Working out is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Rest and proper nutrition are critical components to exercise recovery. When it comes to post-workout nutrition, there is something called the “window of opportunity”. In a nutshell, this is the time directly after you exercise up until 2 hours, where your body is primed to receive nutrients that can assist with its repairing and rebuilding processes.
Rehydrating by replacing electrolytes, replenishing glycogen stores (energy) and reducing muscle wastage with protein consumption are key components to feeling stronger, leaner and fitter. The below strategies will help do just that, boosting exercise performance and recovery. However, it would be remiss if I didn't also mention simply opting for nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory foods as a mainstay in your diet (i.e. fruit and veg!), to best support your body in every way, particularly in helping combat exercise-induced oxidative stress.
It contains potassium, magnesium, and calcium making it great for replacing electrolytes after a workout. Electrolytes have many crucial bodily functions such as regulating and maintaining proper hydration, controlling heartbeat and relaxing the muscles to aid in recovery. Drink immediately! Top tip: you might want to add a pinch of Himalayan salt to your beverage, especially if you feel you have really worked up a sweat!
Magnesium has many functions within the body and whilst plentiful in dark green leafy vegetables and other various foods, to reach a therapeutic dose, you would need to be eating a lot! Unfortunately, many of us are under-consuming plant-foods. Enter this easy to absorb, simple to use transdermal magnesium oil! Delivered through the skin, it is directly available to the muscular system. Use this directly after a workout, at least 20 minutes before showering (or apply after showering) to maintain proper muscle function, prevent stiffness and cramping, regulate hormonal processes, moderate stress and balance calcium for healthy bones. Its natural ability to relax and soothe both muscles and the nervous system makes it a fantastic sleep aid, workout or no workout! Top tip: if you often experience stiffness and cramps, this might be a sign of magnesium deficiency.
Spirulina is a natural, highly nutritious salt-water algae. It is one of the most complete sources of food, boasting 60-70% protein (approximately 3-4 times higher than meat) as well as valuable nutrients like iron, B12, potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus and calcium. Studies reveal Spirulina consumption has a positive effect on enhancing endurance, while also expediting recovery from exercise-induced stress. Stress can create an acidic environment within the body. Whilst certain parts of the body require acidity e.g. the stomach in order to break down food, we want our blood to be alkaline. Spirulina is an alkalizing substance, which can help balance our pH. It has also shown a preventive effect against skeletal damage from exercise-induced oxidation. Quality control in growth and processing of Spirulina is critical to avoiding contamination and ensuring safety. This brand is reliable as it is grown in Hawaii in some of the cleanest coastal waters with stringent guidelines as to origin, purity, potency, processing, and packaging.
maca root, or Peruvian Ginseng, is exceptionally nutritious, loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to fuel and enhance exercise. It has been shown to improve stamina and prevent the onset of exercise-related aches and pains. It is also an adaptogen meaning it modulates stress, hormones, energy, and mood according to what you specifically require. How incredible is that!? It can be had both before and after a workout, most delicious in a smoothie! Top tip: you could incorporate coconut water as a base, green leafy vegetables, banana (carbohydrates replace glycogen), quality protein and 1-2 tsp Maca to tick a few boxes at once!
I've left this last, because, albeit important, I do believe this might get a little too much widespread attention. However, if your workout is especially vigorous you may require a good quality plant-based protein powder to aid in protein synthesis and muscle rebuilding. This particular product is raw, sprouted, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, and has a 98.2% assimilation rate which means it is highly absorbable. Spirulina, nutritional yeast, chia seeds and greens are other good sources of plant-based protein if you would like to incorporate them into a protein-rich meal or snack.