If you get your post workout nutrition right then you will have:
- Improved recovery
- Less muscle soreness
- Increased ability to build muscle
- Improved immune function
- Improved bone mass
- Improved ability to utilize body fat
Here are my nutritional tips to maximise results from regular exercise.
Eat enough – even if you are trying to lose weight, you need to give your body the best chance possible to recover and gain fitness. If weight loss is a goal then aim for half of your plate as steamed vegetables – these are packed full of the nutrients that your body needs to be happy and healthy.
Rehydrate. Every cell in your body needs water and every chemical reaction in your body takes place in the presence of water. Try to drink water during and immediately after exercise to replace that which you have lost from sweat. If you sweat more than most, then you need to drink more too. Drinking gallons of water just before or during a meal can water down your gastric juices and make digestion much more of an effort for your body.
After a workout your energy reserves will be diminished and your muscle tissue will be damaged from exercise. Eat a meal combining protein with carbohydrate within 30 minutes of workout to repair and build muscle for optimum results.
- Carbohydrates replenish your glycogen (energy) stores, they prevent muscle loss and stimulate muscle growth. Eat complex carbohydrates such as brown rice but remember that all those lovely veggies also contain lots of complex carbohydrates too.
- Protein repairs and builds muscle tissue – this will ensure that you do not lose muscle tone from exercising but actually gain it. Chose protein that is as little processed as possible. As with all things nutritious, the closer to nature the better. Salmon, white fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, beans and pulses are all good choices.
Eat antioxidant-rich foods – these will help your muscle recover from fatigue, injury, and free radical damage caused by intensive exercise. The best sources of antioxidants are colourful vegetables such as peppers, squash, kale, and tomatoes, as well as fruit and berries, include these foods at every meal, especially post workout.
Ideas for post workout meals
Chilli, spinach and mushroom omelette with slice of wholemeal bread, butter and steamed broccoli with lemon juice.
Baked salmon with pesto topping, small portion of brown rice and dark leafy salad with tomatoes (dress salad in olive oil, lemon and apple cider vinegar).
Turkey, red pepper, courgette and kale stir fry with baked sweet potato (a good base flavour for stir fries is fresh ginger, garlic, and chilli and a splash of soy sauce and/or big squeeze of lemon juice at the end).