Post workout fuel. What to eat and what to avoid according to a nutritionist
If anyone knows good post workout fuel, that would have to be F45 Challenge Director and resident Nutritionist Lyn Green. A media commentator and all round health and wellness queen, Lyn knows a thing or two about doing post workout recovery and doing it well. Now, while common belief may have us running home and cooking a juicy steak after our workout, as Green will explain, the source of your protein matters.
Here she shares the three things we should all be reaching for after the gym and the three things we should avoid.
Hold the hamburgers!
Do reach for
Bananas: Bananas are rich in potassium, a hydration electrolyte, which is depleted post workout. In fact a study conducted last year found that bananas were just as important to post-recovery after sport as sports drinks and water. They are also a source of good carbohydrates, which refuel the muscles and glycogen stores.
Protein shakes: Ensure your protein shakes contain all 9 essential amino acids. If you are sensitive to whey protein or prefer to have a vegan option, opt for one that has a blend of pea and rice protein. This provides a complete source of protein. Essential amino acids including the 3-branch chain amino acids leucine, Isoleucine and valine will reduce muscle soreness, support muscle synthesis and speed up recovery.
Eggs: During the post workout phase, your body is in an anabolic state and is in repair mode. During this time it is so important to replenish the body with nutrients to help with the recovery stage. Eggs are high in protein and various B vitamins. They also contain vitamin B6, which assists your body in metabolising protein. I always suggest to clients that they keep hard-boiled eggs in the fridge as a post-workout snack.
Try to avoid
Coffee: Sorry to disappoint! During exercise your body produces a hormone called cortisol, which is a catabolic hormone that reduces protein synthesis and prevents tissue growth. Drinking caffeine post workout spikes your cortisol levels as well. Elevated cortisol will result in insulin resistance and inflammation so minimising this hormone post exercise is essential.
Salty foods: I am looking at you chips, noodles, deli meats and salted nuts. Foods that are high in salt reduce potassium levels in the body, which are already depleted after a workout. Potassium is a highly important electrolyte, which helps carry nutrients to our cells. It also assists the muscles in using glycogen to fuel muscles during a workout.
Fatty foods: Foods high in fat delay the digestion process which in turn delays macronutrients from being absorbed by our muscles. Ideally try and prepare a meal that is rich in both protein and healthy carbohydrates to enhance glycogen and muscle repair synthesis.