My Post Workout Must Do's
All too often we go to the gym, finish our session and then dash off to the next thing - work, study, groceries, chores, whatever it is, we rush off without taking a breath, without reflecting, thanking or replenishing our bodies. I believe it is important to take a moment to reflect on the achievements of the session, enjoy that feeling of empowerment, that sweaty endorphin fuelled glow you only get from pushing yourself, to give yourself a little pat on the back or high-5 your training buddy, hydrate, and look at replacing the nutrients, protein, and electrolytes lost during your sweat session.
I've been a shocker, in my Ironman days I'd train for hours, skull some water, gobble a banana and then rush off to do something else. Before you know it, it's a couple of hours later, I'm hangry as hell and ultimately have missed the peak window of opportunity to help my body recover from what it did for me, and prepare it for the following days session. Our busy lives mean we so often miss the window of opportunity to provide the right fuel at the right time which is crucial to energy replenishment.
When #thehusband and I were planning the studio; we wanted to create a boutique feel to both our space and service. I insisted that I don’t want to rush clients out the door to make way for the next one, I want to give them the opportunity to take a breath, high five, reflect on their achievements, hydrate (still or sparkling?) and to have the option to refuel. With refuelling in mind, I was committed to the idea that a smoothie machine was a must have!
The science bit - Immediately after a workout, you enter a time period called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. This is your body’s metabolism operating at an elevated rate to recover, refuel and adapt to the work that you have just completed. EPOC levels are highest directly after exercise, creating the ideal time frame to have a post-workout drink.
I find smoothies/shakes a great option post workout; they're quick and easy to prepare, easily digested, and with the right ingredients help repair and build muscles while keeping me fuller for longer.
They provide a simple way to get the protein I need to build muscle, the carbs I need to restore the glycogen I burned during exercise (the body's energy store), along with antioxidants that fight inflammation and cell damage.
For prime muscle recovery, I aim to consume protein within 30 minutes after exercise. This is when muscles are best able to receive the fuel they need to recover. Protein doesn’t act alone in feeding your muscles though, in fact your body prefers a combination of carbohydrates and protein in a 3-to-1 ratio for best recovery. Together, carbohydrates and protein are the nutritional dream team for workout recovery.
A simple way to enjoy a recovery shake is through the many, and there are MANY, protein powders, each claiming something new and spectacular. I'm not averse to the use of protein powders; one scoop of protein powder can add anywhere between 10 – 25 grams of protein to your shake, which is a great way to make it more filling and balanced. I’ve been experimenting with food based protein options, using natural, readily available ingredients which also pack a host of additional health benefits. The trick with building a good post workout smoothie is to avoid too much fruit! Too much fruit turns it into a carbohydrate bomb, calorie dense with the potential for an insulin spike that leaves you tired and hungry a short time later. The key is to use protein and healthy fats to keep you fuller for longer! And there are a number of tasty ways this can easily be achieved.
Examples: 2tbsp chia seeds or 1/2 cup of oats = 6g of protein. ½ cup of Greek yogurt packs an incredible 11g of protein and adds so much creamy richness to your shake.
If you are a peanut butter lover, adding 2tbsp gives you 8g of protein and plenty of healthy fats to fill you up, or, by using ¼ cup ground raw almonds you get the nutty creamy richness of almond milk and 5g of protein!
Now that the studio is almost ready (excited!) I've been busy coming up with a smoothie/shake menu, the children have been happy taste testers and we have a few favourites in wait. Don't worry though ladies, the bliss balls will stay and I’m keeping track of the most popular! Protein rich bliss balls have always been my little treat for clients to enjoy post workout or at their leisure. A sweet treat with none of the naughties and plenty of goodness.
Did I ever mention I love my job?
Health and Happiness