Confession: I didn’t really like working out much… that is until I got my hands on some sports bras that actually got the twins under control. Now I’m really digging my workouts… that is until I’m post-workout hangry and reaching for the most convenient, yet least satisfying crap I can find. I’ll spare you the long backstory and just get to the plant-based protein of the matter. You gotta eat after you workout. More than that, you gotta eat the right stuff in order to refuel, repair, and rehydrate.
- Refuel your glycogen (carbohydrate) stores to avoid muscle tissue breakdown and low energy.
- Lack of glucose to fuel the brain can lead to decreased alertness and concentration, and low mood.
- Aim for high quality carbohydrates sources (think wholegrain breads and cereals).
- Repair damaged muscles with protein.
- Consuming protein post-workout will provide amino acids for the building and repair of muscle tissue. This will help you to recover more quickly.
- Aim for lean protein sources (think eggs, nuts, legumes, tofu and dairy).
- Rehydrate with fluids.
- Your thirst is not the best gauge of hydration. You should totally be sipping on water throughout the day. Also, these homemade electrolyte replenishing sports drinks are everything.
Here’s a breakdown of what you should be eating after your workout according to your preferred exercise.
Cardio includes running, spin class, and any endurance training. It’s important to replenish your carbohydrate stores after any cardio routine. Think foods that are high in quality carbs, protein, and healthy fats.
- Whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices
- a banana and a handful of nuts
- 1-2 slices of whole grain toast with either ricotta and fruit or cottage cheese and tomato (try this delicious recipe)
Yoga and Pilates
It’s important to repair tired muscles after any yoga or pilates routine. Protein and low GI carbs are key here. Think foods like tofu, hard boiled eggs, roasted vegetables, or trail mix.
- Yogurt and muesli that contains fruit and nuts
- chopped veggies and hummus
- two hard boiled eggs with a slice of multigrain toast
Resistance, Strength Training, Crossfit
These are the most intense workouts of the bunch. Nutrient dense foods are essential. Think foods that are high in protein and other nutrients, but low in fat (especially if muscle gain is your goal). Smoothies are an excellent choice, but if you need something more think eggs, oats, yogurt, and pineapple. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that may help reduce inflammation brought on by exercise.
- omelet with red or green bell peppers and spinach
- fruit salad (remember to include pineapple!)
- overnight oats- simply combine oats, yogurt or non dairy milk, mashed banana and chia seeds and place in the fridge overnight. It’ll be ready for tomorrow’s workout