You’ve made it to the gym, you’ve finished your workout and you’re feeling pretty good about it. But now you’re hungry. What do you do?
My advice would be to stop and think. It’s all too tempting when you have just exercised and are running low on energy stores to get home, open the cupboards and pig out on the first piece of food you can get your hands on. You’ve earned it right?! Well…yes, you have earned it, but if you don’t want to ruin your hard work, you need to make sure you make healthy food choices after exercise. Here are a few handy tips to avoid making unhealthy food choices after your workout:
Eat as soon as possible after exercise
Your body will need to recover after all the hard work you put into your training session so aim to eat as soon as possible after exercising; ideally within 2 hours.
Eat protein to aid recovery
If you have time to eat a proper meal after exercising, make sure it includes a palm sized amount of protein. Proteins such as chicken, fish or eggs help to repair muscle tissue after exercise. Adding a small amount of carbohydrates to your meal is great for replenishing your energy stores as carbohydrates are broken down into glucose. Make sure you don’t overload your meal with carbs as any excess glucose not required by your body will be converted into fat. Try to choose wholesome sources of carbohydrate, such as fruit or vegetables, as these will keep will keep you fuller for longer.
If you don’t have time for a meal…have a healthy snack
If you’ve managed to squeeze a workout in between two important meetings and won’t have time for a sit down meal, ensure you have a healthy snack instead. For quick and easy healthy snack ideas, you could try:
o Fruit and nuts
o Greek yoghurt and fruit
o Banana and milk
o Low sugar flapjacks
No time for all of the above? Consider nutritional supplements
If you’re so busy that you won’t have time for a meal or a snack within 2 hours after training, consider nutritional supplements, such as protein shakes. Good protein shakes contain high quality proteins and a small amount of carbohydrates to restore your energy and aid recovery after a workout.
Last but not least: drink plenty of water!
Drinking plenty of water is essential to keep you hydrated after exercise. It will aid your recovery by replenishing the fluid you lost during your workout and boosting your energy levels.