Diet & Nutrition

Burn, baby, burn! The best post-workout foods of 2017

Permission to eat MORE (delicious) food.

By Ellie McDonald

Be up in the gym, just working on your fitness... but still not seeing results? Join the (but-I-swear-I-do-plenty-of-Pilates!) club.

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^^^ We said it, but you were thinking it...

Well, whether it's your mission to lose 5 kilos in two weeks or you're just trying get your health back on track, perhaps the number of minutes you do or don't spend conditioning, strengthening, back-bending and cardio-ing may not be to blame. Perhaps it's knowing what to eat after a workout that makes all the difference...

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Although, before you wreak havoc on your chocolate-filled pantry (it's the pantry's fault you're addicted to Tim-Tams, obviously...), listen up: nutritionist and founder of Falling In Love With Food Zoe Bingley-Pullin has lined up the deceivingly delicious foods to tuck into after any type of workout.

Guilt free and good for you? Race you to the fridge...

What are the best foods to eat after a workout?

As Bingley-Pullin puts it, foods packed with protein, coupled with complex carbohydrates, should be on your to-eat list after a flushed-face cardio burn. Not only that, but Bingley-Pullin says healthy fats can also assist with satiety.

Why is it important to eat certain foods after exercising?

Once you finish a rigorous workout, your body is in recovery mode so, as Bingley-Pullin tells us, it's necessary to prevent muscle-tissue breakdown.

"Protein is critical for muscle repair and recovery coupled with complex carbohydrates to restore glycogen levels, which the body has used for energy," she explains.

"Eating well post-workout prevents dips in energy later on and controls insatiable appetite. Plus, eating and drinking well also replaces fluid and electrolyte losses."

When should I eat after a workout?

As Bingley-Pullin suggests, the ideal time to eat following a workout is 30-45mins after you've finished exercising.

"During this time, the body is essentially primed to rebuild and repair," she says. "This means the enzymes responsible for glycogen production are very active and eating soon after exercise takes advantage of this!"

OK, what but can we actually eat?

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What are the best kind of post-workout carbs I can eat?

  • Whole oats
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat/quinoa pasta
  • Sweet potato
  • Sourdough/rye/soy and linseed bread
  • Fruit – like a banana
  • Coconut water
  • Legumes – like chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans and mixed beans

What are the best kind of post-workout fats I can eat?

  • Avocado
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Raw nuts/seeds
  • Tahini/nut butter

What are the best kind of post-workout proteins I can eat?

  • Salmon/tuna
  • Eggs
  • Raw nuts/seeds
  • Poached chicken
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Soft cheese eg. cottage cheese/ricotta
  • Legumes – chickpea, lentils, mixed beans
  • Tofu/tempeh
  • Hummus
  • Pea or sprouted brown rice protein – vegan

If you're thinking of changing your diet in any way, be sure to speak to a nutritionist, dietitian or your GP first.

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