12 of best foods to eat after a muscle building gym workout

Protein World's nutritionist Hannah Pendlebury selects the best foods you can eat after a muscle building workout at the gym

Hannah Pendlebury from Protein World
By Hannah Pendlebury from Protein World
Your post-workout diet is important Photo: Protein World

1) Sweet potato

The first macronutrient that needs to be fulfilled in your post-workout meal is carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes are rich in carbs, fibre, beta carotene, potassium and manganese. Your body’s glycogen levels drop after a workout so replenishing them with complex carbs is vitally important.

2) Full fat cottage cheese

Contains a high source of casein – slowest digesting protein you can eat, allowing for extended muscle recovery from training. Cottage cheese also contains live cultures (good bacteria) which help breakdown and absorb essential nutrients that can enhance strength and size. Great bed time snack.

Wild Salmon is rich in fatty acids and protein Photo: Protein World

3) Wild salmon

Provides one of the richest sources of omega 3 fatty acids and amino acids that also gets you around 20g of protein per 100g serving.

4) Protein shakes added with carbs

A post-workout shake added with carbs such as oats will jump-start the recovery process and maximise the results after a training session. The protein helps prevent muscle breakdown whereas the carbs helps top up glycogen stores.

5) Greek yoghurt

Has more protein (around 20g per cup) and less carbs (9g per cup) than a regular yoghurt. Great source of casein which provides the body with a steady increase in blood amino acid levels. Avoid low fat yoghurts that are generally filled with more sugar to enhance the taste. Go for Total Greek or Yeo valley Greek yoghurt.

6) Berries

Rich in fibre, carbohydrates, antioxidants and water. Fruits have enzymes that help break down nutrients within the body that help the muscle recovery process. Buy fresh or frozen.

7) Oats

Oats are extremely versatile which can be eaten as cereal, blended into smoothies and can be used to bake with. They have a low Glycaemic index (GI) meaning they provide the body with a long lasting supply of fuel. Consume post workout to replenish energy stores.

8) Lean red meat

Packed with protein, creatine, heme iron, carnosine, vitamins and minerals which are all key for superior muscle growth and recovery.

9) Bananas

The high potassium content helps replenish the electrolytes that are lost through intense workouts. In terms of building muscle, potassium plays a crucial part in the muscular contraction process. Bananas are primarily carbs, the high Glyceamic index (GI) rapidly replenishes muscle fuel stores (glycogen).Consume straight after your workouts.

Nuts make a great post-workout snack Photo: Protein World

10) Nuts

Nature’s most versatile, nutritionally balanced health food. Rich in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein, Vitamin A, K, E, fibre, magnesium etc. Nuts are nutritionally dense so are a must for those that are struggling to gain muscle mass without adding weight to the waistline. Go for almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, macadamias (unsalted).

11) Avocado

Provide a unique combination of vitamins, minerals, monounsatured fats which makes them a perfect muscle building fruit. The average avocado contains 20 different nutrients, around 230 calories, 10g fibre, and 22g healthy fats. This fruit can also improve the absorption of antioxidants such as carotenoids up to 15 times which are required for cell growth and supporting the immune system.

12) Spinach

This nutrient rich leafy green packs a great source of L-glutamine, the most abundant amino acid that is essential for muscle growth. Not only that but spinach contains an array of vital vitamins and minerals such as iron, lutein and vitamin K. Eat two to three servings a week.

Follow Protein World and nutritionist Hannah Pendlebury for more advice and tips on the best foods to eat before and after a gym workout

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