In our previous post we discussed how you can naturally and painlessly reduce muscle pain and speedup recovery after a big workout.
The focus of that article was reducing muscle soreness, something that is essential for getting back in the saddle as quickly as possible, as well as avoiding injury through working already weakened ligaments.
This time we will keep the focus on healthy and natural products to help you recover quickly while losing excess weight.
It can be a bit of a vicious cycle that when you train really hard, your metabolism picks up and you get really hungry. All that great work can be undone with a large meal, or constant grazing. Choosing foods that hit the spot is important to get the energy you need and keep you satisfied until the next meal
Let’s look at ways you can recover quickly and keep burning excess fat so you see the results you deserve for all your hard work.
1. Go Bananas
You may have heard a rumour that bananas are fattening. It’s true that bananas have more sugar than other fruits (that’s because they contain less water), however, this is a natural kind of sugar. Unlike processed and refined sugar this sugar is easy for our body to break down. All that sugar will actually work in your favour if you are looking to lose weight because it takes the edge off of sweet cravings. Unwrap a banana instead of a candy bar and feel the difference. Bananas also help boost and aid digestion which can assist your body in getting more nutrients from other foods, combat diarrhoea and constipation.
In other good news the humble banana contains electrolytes, potassium and magnesium to protect you from muscle cramps during a workout and also at night, and will also put back what was lost through sweat on your big ride.
Eat a banana before your workout to give you a sustained energy release and encourage your body to burn sugar stores (never workout on an empty stomach or a cup of coffee, you will stress out your system and you will try to compensate for the food deprivation by overloading later on in the day).
2. Healthy gut bacteria
Food is fuel, that much is true, but if your stomach and digestive system is not able to convert that fuel properly into energy you body is doing a lot of work for minimal gain. Help it along by eating fermented foods that will help break down and increase the absorption of nutrients. It also helps boost your immune system so that you will be able to recover faster and get sick less often.
Look for probiotics which are found in fermented foods like good quality yogurt and fermented dairy, water or dairy kefir, kombucha, pickled vegetables i.e. sauerkraut, pickled ginger. (These items are all easy to make yourself by the way, so give it a go!)
These foods have been shown to reduce inflammation of the gut and get your digestive system back on track to better absorb nutrients and so that it works efficiently and keeps you healthy. This is especially important if you usually eat a lot of gluten foods and refined sugar which inflames the bowl and hinders digestive processes.
We mentioned berries back in the first post, and they are amazing for weight loss because they are low GI and packed with goodness. For best results eat your berries with a handful of mixed nuts. It helps slow the sugar burn even more, and also gives you an extra vitamin hit. Think about adding almonds, walnuts and pistachios together for a really great match up. Nuts are also an amazing late night snack if you are feeling hungry before bed, and have been proven to increase athletic performance.
4. Leafy greens
If you have done some damage with a high carb and high sugar diet in the past (or you are still guilty of indulging in these foods now) leafy green veggies are your natural ‘undo’ button to get you back to feeling great and staying that way. Leafy greens also help battle cortisol, so they are a great stress buster after a workout. The darker the colour the better they are for you. Eat them in abundance, it’s not going to cause weight gain, leafy greens actually improve metabolism and weight loss. Go for broccoli, kale and asparagus for the biggest impact and see amazing results. Have them with fish or grilled chicken or turkey for a workout performance that will last and matter.
5. Water wise
Drink plenty of water or natural teas (green, rooibos, ginger, peppermint etc) anything else will undo your good work, especially alcohol. Avoid fruit juices – without the natural fruit fibre they are made up of more sugar than your body can handle. Stick with whole fruits and avoid sugary drinks at all times, including ‘sports’ drinks that are loaded with sugar, colours, flavours and nasty things that will get stored in your fat cells. If you need electrolytes buy them from the chemist in a less sugary form.
Stay safe and enjoy the ride!