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Food tips, myths and facts

What to eat and drink after working out

Image credit: iStock/masta4650

What you eat and drink after a workout is important. Not only can opting for the wrong foods totally undo the hard work you’ve just put in, but the things you consume after exercising aid with your muscle recovery.

You need to ensure that what you eat and drink is healthy, as well as what the body needs. There is no point in eating fatty foods after you’ve put in time on the treadmill, as they will totally undermine the work you’ve done and will probably contain more calories than you managed to burn.

Instead, be wise about what food and drink you have after working out. Here are some of the best things you can have:

Water

This is probably the most important thing you can have after working out. Water helps to hydrate your body, which is really important after exercising as sweating can dehydrate you, leaving you feeling dizzy and achy.

H2O should be drunk even if you aren’t feeling thirsty as it will lubricate your muscles, aids in digestion and helps to regulate your body temperature, making it a vital part of your cooldown. You should also have a bottle of water to hand when you’re exercising.

Eggs

After working out, you need to consume a good source of protein, This is because protein helps with muscle repair and recovery following exercise, helping you to avoid feeling the negative effects of your workout the next day.

Eggs are a low-fat, complete protein source that also include branched-chain amino acids, which allow for even faster recovery. Hard-boiled eggs are low in calories and can easily be eaten following your workout. You should eat the entire egg, as the yolk contains half the protein even if it does have more calories.

There’s also no evidence to suggest that raw eggs are better than cooked ones, so don’t feel like you need to try and force them down after exercise.

Whey protein

If eggs aren’t really for you, you can also get a good amount of protein from some drinks. Whey protein powder can be made up into a drink that easy for you to consume after a workout.

Whey protein helps to burn fat and restore your energy levels while also aiding with muscle recovery, so it is the easiest way to get everything you need. You’ll find that a scoop of whey actually contains the same amount of protein as a chicken breast, so making up a drink with it has a lot of benefits.

Sweet potatoes

You need carbohydrates after working out in order to replenish your glycogen levels. In fact, you actually need more carbohydrates than you do protein following exercise, so you should bear this mind when grabbing a post-gym snack.

Sweet potatoes are a great option when it comes to carbs as they aren’t as starchy as white potatoes so won’t be so heavy in your stomach. They are also packed with other nutrients – including vitamin A – as well as a lot of carbohydrates, so are a good thing to include in your overall diet.

As well as being a good source of carbohydrates, sweet potatoes will keep you feeling fuller for longer. This means you’re less likely to grab an unhealthy snack after leaving the gym. For best results, eat your carbs within half an hour of finishing your workout, so that means having them prepared in advance.

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