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Fitness & Health

07th Oct 2019

The two types of food you should avoid eating post-workout

Many people think breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but what you eat pre and post-workout has a bigger impact on your gym goals

Alex Roberts

Many people think breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but what you eat before and after training comes close

Your body is like a vehicle. If you don’t have the right fuel in it, it won’t perform. What you eat in your post-workout meal can kick start recovery and muscle growth – or completely curtail those processes.

What foods should you avoid post-workout?

The two Fs should be avoided after training – fat and fibre. You need both of these food groups at stages of the day, but limit them around your workout.

Fat helps you absorb vitamins and minerals, and fibre aids digestion and satiety (feelings of fullness), but they aren’t high on the agenda immediately after training.

What should you eat after training?

The main reason fat and fibre should be limited immediately after training is because they slow down the rate of digestion. Post-workout, you need foods which are rapidly absorbed and taken on board very quickly.

Instead, opt for high GI foods. GI stands for glycemic index – but don’t get hung up on the scientific sounding name. Foods which measure high on this index are simply absorbed rapidly by your body.

Credit: @nicolehoneywill

White bread, orange juice, honey, cereals and all those high sugar foods you’ve been told to avoid become useful in this instance.

Outside of your workout window, it is far better to eat low GI foods which digest more gradually – fat and fibre part of this. But in the hour or two before and after hitting the gym, simple sugars become useful.

In a sporting sense

It’s not just gym training that benefits from this approach, though. Rugby and other high-intensity sports also manipulate carb types, as we found out when we spoke to Saracens nutritionist George Morgan.

Morgan provided the following game day diet plan as an example of what top rugby players eat around training:

  • Breakfast: large bowl of porridge with milk, banana on a white bagel with honey. Diluted fruit juice or a banana-based smoothie
  • Mid-morning snack: sliced turkey wrap, Greek yogurt with red berries. Water with electrolyte tablet or a whey protein fruit smoothie
  • Pre match meal: sliced Chicken breast, spaghetti with tomato sauce, sweet potato. Scotch pancakes with syrup and berries and water with electrolytes
  • Pre-game in the changing room: Optimum Nutrition Amin.o. Energy, jelly babies, banana, sliced fruit bread and water
  • Post-game: whey protein shake with a fruit smoothie containing tart cherry juice
  • Post-game meal: beef chilli with potato wedges, rice, flatbread and green salad. Water with added electrolytes
  • Pre-bed snack: casein protein with milk and banana smoothie 

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