Want to know what to eat after your workout to maximize your exercise efforts and make them count? Read our Eat This, Not That: Post-Workout Edition article to learn more!
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So, it’s the New Year and you’re working out once, twice or maybe even more a week? Amazin’! Most of us feel great after a workout due to a mix of endorphins and a feeling of accomplishment, but post-workout meals can be a source of stress rather than pleasure. Conflicting information, expensive products, and the pressure to “make the most” of your effort in working out can result in a lot of confusion as to what is “best” to eat post-workout.
But post-workout meals don’t have to be expensive, difficult to prepare, or bland and unexciting. So ditch the pressure and make these small choices to best refuel your body after your workout!
Drink Coconut Water, Not Sports Drinks
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Everyone knows rehydration is important after every workout, especially a lot of sweat was involved. And when we think rehydration, we think of sports drinks. But sports drinks often contain relatively high amounts of added sugar and even sodium, which the typical exerciser does not require after working out.
So, first ask yourself whether you are about to go for a routine workout, or an especially intensive one. If the answer is “routine”, then water will be your best rehydrator. If you are pushing yourself with an intense (sweaty) workout lasting more than 60 minutes, why not try some fresh coconut water? Abundantly found in our tropical climate, coconut water is great in taste and contains natural sugars, sodium and potassium to ensure ideal rehydration!
Drink Smoothies, Not Protein Shakes
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Every fitness fan has heard of it: Protein. Protein is an important nutrient to build muscles but do we really need that much of it? The answer again depends on your workout intensity level. Chances are, for the average exerciser, your diet is already providing you with more than enough protein for muscle recovery.
So instead of protein shakes, which can contain added sweeteners and are never a balanced meal, try a homemade smoothie instead! Simply mix your favorite milk (dairy or soy for higher protein content) with a banana for a creamy texture, energizing carbs and extra potassium. Then, add a spoon of natural nut butter to increase the protein content and to add some healthy fats to keep you satisfied longer. Et voilà: a perfectly balanced post-workout smoothie!
Eat Nuts, Not Protein Bars
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Protein bars are often marketed as the perfect post-workout snack. They’re convenient, usually come in a variety of flavours, and appear healthy – at least on the outside. However, most protein bars are packed with sugar, filler carbohydrates, and artificial additives.
To avoid this, choose some wholesome nuts instead. A handful of nuts provides you with healthy fats and proteins to fuel your body and keep you full for longer. They are as convenient as protein bars and are far less sugary. You can either enjoy them all natural or roasted and flavoured – but do check the ingredients list and be aware of added refined sugars and saturated fats!
Eat Brown Rice, Not White Rice
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Although a lot of focus is given to protein as a post-workout must, carbohydrates are actually also equally crucial to ensure the right recovery after a workout. After expending energy, our bodies set to work replenishing glycogen stores – and it needs carbohydrates to do so. Carbohydrates come in many different forms such as rice, bread, and potatoes. But, many of the commercially sold options for carbohydrates are overly processed and nutrient-poor.
To overcome this, an easy rule of thumb is to choose the most wholesome and least processed option. Brown rice for example provides you not only with carbohydrates, but also with fiber and vitamins and minerals! Additionally, brown rice will release energy into your body at a slower rate. This allows your body to comfortably process it into glycogen while keeping your blood sugar stable over time.
So the next time you amp yourself up to do a workout, don’t stress about what comes after! Make simple choices day-to-day, and reap the rewards in the long run. And don’t forget to let us journey with you through our New Year, New Choices campaign – read more about it HERE!