IF YOU want to gain muscle and recover faster, add these six foods to your post-exercise plan.
Most fitness fanatics know chugging a protein shake after a session at the gym helps build muscle and aids recovery time.
Many gym-goers will even take BCCAs to help with accelerate recovery and helps to reduce muscle soreness the next day.
But you don’t always have to opt for a shake or bar after exercise as there are many ways of refuel post-workout.
Sports dietitian and Ironman athlete Marni Sumbal said: “Nailing your post-workout nutrition promotes quicker recovery, reduces muscle soreness, builds muscle, improves immune system functioning, and replenishes glycogen – all key building blocks in priming you for future workouts.”
So it’s ideal to eat and drink something within an hour or so after your workout to maximise those benefits.
But what you should you actually reach for?
Here are six post-workout meals that will speed up your recovery, so you can head back to the gym faster and stronger:
1. Whole eggs
According to a recent study, eating three whole eggs after a workout is the best way to build muscle faster.
The muscle-building response from whole eggs was about 40% greater compared to egg whites alone. And the yolks of a whole egg contain more fats which help to increase muscle mass.
2. Pomegranate juice
A recent study published in the journal Nutrients discovered that elite weightlifters who took pomegranate juice supplements before and after intensive training sessions experienced less muscle damage immediately after their workout and up to 48 hours later.
This is because the tasty drink is loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols which appear to dampen some of the stress your muscles take when lifting and help to speed up recovery.
3. Ricotta cheese
As little as 9g of dairy protein may be enough to kick-start the muscle-building process, according to research in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
It’s also a good source of whey protein, meaning it’s high in the essential amino acid leucine, which is especially effective at signalling mTOR to spark new muscle growth.
4. Smoked salmon
The omega-3s work their way into your muscle cells where they hep to reduce the damage that causes painful inflammation.
Research shows that higher intakes of the omega-3 fatty acids found in certain fish – like salmon, sardines and mackerel – may translate in lower levels of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after resistance exercise.
5. Sweet potato
Although it seems obvious to steer clear of carbs when trimming, they are essential during your recovery time.
So if you’re worried about your six-pack, the carbs you eat after training is actually used as energy, rather than stored as fat.
A report in the Journal of Applied Physiology shows that consuming card-rich foods like potatoes, grains and fruit can work to lessen the drop in immunity that may occur after intense exercise.
6. Herbal tea
If you’re a big fan of green tea, you’re in luck.
Downing a mug of herbal tea may help to boost your energy before a workout as it contains natural stimulants.
This comes down to compounds like phenol antioxidants, which are naturally found in the leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis shrub.