;
- Refuel muscle & liver glycogen stores
- Replace fluids & electrolytes
- Build new muscle & red blood cells
- Allow the immune system cope with the stresses of exercise
Muscle glycogen is the main fuel used during moderate and high intensity workouts. After each workout you want to replace your glycogen stores as inadequate levels will compromise your performance. This is particularly important if you train twice a day or if there is less than 8 – 12 hours before your next workout. Basically, you need to get some carbohydrates into you immediately after your workout (between 15 and 30 minutes). The amount you require will depend on the length and intensity of the session but ~50g is enough to start the refueling process. Carbohydrates are also extremely important post workout as they help reduce your bodies stress hormone response to exercise and therefore reduce the negative effect on the immune system.
In addition to carbohydrates, you should also include some protein to help your muscles recover and repair. You want to include ~ 15g protein in your recovery meal.
Within 1-2 hours of your recovery snack, eat a full meal. The ratio of carbohydrates to protein isn’t as important at this stage but aim to include both food groups.
A lot of people become reliant on sports supplements which tend to be expensive and in a lot of cases unnecessary. You should aim to eat real food where possible but supplements can be a good back up. Our favourite recovery meal is a cacao, banana & almond butter milkshake! We love to add frozen raspberries to this as well.
Below are some other post-workout snack ideas!
- Chocolate milk
- Greek yoghurt with fruit & nut butter
- Fruit & yoghurt smoothie (including coconut water is great after a very intense workout)
- Banana & peanut butter smoothie
- Homemade juice and nuts
- Toast & peanut butter
- Homemade granola bars
- Banana & handful of nuts
- Rice cakes with banana & nut butter
- Apple with nut butter
- Hummus and veggies
- Protein ball with dried fruit
- Cereal with milk/yoghurt & fruit
So, always be prepared and have your recovery meal within reach when you finish a workout, your body and performance will thank you!