When it comes to maximizing your efforts in the gym, proper fueling and nutrition are important. What you eat after your workout is almost as important as the workout itself. Building muscle, restoring glycogen, improving recovery and offsetting inflammation are all things that can be improved with optimal nutrition. Check out the three workout categories below paired with a food we think is amazing to have after each sweat session. Stock up your fridge on all these foods after you book each of your ClassPass classes.
Lengthening and toning exercises
What to eat: bananas
The most popular trend in yoga right now is to do a class in super sweaty, heated rooms. While this does open up our bodies more quickly for some intense yoga poses, it poses a threat when it comes to dehydration and lack of electrolytes. To properly fuel your muscles with a healthy source of carbohydrates, bananas replenish potassium preventing any muscle cramps and fluid imbalance that may be caused post-extra sweaty sessions. When we sweat, we lose electrolytes and potassium is one of those main electrolytes.
What to eat: hard-boiled eggs
While barre is a kick-butt workout that focuses on isometric movements, core strength and stretching, the activity alone doesn’t quite get your heart rate up. The best thing to have post-workout is a source of easy-to-digest protein to help build those tiny muscles but also one that is low-calorie and can be a complete meal. Hard-boiled eggs are only 60 calories each and provide easy to digest amino acids that help build muscle and healthy fats to keep you full longer than a high-carb snack.
What to drink: smoothie
Since Pilates tends to have such a focus on core movements, it is common for people to do the class on a fairly empty stomach or small snack prior. To break your fast in a way that will prevent bloating, we recommend choosing a protein smoothie with partially digested amino acids. These amino acids will be easy to digest and readily absorbable to help repair muscles. The smoothie also adds hydration and other superfoods to help you feel energized post-class.
Strength training exercises
What to eat: grilled salmon
Most people know how essential protein intake is post-strength training workout due to the fact you need to repair and build muscle, but many people think beef, cottage cheese or chicken. Our pick is salmon because it is a low saturated fat protein which helps repair muscles while decreasing total cholesterol. Strength training can also be very taxing on the body, causing inflammation and salmon provides the body with essential fatty acids which help decrease inflammation in the body.
What to drink: ginger tea
Anyone who has taken a TRX class before knows how crazy sore you can get the next day. Muscles that you never knew even existed could get tapped into, leaving you with the worst D.O.M.S. (delayed-onset muscle soreness) ever. Studies have shown that, while ginger doesn’t have an impact on soreness the same day as the exercise, it does show relief for the following day as compared to the placebo. If ginger tea is not your thing, add fresh ginger to any dishes at home you see fit. We recommend oatmeal, yogurt or even marinades for chicken.
What to eat: chicken and quinoa
Circuit training is usually a class that combines strength training movements with bouts of cardio. This combination makes recovery similar to strength training but requires more post-workout carbs. It is recommended to get a 3:1 ratio of carb to protein post-circuit training, and what better combo of protein and carb than chicken and quinoa? Chicken provides a very filling source of protein while quinoa provides a high fiber carbohydrate for steady blood sugar and glycogen replenishment.
What to drink: tart cherry juice
Tart cherry juice has been shown to help decrease post-race pain in runners compared to their placebo group in a research study done at Oregon Health and Science University. How? Montmorency cherries contain a good dose of anthocyanins which are powerful flavonoids seen to have anti-inflammatory properties. Think cherry juice is too tart? We recommend making a kale salad with pumpkin seeds, carrots and dried cherries! A perfect way end your run.
What to eat: avocado toast
Cycle class is high-intensity and really makes you sweat, but in return can make you quite hungry. If your goal is weight loss, you’ll need something that will keep you full and satisfied without large volumes of food. Avocado toast provides complex carbs to replenish needed glycogen post-workout and a healthy source of fat that will help keep you full all morning.
What to eat: whole grains
Dancing may seem super fun, but those classes are very demanding aerobically for the body. This means your demands for carbohydrates are higher. Instead of grabbing low-fiber carbs, we recommend opting for whole grains such as quinoa, farro, amaranth and oats. These complex carbs will help replenish glycogen but not spike your blood sugar.
When it comes to any exercise, make sure to fuel your body with whole foods, drink a lot of water and get plenty of fruits and vegetables for potassium intake. What you eat post-workout is just as important as the workout itself. Obviously, it is okay to indulge in a nice treat for a reward here and there, but remember that what you put in your body also reflects what you put out.