Depending on the time of day and the type of exercise you are doing, it's quite likely you're going to want a little summin-summin after your workout. If you've just done a 2hr vinyasa yoga sesh you're probably starving. Same goes with a long run, a quick HIIT workout, even a Body Pump class. All these sorts of activities burn energy, use up fuel stores, tear your muscles to promote muscle repair and growth, and have you sweating and thus losing hydration. So, a good slosh of filtered water along with a protein-rich, muscle-repairing, re-fuelling snack is just what your body needs. But what should you be eating?
1. Protein Shake.
The quickest and easiest option out there. But don't be fooled. You don't have to have this after every single sweat sesh, and they will not make you bulk up! The reasons these are so popular is because protein in a liquid form gets digested, and into the blood stream, back to where your body wants it to repair your torn muscles much quicker than a solid meal does. And it's not all that filling so it's an easy way to get added protein into your diet. Have a play with protein powders, see which ones you like, and more importantly, which ones like you. I've had some clients that feel the extra protein gives them long standing energy all day everyday and they quickly notice the effects when not having it.
Try whey protein isolate (fastest absorbing) or concentrate, brown rice, pea, hemp, pumpkin seed, carob or egg protein powders. I'd steer clear of soy based ones unless you know they are GM free. Add a scoop or two to a shaker bottle, add water, coconut water or almond milk, shake and you're good to go!
2. Boiled egg or two
Something you can prepare earlier and just munch straight into. Anyone who eats eggs, usually loves them, and for good reason. Eggs are the gold standard when it comes to protein content, supplying all amino acids making it a complete protein. And with it are a butt load of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin which reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults. Add in vitamins A, D and E (all found in the yolks), B2, B9, B6, B12, along with iron, choline, calcium, phosphorus and potassium... what more could you ask for in the humble egg? A brilliant snack!
3. Banana + Almonds
Awesome after a long yoga sesh when you feel like something more than just a shake as you probably haven't eaten anything in a few hours. A banana replenishes your carbohydrate and energy stores and provides you with an easily digestible fuel, and the potassium in them balances electrolytes and fluids after your sweat sesh. The almonds are your protein content to help build and repair your muscles after you've used them. Almond butter with an apple is another popular option I'm seeing more of. Add a little cinnamon... ooo! You've just up'ed the antioxidant content and blood sugar stabilising help.
4. Green Smoothie
With a little fruit, leafy greens (nothing too fibrous and hard to digest here tho - spinach, cos, rocket, mixed salad mix are all good), some superfoods like bee pollen or spirulina (both high in protein), coconut oil (great for immune health which can be taxed post workout), coconut water to rehydrate and balance your mineral salts after sweating, with a little protein powder as well, you've got yourself a wham-bam-thank-you-mame ripper post workout re-fuel smoothie!
5. Bliss Balls
With an awesome combo of nuts and seeds for protein, satiety, good fats, vitamins and minerals, along with a little dried fruit high in potassium and natural sugars, then whatever other goodies are in there (cacao and cinnamon are high antioxidant rich foods, bee pollen for protein and immunity, coconut oil for thyroid and metabolic health...) pre-made or bought from a health food store, these tasty little gems are always a winner!
And one extra note...
If you work out first thing in the morning or just before dinner, it's not necessary to have a post workout snack if you're going to be munching down on brekkie or dinner straight after your shower. Get up, drink water, train, shower, then eat brekkie. If your schedule doesn't allow and after your shower you're straight out the door, then make sure you grab and drink a smoothie or one of the above snacks if breakfast won't be for another hour or so. The same goes in the evenings - if training is straight after work and dinner isn't for a few hours, choose your snack girl. You earnt it!