Post and pre-workout nutrition plays a key role in your results and workout performance. What you eat after exercise is just as important as what you eat before. During exercise, energy levels exhaust rapidly and muscles stores deplete. It’s important to eat following a workout to help replenish the stores that have been used during your workout.
After your workout, the likes of blood sugar levels, creatine, glycogen and BCAA levels will be lower, so they need to be replenished. Post-workout snacks can help replenish these stores in the body if they are comprised of the two main macronutrients: protein and carbohydrates both of which play their own important role in replenishing stores.
Creatine and BCAAs are found in some of the foods that we eat, including meat and fish, which is why protein is so important post-workout. Your body only produces creatine in small amounts, and can’t produce BCAAs at all. Protein is vital to replenish creatine and BCAA stores within muscles. BCAA’s are the main building blocks of protein. Protein synthesis must exceed protein breakdown to maintain and gain muscle mass. Carbohydrates contain glucose, helping to restore glycogen levels – and as a result of consuming both, insulin levels could also rise.
It’s recommended that you have a post-workout snack within 30 minutes of finishing your training – and here are a few examples of what you could eat:
- Peanut butter and rice cakes
- Hummus and pita (preferably wholemeal)
- Yoghurt and fresh berries
- Tuna and whole wheat toast
- 1-2 hardboiled eggs
Of course, don’t forget to rehydrate yourself after a workout. During exercise, you lose a lot of water through sweat, so it is vital to rehydrate yourself immediately after. Drink plenty of water alongside your post-workout snack.