What to Eat & Drink After a Workout
There are six rules you should try and follow:
1. Eat within 30-60 minutes after exercise. You need to quickly replace the nutrients lost during exercise. Don’t underestimate the stresses placed on the muscles, joints, & bones as your body uses nutrients during exercise. Try and eat a ‘recovery’ meal as soon as possible otherwise you can feel weak, increase the risk of injury and delay recovery. Good examples are: Banana & peanut butter on wholegrain bread, Smoothies (homemade using fruit, protein powder, leafy greens, & almond butter), as well as omelettes with vegetables, avocados & black beans.
2. Have more than just protein. You also need good fat to heal the muscles and joints as well as healthy carbs such as sweet potatoes, beans & quinoa.
3. Keep it fresh. Avoid highly processed food and eat clean, nutrient rich whole foods.
4. Do not overeat. Don’t think that just because you have worked out you have a free pass to eat as much as you want in return. One muffin can contain as many calories as you have just burnt doing an hours exercise.
5. Rehydrate. If you sweat lots (and yes, you can sweat in water) or your workout lasts longer than 60 minutes you may need a sports drink rather than just water during your exercise. These replace the electrolytes you lose during sweat (sodium, potassium) as well as fuel you to keep you going. The general rule is to drink 2 cups (16ozs) of fluid 2 hours before exercise, another 16ozs 15 minutes prior and 4ozs every 15 minutes during. Post exercise aim for 16 ozs for every 1lb of body weight lost and monitor the colour of your urine – it should be pale straw coloured.
6. Watch your alcohol intake – moderation is fine but aim to eat first to start recovery. Lots of alcohol can affect recovery and result in lack of power and endurance for your next workout.