Post-Workout Nutrition Rules

Post-Workout Nutrition Rules

We give plenty of thought to a pre-run porridge or pre-spin smoothie but did you know what you eat post-workout is just as important? Whether you’re not seeing the results you’d hoped for or are feeling sore the following day, you may well be committing one of these post-gym nutrition sins. To find out more, we caught up with Alex Beaumont, nutritionist from leading protein and active nutrition brand grenade, and David Wiener, training and nutrition specialist at Freeletics, for their advice...

Ignore The Protein Window

“It’s a myth that you need to eat some form of protein within 30 minutes of finishing a workout. If you can, that’s great, but the magic window doesn’t disappear the minute you step out of the gym. Theoretically, you don’t need to rush down a protein shake, but do try to eat well over the next 24 hours. Your body will still reap the benefits from any quality protein you have over the next day or so, so be mindful of all of your meals.” – Alex Beaumont, nutritionist at Grenade

Carbs Aren’t The Enemy

“Just like fats, carbs are a thing many people think they need to avoid when burning fat, but this isn’t the case. During an intense workout, your energy (glycogen) stores reduce and this can weaken your immune system. Topping up your glycogen stores post workout will help reduce this and get you on the road to recovery, enabling you to go harder and faster at your next session. For this reason, it’s absolutely fine to have white carbs after a tough workout. No food should be feared or avoided, but rather consumed at the right time and in the right amounts.” – Alex Beaumont

Avoid Caffeine

“Countless studies have shown coffee can increase fat-burning during training and heighten motivation, but be wary of drinking it after your workout. Caffeine can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can delay recovery, meaning you’ll feel fatigued for longer. My advice? Stick to a pre-workout coffee instead.” – David Wiener, David Wiener, training and nutrition specialist at Freeletics

Be Wary Of Smoothies

“Smoothies can provide a healthy dose of nutrients post-workout, just take note of what’s in your blend before you order. In my opinion, a balanced post-exercise smoothie contains a combination of yoghurt and fruit – the natural sugars in fruit will help restore glycogen levels and replace lost carbs while yoghurt contains both protein and fat, both of which will help repair muscles and reduce inflammation. One of the best fruits to eat after a workout is a banana – they are bursting with potassium, which can help prevent muscle cramping and stiffness.” – David Wiener

Invest In Protein Powder

“A protein powder can be a great way to pack in nutrition post-workout – they can be added to smoothies, overnight oats and porridge as well as made into healthy pancakes. However, don’t be lured in by cheap protein powders as you always get your money’s worth. Cheaper varieties are often full of rubbish and poor quality, limiting its benefits and wasting your money. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a whey protein powder – whey is quickly digested by the body and is rich in branched-chain amino acids (also known as BCAA).” – Alex Beaumont

Forget Sports Drinks

“The rule of thumb when it comes to post-workout hydration is if your workout was less than an hour, stick to normal water. If you had a particularly gruelling session, sweated lots or were active for more than an hour, consider a sports drink with added electrolytes. However, some are full of sugar and sweeteners so always read the label.” – Alex Beaumont

Try A Protein Bar

“If you know your next meal won’t be for a while, consider a protein bar. However, always do your research – aim for a bar that has at least 20g of protein, less than 30g of carbs and as much fibre as possible. This combination will really help your muscles to recover and fill you up until your next meal. Also keep an eye on calorie count – if you’re looking to lose weight, a 400-calorie protein bar will do you no favours. Try one of Grenade’s protein bars, which have around 220 calories per bar, at least 20g of protein and 6g fibre.” – Alex Beaumont

Always Refuel Wisely

“Protein is widely recognised as a post-workout essential but carbs are also a vital part of recovery. One of the biggest mistakes I see women making when refuelling post-workout is their nutrition choices. They either think they should just stick to a small salad (under-fuelling is a real thing) or think they can eat anything they want as they’ve just worked out. Post-workout nutrition is one of the most important things for people looking to lose weight or gain muscle and is one of the most common mistakes made which tarnishes results.” – Alex Beaumont

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