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A spinach omelette, a protein shake or toast with peanut butter?
Seems like you’re always being told something different about which post-workout snack is best.
Research by the University of Stirling highlights that resistance exercise increases the breakdown of muscle proteins, and advises that optimal post-exercise nutrition should focus on muscle protein synthesis. This means a post-workout snack needs to focus on rebuilding muscle tissue that is damaged when you train.
Best post-workout snack?
Kayla Itsines suggests eating a combination of protein and carbohydrates after every training session as a post-workout snack or meal.
Protein is key to growth, maintenance and repair of the body’s cells, and provides the building blocks for a number of structures within the human body. So filling up on protein after a workout will repair the damage done to your muscles.
Kayla suggests animal foods such as red meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs as a post-workout snack, as they naturally contain all nine essential amino acids and are considered complete proteins.
Or if you’re vegan or vegetarian, plant foods such as beans, peas and lentils also contain protein, but they are considered incomplete proteins because they lack one or more of the essential amino acids.
If you still struggle to fit protein into a vegan diet, try using the best vegan protein powders for an extra boost.
While protein repairs that damage done by exercise, carbohydrates provide your body with glucose, the preferred source of energy for your body. This will replenish your muscles after they’ve been exhausted by your workout so is essential for a post-workout snack.
Kayla’s best sources of carbohydrates are grain-based foods such as bread, oats, muesli, rice and quinoa (wholemeal or wholegrain versions are even more beneficial as they are broken down slowly by the body and provide you with longer-lasting energy).
Kayla Itsines’ go-to post-workout snack
“I have a tuna roll,” says Kayla. “It sounds gross but something like that to get both carbs and protein back is great.”
Kayla explains that protein also generally leaves you more satisfied than carbohydrates or fats, which means that including protein foods at every meal may help reduce hunger and snacking.
“When choosing sources of protein to include in your meals I recommend ones that are low in saturated and trans fats.
“[After a workout] I wouldn’t have anything deep fried or drinks like Powerades or Gatorades.
“No big greasy meals and no sugary energy drinks after a workout. People drink red bull to keep energy up – but don’t do that.”
Kayla Itsines’ workout advice
“You may have an energy electrolyte drink, in little sips, during your workout, but I wouldn’t have one after a workout as it’s quite sugary.
“I don’t have those drinks but I do use a little electrolyte sachet sometimes when I’ve flown 30 hours and not drunk a lot of water. I sometimes get to London so dehydrated so will have an electrolyte during my workout.”
Want to know what will fuel your training? Read about what to eat before a workout and which foods to avoid pre-workout.