Ever had a super intense post-gym craving for sugar? Or wanted to reward yourself with a burger and fries?
We’ve all been there! And indulging in a little junk food is fine, every now and then.
But if you want to stay in shape, or reach your weight loss goal, then you need to pay attention to what you eat after a workout.
After all, you could be hitting the gym every single day, and burning a huge load of calories, but if you’re not fuelling your body the right way after a workout, then you’re really missing a trick.
A healthy diet is not only essential to help your body repair and recover faster, but eating right will help make you ready to hit the gym again — without a rest day in between!
If you’re looking for a countdown of the best foods to eat after a workout, we’ve got you covered. Even better: these 6 foods will help you refuel, whilst supporting weight loss...
1. Eggs (both the white and the yolk!)
Enriched with protein, it’s no secret how nutritious eggs can be. But whilst many fitness fanatics skip the yolk — thinking only the whites are a good, regenerative snack — they’d be wrong.
Whole eggs have been found to encourage more protein synthesis post-workout than consuming egg whites alone — even if the protein content is exactly the same! And, what’s more, yolks have the necessary nutrients to aid muscle repair and recovery.
So whether you’re whipping them up hard-boiled, or poaching them on whole grain toast, eggs are a brilliant way to promote recovery and muscle health, whilst not stressing about gaining weight.
2. Cottage cheese
If you’re trying to lose weight, you might freak out at the mention of cheese.
But certain cheeses aren’t as bad as most people think — and cottage cheese is one of them! Super high in protein, cottage cheese also contains a high volume of leucine (an amino acid able to speed-up muscle growth and repair, by boosting protein synthesis).
If eating plain cottage cheese doesn’t fill you with excitement, we don’t blame you! Luckily, there’s plenty of other healthy foods you can have alongside.
For one, spoon it up with celery or carrot sticks, for a quick post-workout snack. Or if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you could even sprinkle it with a little powdered cinnamon and nutmeg!
And if you’re still not convinced, did you know that cottage cheese has been proven to help women lose weight? Cottage cheese is starting to sound a lot more interesting, right?
3. Banana and peanut butter shake
Whilst many people don’t associate liquids with being filling, a decent shake is quite the opposite! Able to satisfy you just as much as a solid meal, a banana and peanut butter shake is a great way of quickly getting nutrients back into your body after a workout.
After all, bananas are a guaranteed post-workout winner. The high concentration of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates provides a great nutritional boost to help your muscles repair. And as peanut butter is enriched with protein and ‘good’ fats, combining the two is a real powerhouse — and they taste delicious too!
Simply blitz together with milk (dairy or otherwise) and you’re good to go. And for an extra boost of protein, a scoop of protein powder is a worthwhile addition.
4. Sweet potato
If you’re one of those people who thinks avoiding carbs altogether is the key to weight loss, it’s time to reconsider.
Sure, excessive carbohydrates won’t do your weight loss goals any favours. But eating the right amount of complex carbs after a workout can be hugely beneficial.
So where will you find a source of complex carbs? Look no further than the sweet potato.
Not only are sweet potatoes delicious, they’re also a great source of long-lasting energy — meaning you’re a lot less likely to reach for snacks later in the day.
To top it off, sweet potatoes are also rich in copper and vitamin C, both of which help keep your muscles healthy and prevent excess breakdown of muscle tissue.
And preparing them doesn’t have to be time consuming! Simply cube one up, place in a microwave-safe bowl with a teaspoon of water, cover, and blast on a high heat for around 5 minutes until tender.
5. Whole grain bread
Similar to sweet potatoes, many see bread as one of the worst foods to eat when trying to lose weight. And whilst some types of bread aren’t the best, whole grain bread is rich in fibre and top-quality carbs known to help your muscles replenish.
A simple sandwich will do the trick, provided you’re careful with fillings. Lean chicken, eggs and even tuna are all great options as a small meal for after a workout.
6. Herbal tea
Herbal tea is probably not something you’ve ever considered post-workout, right?
Thing is, herbal tea can actually provide a wide range of weight loss and muscle recovery benefits — even if it’s not technically a food.
For example, research has shown that herbal tea can help recover muscle strength faster than just water. This means you’re much more likely to smash your next gym session instead of feeling tired and sore.
Plus, many herbal teas are rich in yerba mate, a compound found to help the body process protein more efficiently. So able to aid muscles in repairing at a faster rate, whilst improving overall strength, herbal tea is definitely not to be forgotten about.
Wondering what to eat after a workout? Now you know!
Whilst many assume consuming as few calories as possible is crucial for weight loss, this method isn’t strictly true.
Instead, it’s important to remember the more muscle mass your body has, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the entire day. And repairing or building muscle is almost guaranteed to accelerate weight loss for the better, and allow you to maintain your results on a long-term basis!
And for more information on how effective protein can be for your weight loss journey, check out our ultimate guide to protein powders, where all your burning questions are answered!