Feed Your Body After a Workout With…Muffins?
Did you know that exercise is stress? So often we hear that exercise relieves stress (which it does – mental stress) but it actually adds stress to our bodies (i.e. physical stress). This isn’t a bad thing since this physical stress promotes muscle growth, an increase in metabolic rate, improved mood, and many other physical and psychological benefits. However, exercise still places a stress on our bodies and therefore requires that we take special care to allow our bodies to recover and repair.
People who exercise may feel the effects of the added stress through sore muscles, a need for more sleep, and an increased appetite, especially immediately following a resistance training workout. Ignoring these signs prevents the body from healing and can lead to chronic aches and pains, sickness, and injury. What do we need to do?
Eating After Exercise
I’ve discussed many times before the “anabolic window” that follows an intense workout. This time period (often judged to be about 40 minutes in length) is the time when our bodies crave replenishing food. We used up huge sources of energy (mostly glycogen) during the workout and need to replace those with some healthy carbohydrates. At the same time, exercise actually damages our muscles and we therefore need to eat protein in order to repair and build them back stronger. It is crucial to make both of these eating requirements happen as soon as possible post-workout.
What To Eat?
Most people’s food choices are dictated by one factor: Convenience. Yes, an apple or banana is a convenient snack as we rush off from our workout but both of those choices (and most other convenience foods) are primarily carbohydrates. They don’t offer building blocks (i.e. amino acids from protein) to repair our muscles.
It is often debated how much protein the average person needs to eat right after a workout. Too much is not digestible (and is potentially harmful), while too little leaves our bodes undernourished. I recommend aiming for a minimum of 15g of protein after each workout. This is equivalent to half a can of tuna, a half cup of cottage cheese, or a scoop of most protein supplements.
Aren’t muffins unhealthy? Most are, but not these ones! I will give the disclaimer that these do not taste like a buttery muffin you might find at Starbucks BUT they provide so much nutrients that they are well worth a bit of sacrifice. These muffins provide a great source of omega-3 fats (flax), veggies (carrots), and protein (flax, eggs, whey).
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup organic yogurt
- 1 cup ground flax seed
- 1 cup coconut flour (or any all-purpose flour that you like)
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 scoops protein powder (I used unflavoured but vanilla works very well)
- 3 eggs
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp ground ginger
- 2.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2.5 tsp baking powder
- A pinch of salt
Mix all of the ingredients in using a food processor or stand mixer (or by hand). Place the batter in your muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (until the tops are firm). This will make about 24 small muffins.