Fuelling Your Body Post-Workout

Feeding Your Body the ‘Right’ Food

Your diet and nutrition is always really important. You need to know what you’re putting into your body and the effect that this is having on your body and your progress. This is essential in day to day life but especially after a workout. Once you’ve been to the gym, burnt calories and built up a sweat, you need to refuel your body almost instantly with the best food and drink. This will help you make a positive impact on your fitness journey and reach your goals faster.

Bicep workouts - woman curl

The Importance of Nutrition

Regardless of your fitness goals, people tend to gravitate towards the gym to help them get there and that’s great! For weight loss, we’d recommend dedicating some of your gym sessions purely to cardio training on treadmills, stairclimbers or stationary bikes or following HiiT routines in our spacious fitness studios. For muscle growth and weight gain, we’d suggest working out in the free weight zones and using resistance machines.

At Xercise4Less, we’re proud to offer quality facilities to help you do this freely. However, all of your progress at the gym can be slowed down if you aren’t eating the best food to suit your goals. This is why it’s important to pay attention to your nutrition because this is what makes the biggest impact on your body. For weight loss, you need to be in calorie deficit. This means that you’re eating less calories than you’re burning. Weight loss is often associated with foods such as salads and vegetables but you don’t need to cut out any major food groups and eat food you don’t enjoy in order to lose weight. You can follow a balanced diet that consists of fats and carbs and still lose weight; as long as you’re in a deficit.

Similarly, with weight gain, your diet is incredibly important. You need to be in calorie surplus but with clean foods. Gaining weight needs to be doing correctly so try and avoid junk, fried foods where you can because although these are calorie-dense foods, they’re also high in saturated fats that you should avoid where you can no matter your fitness goals.

Optimise Sleep Blog - Healthy Food

What to Eat After Your Workout

Once you’ve smashed your gym session at Xercise4Less and are coming round into a period of recovery, you need to have a think about what you’re going to eat. We recommend eating within 30 minutes to an hour after your workout.

During a period of exercise, your body breaks down your muscles and uses a lot of energy to help you going throughout your session, so by consuming a healthy meal within an hour of your workout, you’ll notice a positive impact on your body. Protein and carbs should be high up on your recipe list after your workout.  Don’t forget to include some healthy fats in your meal too as they will help you to recovery quicker. Carbohydrates are great for muscle repair and growth so regardless of your fitness goals, you need to have a healthy amount of these in your diet, especially post-exercise. Lean protein is a great source of energy whether you’re focused on weight loss or weight gain; just be wary of your deficit or surplus.

Some good examples of things that you could eat after your gym session include:

  • Porridge with Fruit and a Protein Shake
  • Protein Pancakes with Berries and a Banana
  • Poached Eggs with Wholegrain Toast
  • Grilled Chicken, Sweet Potato or Rice and Avocado
  • Tuna Pasta with Avocado, Cucumber and Tomatoes
  • Wholegrain Wraps with Turkey/Chicken/Tofu/Quorn
  • Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter
  • Yoghurt with Fruit
  • Smoothies

These meals and snacks can help you replenish your body and cure that instant hunger that you’re guaranteed to feel once your workout is over. Whilst your food is super important, so is your drinking. You lose a vast amount of water as you sweat during your workout so try to drink a litre of water in the first 1-2 hours after your workout. This will keep you hydrated and prevent headaches and excess fatigue.

Re-Opening Xercise4Less Safely Soon

We’re really excited to re-open our doors and have all of our members back soon. When you’re a member of Xercise4less Gyms, you will be supported to become better and reach your fitness goals.  Our gym facilities are full of equipment as well as that help you shed excess weight or build up your strength. Not forgetting that we have exclusive Ladies Only Gym Zone to allow our female members to feel comfortable during their workout.

Once we re-open, we’ll be taking extra precautions throughout our clubs to help our members stay safe. This includes introducing additional cleaning and social distancing practices. If you’re wanting to restart your fitness journey following Covid-19, register your interest with Xercise4Less Gyms for our exclusive re-opening gym offers. You’ll have plenty of space to workout your way at any of our gym locations across the UK; in most cases we’re double the size of other high street gyms.

Post Workout Foods To Eat After Your Fitness Session

Make the most of working out by ensuring that what you eat after training will help you get the best nutrients into your body and not hinder your post-workout recovery. Put the best fuel in your body and you supercharge the restoration of your body’s energy stores and the growth of your muscles. In your everyday life, it may be better to eat low GI foods which digest your meals more gradually like certain types of fat and fibre. But after a tough exercise session you want food that can be absorbed rapidly by your body so your post-exercise session recovery can begin in earnest.

So, what should you eat after your workout? For optimal nutrition after exercising, you should eat carbs and protein primarily. These types of food help your body increase muscle protein synthesis or growth, rebuild your reserves of glycogen energy and generally enhance your recovery. Eating the right protein and carbohydrates soon after you exercise will help your body recover faster and make you feel ready sooner for another trip to the gym!

When to Eat After a Tough Workout

Don’t delay eating after an energising session. Try to get some food into your body within 45 minutes of working out and definitely eat before two hours has elapsed. The timing of your post-workout meal does matter as you want your recovery process to be as efficient as possible and to start as soon as possible. In some studies, gym users lost up to 50% of their glycogen restoration by delaying their after-workout feed for more than two hours. If you want to maximise the muscle-building and fat-losing benefits of your gym workout, then you need to eat as soon as possible after your exercise session finishes.

Drink First for Effective Post Workout Recovery

Before you eat your fill of carbs and protein after your workout, make sure to take in plenty of liquid. Keep rehydrating after your exercise as you will have lost plenty of water and electrolytes through all that sweat. Replenishing these with water or a healthy liquid after a workout can really help your recovery and maximize your fitness results.

refuelling after workout - post workout foods blog

Feed Your Fitness with Plenty of Protein

Protein helps repair and build muscle so it’s ideal for your post-workout snack or meal. During a sweaty gym session muscle protein is broken down. By eating a sufficient amount of protein after exercising you provide your body with the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. You also offer your body the material required to add new muscle tissue. Simple and easily digested protein sources that you could include in your after-training meal include:

Animal or plant-based protein powder

  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Chicken
  • Protein bar (but check the label for ingredients, particularly sugars)
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
protein food - post workout food blog

Cram in Some Carbs After Your Gym Exercise

You’re usually panting after an energetic session in the gym and no wonder. Your body’s energy reserves, glycogen stores, have been expended in your fitness workout. A great way to help replenish glycogen after exercise is to eat some carbs. As cardio causes your body to use more glycogen than strength training you might need to consumer more carbohydrates than a weightlifter typically would. While eating, both carbs and protein can maximize protein and glycogen recovery so you should try constructing your after-exercise meal in a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 3:1. Carbs that are ideal ingredients in healthy post-workout meals include:

  • Dark, leafy green vegetables
  • Quinoa
  • Fruits (particularly pineapple, berries, banana, and kiwi)
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Sweet potatoes

Foods You Should Avoid After a Workout

What foods should you avoid post-workout? As we mentioned above, fat and fibre should be avoided for the most part after training. Why? Fat and fibre slow down the rate of digestion at just the moment you want foods that are rapidly absorbed so you promote weight loss and muscle growth. Fat won’t however reduce the benefits of your workout overall so having some good fats in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery. Fats you could include in a healthy post-workout recipe include:

  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Nut butters

A Fun Diet of Fitness with Xercise4less Gyms

When you’re a member of Xercise4less Gyms, we always support you to perform better and to reach your fitness goals. And a great way to supercharge your fitness journey is to eat great foods after your gym session. But consuming the right nutrients after you exercise isn’t the only secret of success for Xercise4less gym members.

Our gym facilities are full of calorie-burning equipment as well as innovative workout areas that help you shed excess weight faster like the Ladies Only Gym Zone. You can also pick your favourite group workout from up to 40 top fitness classes or train with our personal fitness staff to create an individual exercise plan that will work for you. Join Xercise4less Gyms and you’ve taken the first bite of a real recipe for improved health and wellbeing.