Most of us here at the Refinery love getting our sweat on on a regular basis. Nothing feels better than leaving The Warrior on Saturday morning after burning out my legs with Mari’s endless squats. People often ask me what are the best foods for recovery after an intense workout. Most of us are hoping to help alleviate soreness and fuel our body for the our next workout. While there are many foods that could help with recovery, these are a few that are easy and tasty to focus on. One thing most experts agree on is eating within 30 to 45 minutes of finishing your workout, to keep blood-sugar levels steady and fight fatigue and hunger. If it’s mealtime, have a 400- to 500-calorie meal and if it’s between meals, go for a 200-300 calorie snack that mixes protein with complex carbs. Remember a combination of high quality carbs and protein are essential.
Protein: During exercise, muscles protein is broken down, making recovery nutrition important in helping to rebuild. Eating a high quality source of protein like cage free eggs, salmon, organic chicken or a clean protein powder will give your body the amino acids it needs to rebuild your muscles. It is recommended to get between 10-20 grams of protein post workout. Be sure to include some carbs with your protein.
Black Beans: One cup of black beans provides about 15 grams of protein, plus another 40 grams of carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores lost during exercise. They also offer 15 grams of fiber for regularity and provide antioxidants that help repair muscle damage. A black bean burrito makes a great portable post workout meal.
Berry Protein Powder Smoothie: Create a smoothie blending 1 cup of nut milk of choice, 1/2 cup of berries of choice and 1 frozen banana and a single serving of protein powder of choice. This combination of ingredients offers carbs and protein for muscle repair as well as being loaded with antioxidants to reduce post exercise inflammation. The combination of berries and bananas also offers plenty of electrolytes to keep muscles working at optimal levels.
Dates Stuffed with Nut butter: Filling sliced dates with the nut butter of your choice offers a easy, portable post workout snack. The dates are high in beneficial polyphenols. These powerful antioxidants combat oxidation in our bodies and clean up the free radicals created by exercise to insure you get all the benefits of your hard work. The nut butter offers a high quality protein source for muscle repair. Both the dates and nut butter offer critical fiber for balanced blood sugar.
Homemade Electrolyte Drink: Our body requires electrolytic minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium to insure top performance of vital functions such as muscle contraction. Athletes who neglect this important component of fueling will decrease their performance, often incurring painful, debilitating cramps and spasms. While there are many workout refueling liquids for sale in the stores, I like to make my own to avoid all the harmful substances present in commercial brands. I love the recipe below.
HOMEMADE ELECTROLYTE SPORTS DRINK (Taken from The Nourishing Gourmet)
½ cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges, on average)
¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons, on average)
2 cups of filtered water
2 + tablespoons of raw honey, or sweetener of choice (to taste)
? teaspoon of unrefined salt (optional)
Blend all of the above ingredients together in a blender. Adjust flavor as desired, and serve. This should keep for about 2 days in the fridge.