Working out at the gym means you can reward yourself with a pizza, right? Wrong! The food you eat post-workout is actually the most important food you’ll eat all day.

When you work out, your body gets its energy initially from your pre-workout meal and secondly, from the glycogen stored in your muscles. Within a few hours of working out, your muscle protein starts to drop and your muscles begin to break down. During this period, your body is at its most responsive for absorbing carbohydrates and proteins. Therefore, it’s important to eat the right foods to refuel. For example:

  • Eggs: your muscles need plenty of protein after a workout in order to repair and strengthen. Eggs pack an impressive 6.3 grams of protein and just 70 calories each. They’re also one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones
  • Quinoa: carbohydrates are essential after a workout as your body needs to replace some of the glycogen that was burned during exercise. Brown rice is fine, but quinoa is even better. It’s packed full of vitamins and nutrients, contains much more protein and fibre than brown rice, and takes less time to prepare
  • Bananas: if you’ve ever watched Wimbledon then you’ll have noticed that the players snack on bananas in between sets. Bananas are packed full of potassium, a mineral which is essential for healthy muscle function. They also contain the good kinds of carbohydrates that your body needs to restore glycogen and repair damaged muscles
  • Salmon: will give you a large dose of lean protein and is also a great source of omega 3 oils. The omega 3 oils and fatty acids found in oily fish like salmon have an anti-inflammatory property, which helps to ease muscle and joint pain, and helps the body to repair itself after a workout
  • Sweet potato: these are a great source of healthy carbohydrates, and they provide a variety of vitamins and nutrients that your body needs after a workout. Vitamins B6, C and D, along with magnesium and potassium, help your body repair itself and boost the success of your workout
  • Orange juice: instead of reaching for an energy drink post-workout, pour yourself a glass of orange juice. It’s packed full of vitamin C, which is great for so many things, and it also contains potassium, which is an important electrolyte when it comes to restoring your body’s fluid levels.

After your next workout, why not rustle up a sweet potato, salmon and egg omelette, with a side of quinoa. Follow it off with a banana for dessert, and wash it all down with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice!