Protein shakes are pretty common after an intense workout, right?
While the likes of bodybuilders and vegetarians may benefit from protein supplementation, the average gym-goer will get more than enough protein from the real deal. Think lean sources of meat, fish, eggs, nuts, dairy, legumes and whole grains.
Hightailing for high fats
You’ve just done a 60-minute spin class, so hoeing into peanut butter treats works wonders? Not necessarily.
Ingesting only fats (even if they are the healthy kind) fails to provide your muscles with all the raw material they need to replenish and repair. This is mainly because exercise recovery relies on a balanced blend of carbohydrates and protein, too.
‘Low’ or ‘no’ carbs
Turns out carbs are not the enemy. If you avoid them in your after-activity feed, you’ll fail to adequately replenish the energy you’ve just burnt, in addition to leaving you under-recovered the next time you hit the gym.
This combination will help you replenish glycogen stores as well as stimulate the growth of new muscle protein. Good post-training options include wholegrain bread with lean protein, such as eggs or tuna and salad; stir-fry with lean meat, vegetables and brown rice; or a salad with sweet potato and legumes.
Supplements over sustenance
If you’re doing more than 90 minutes of high-intensity training at a time, then a sports drink will help replace the fluids you lose. The electrolytes (e.g. sodium) will help to regulate the body’s fluid balance (compared to water alone), while the carbohydrates provide energy to replenish the energy after a session. But for most, this isn’t necessary and the excess calories will only end up on your waistline.
Bars with no benefits
You shouldn’t judge a bar by its cover; especially an energy bar. Unfortunately, even the most popular post-workout bars are often no better than your average chocolate bar. The reason is many of them are sugar-rich and ultra-processed offering little ‘refuel value’.
If you love grabbing a bar on-the-go post-sweat, make sure you scan its nutritional value and swap ultra-processed kinds for ones made of real foods and whole grains. The shorter the ingredients list, the better.
Drinking your way to dehydration
Turns out treating yourself to an alcoholic beverage after a work out can result in a potentially dangerous effect: dehydration.
As you can imagine, not hydrating effectively after a grind at the gym can inhibit your muscle recovery. Further, drinking is a real culprit for disrupting sleep quality — another physiological function that’s critical for post-workout replenishment.
So, next time you hit the gym, make sure you’re refuelling with the right food, or that workout may just be a waste of time!
Source: ZM Online