Whatever your goal with exercise, looking after your body and helping it to recover after an intense workout is of critical importance. If you don’t look after your body and feed it the right things, then your ability to do exercise or work out will decline.
It is important to consider the goals of sports nutrition; to provide adequate fuel, prevent dehydration, achieve and maintain the right lean and fat mass and promote recovery. The nutrition goals surrounding exercise also depend on the intensity of the exercise you are doing. I am a long distance runner, so my post-run go-to caters towards the needs of someone undergoing a long but fairly low-intensity workout. In this instance your muscles use both carbs (in the form of muscle glycogen) and fatty acids for fuel, and so for my post-workout go-to, I aim to get my calories from 20% fat, 20% protein and 60% carbs.
However, many of my male friends opt for higher intensity workouts like sprinting or muscle building through weight lifting! For these types of exercises your muscles are using basically all carbs (again muscle glycogen), but are also at more risk of getting damaged due to the increased stress you are putting them under. In this instance I would recommend that your post-work out go-to is a little higher in protein; 20% fat, 25% protein and 55% carbs, the extra protein being used to repair muscle damage.
Hydration is also super important before, during and after exercise. During exercise we lose a lot of water through sweating and through breathing. If we aren’t hydrated then our ability to carry out exercise declines and the ability of our muscles to work properly post exercise declines – your muscles will start to feel like jelly! So this is also super important to consider when deciding what to reach for after the gym.
With this in mind, we have put together a smoothie that has the formula to help post-workout recovery, with an ingredients list that is packed full of goodness. The sweet potato in particular, as well as providing a portion of your 5-a-day, is a great source of non-starchy carbohydrate, so will help replace muscle glycogen lost during the work out so you can carry on with your day without tired muscles!
Both the chia seeds and flaked almonds in this recipe provide a source of protein, essential post-exercise to help your muscles repair, especially for those of you recovering from a high intensity workout or those trying to build muscle.
Both oranges and lemons are packed with vitamin C – not a sport-specific nutrient per se, but very important for overall health (including immune health, without which a work out would never happen!).
Last but not least, the coconut water top up ticks off our post work-out hydration box – but feel free to drink as much as you want throughout the day after a workout!