Most people only pay attention to what they eat before exercise, but post-workout meals and snacks are equally important to get the results you want, as well as to give your body the essential nutrients it needs to recover and rebuild for the next exercise session.
Why are post-workout meals so important?
During a workout, your muscles use glycogen stores for energy and this needs to be replenished quickly. So, choosing the right foods after your workout will promote quicker recovery and help to build muscle. It’s also important to remember to hydrate after your workouts to help with recovery. Hydration promotes an optimal internal environment for results. If your workout is particularly intense, an electrolyte drink is a great way to replenish the sodium and potassium lost through your sweat.
After strength workouts...
You're using weights and resistance to make tiny tears in your muscle fibres, which causes muscle proteins to get damaged in the process. However, eating the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats after your session helps to boost the process of rebuilding these muscle fibres so that they can be stronger.
After strength training, it's important to eat enough protein, either in the form of a quick protein shake or a meal with eggs, for instance, as protein gives the body the necessary amino acids to repair and rebuild. You need about 1.8-2g per kilogram. Eating healthy fats after working out can also promote muscle growth.
After endurance training...
Like cycling or running, meals that are higher in carbohydrates such as oats, rice and sweet potatoes are most beneficial to replenish your glycogen stores.
My number one tip for post-workout meals, is to prepare ahead. Because let's face it, no one has the time to prepare an elaborate meal after an exercise session, unless you train in the evenings and you need to make dinner afterwards.
After my morning workouts, I’m always in a rush to get out the door, so I like to make sure my post-workout meals are already ready, or require minimal preparation.
Here are 5 of my favourite post-workout meals and snacks I like to prepare in advance:
This is one of my favourite breakfasts because they're portable, quick, easy to make and delicious. Plus, eggs are a complete protein with all the essential amino acids your body needs to rebuild after a workout.
Prepare these egg muffins at the beginning of the week for a protein-rich post-workout breakfast every day. This recipe makes 9-12 depending on the muffin tin size and the egg size.
- 12 eggs
- Non-stick cooking spray, to coat pans
- 1 punnet fresh basil, shredded (optional)
- 1 punnet (250g) sliced rosa tomatoes, cut into quarters
- 1 tub basil pesto
- 300g block of grated mozzarella cheese
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Crack eggs into a bowl. Whisk the eggs and salt together.
- Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with spray. Divide basil, rosa tomatoes and cheese between each muffin cup, then carefully pour the eggs over the top until the muffin tins are almost full. Add salt if you’d like, then add a dollop of basil pesto to the top of each muffin.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. The egg muffins will look like soufflé when they come out of the oven, but they will sink after a few minutes. Let them rest in the muffin tin for a few minutes before using a rubber spatula to carefully remove each muffin.
- Let them cool and transfer to a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for a month.
You can’t go wrong with overnight oats. This recipe is delicious, healthy and tastes like dessert. It’s high in fibre, low in unhealthy saturated fat and offers slow-release carbohydrates. It’s one of my favourites to have after an intense workout, when I know I have a busy day of meetings.
Get creative and add some Super Scoop to get all your necessary superfoods, vitamins and nutrients in one quick meal! The Raw Cacao flavour is particularly delicious with oats. This recipe makes 1 serving or 2 small servings.
- ⅓ cup low fat plain yogurt
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ⅔ cup low fat milk of choice
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds or ground flaxmeal
- ½ t vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 0-1 teaspoon honey
- Strawberries or banana for toppings
All you need to do is whisk together all the ingredients, making sure they’re all mixed and dissolved thoroughly. Then spoon it into a jar with a tight lid and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours before eating, preferably overnight.
Avo and egg on toast
This meal idea is really simple, but healthy and great after an exercise session. All you need is a few slices of avocado mashed on a slice of whole-grain toast, with some lemon juice and a boiled egg. It’s great because it’s quick and easy to prepare!
Avocado is a healthy fat, egg is a complete protein and the whole grain bread is a slow-release carbohydrate, providing you with energy to replenish your glycogen stores.
Smoothies are ideal for days where you're not in the mood for a heavy meal before or after a workout. The key is to keep them simple and easy to digest, rather than loading them with too many complex ingredients. This recipe is packed with veggies thanks to the Super Scoop as well as the baby marrow. It makes 1 big glass.
- 1 scoop Berry Super Scoop
- 2 Tbsp rolled oats
- ½ cup raspberries, frozen
- 1 baby marrow, sliced
- ¼ avocado
- ¼ cup plain yoghurt
- 2 Tbsp honey
- ½ cup milk of choice
- ½ cup ice
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour into a glass and top with a light drizzle of honey.
Another one of my favourite post-workout meals rather than a creamy latte, this warm drink is so comforting and ideal for curbing chocolate cravings.
- 1 Scoop Very Berry Super Scoop
- 1 heaped tsp cocoa powder
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, or milk of choice
- ½ tsp stevia powder or 1 Tbsp honey, maple syrup, xylitol syrup or agave
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- Add milk to a small pot and bring to the boil.
- Lower the temperature and add the superfoods, cocoa, sweetener (and coffee if using), then whisk until well combined.
- Lastly, add the coconut oil and stir.
- Pour into a mug and serve immediately.
- If you prefer a cool drink, don’t warm the milk and enjoy it cold.