Do you find that that you simply don’t have the time during the day to commit to a workout routine, and that it’s more convenient to head to the gym after a long day at the office? It may simply be that you have more energy in the evenings, which means that a later routine is right for you.
There has been some discussion into whether exercising later in the day can do more harm than good. The initial consensus was that because exercise releases cortisol and adrenaline into the body, it can hinder our ability to sleep. Yet new research has found that moderate exercise does not change the quality of sleep, which is brilliant news! Research suggests that working out after 4pm can be a great way to increase your muscle strength, as the natural increase in your body temperature past a certain time also increase the rate of muscles output. The key here seems to be keeping up a consistent routine, so that you maintain regular sleeping and exercise patterns.
The most important thing to remember with later routines is to not skip out on eating after workouts. It may seem more effective to avoid food, but this can lead to a dip in energy and a decrease in proteins that are vital to regenerate your muscles. The types of foods you should focus on to boost this process are proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. This guide will provide you with some examples of the best snacks to meet these requirements and some examples of meals you can try to get the best results.
Examples of proteins
- Protein powder
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Chicken breast
- A good quality protein bar- high on the protein and low on the carbs
Examples of Carbohydrates
- Wholegrain pasta
Examples of healthy fats
- Mixes of nuts and dried fruits
- Peanut Butter
If you’re looking for some slightly more in-depth examples, below are some ideal combinations for an after-workout snack.
Banana with peanut butter
A fantastic combination, because you gain high amounts of protein with bananas and healthy fats present in the peanut butter. That being said, be sure that the spread you use is one of the natural options rather than the commercial spreads because of the higher levels of sugar and lower levels of natural fat. The more natural spreads will also contain some simple carbohydrates whilst bananas are full of potassium, meaning you can cover all the right bases nice and easy!
Greek yogurt and forest fruits
Another classic, we all know that fruits and yogurt are a nice healthy combination. The reason for this is that yogurt is very high in protein, but with very little fat. The combination of fruits, particularly berries such as goji berries or forest fruits contains a whole myriad of antioxidants, which are fantastic for us and provide and natural sweetness to compliment the yogurt nicely.
For a lot of us when you finally get back from your late night workout the last thing you want to be doing is cooking. You’ve already worked enough for one day, but it's still very important to keep up your energy and help your body heal. This is why keeping energy bars on hand is extremely useful. There are so many options available with a range of different benefits, so you can try a different choice each time!
Avocado and scrambled eggs
Eggs are one of the best sources of protein there is- and best of all they’re so adaptable! Avocados are also one of those wonder foods that cover many bases at once- they’re a great source of natural fats and are absolutely full of vitamins, which makes them a wonderful combination with most foods. Scrambled eggs are a great choice because of how quick and easy it is to make, so you’re less likely to skip a snack after an exhausting workout session. If you want to try something different, you can try it in the form of an omelet or on toast.
Nuts and seeds
A little on the simpler side, but still very effective. Nuts are a brilliant source of natural fats and fiber, and require no prep whatsoever. They can be added to other dishes for an extra boost of goodness or can be eaten on their own; there isn’t really a downside to snacking on these little guys!
Salmon with a side of vegetables
Combining tinned or roasted salmon with baby spinach leaves and a little olive oil is another fantastic option that covers many areas of your dietary requirements. Salmon contains omega-3 and healthy fats, whilst spinach contains a bunch of antioxidants and vitamins. Most green vegetables are packed with nutrition, so are always a pretty safe option if you’re ever unsure what to choose.
Although these options are all wonderful, it’s important to remember to keep hydrated too! Better hydration can maximise the effect of your meals and keep you fuller for longer. Whatever you choose, be sure to add some water alongside for the best possible results.