Studies show that high-intensity interval training or HIIT (i.e. short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by short rest periods) has been linked to weight loss, an increase in both aerobic and anaerobic fitness, and strengthening of muscles. It’s also ideal for those short on time.
And if you’re adding HIIT to your routine to help you reach your fitness goals, it’s important that you pair it with the right nutrition. Refueling your body post-workout with the right types of foods aids in muscle repair and growth and can help to replace energy that was lost during your workout.
You should look to refuel your body no later than 60 to 90 minutes after your HIIT workout. This provides your muscles with what they need to replenish their glycogen stores adequately.
So, if 2019 is the year that you give HIIT a try, make sure that you’re also choosing the right nutrients after your workout. To get you started, you can check out the four food suggestions below!
Eggs are one of the best — and my personal favorite — foods for after a workout. They’re a powerhouse of nutrition, with a significant amount of protein and healthy fats — around 7 grams and 5 grams respectively per egg.
Eggs are also considered a “complete protein” source. This means that they contain all nine of the essential amino acids, which have been linked to aiding in muscle recovery. Eggs also contain B vitamins, which can aid in energy production.
My grandma always told me the secret to her longevity was eating blueberries. Blueberries are both delicious and packed with dietary fiber, vitamins, protein, and antioxidants.
Aging and exercise cause some type of oxidative stress, or an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. For this reason, it’s important to include antioxidant-rich foods in your everyday diet. What’s more, eating blueberries after a workout has been linked to accelerated muscle recovery time.
Avocados are not only delicious but also a great source of magnesium — which is excellent of muscle recovery. Avocado also contains 14 percent of your daily value of potassium, which can help to regulate fluid balance and controlling electrical activity of the heart and other muscles.
What’s more, avocado is a great source of folate and vitamins C, K, and B-6, all of which are anti-inflammatory nutrients, which can help reduce inflammation in the body that may be caused by exercise-induced stress.
4. Green leafy vegetables
Much like blueberries, green leafy vegetables are part of my go-to post-workout food. They’re chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They’re also low in calories.
These types of vegetables are also high in antioxidants and can help to minimize the free radicals that may be released during HIIT training.
There’s a large variety of leafy green vegetables to choose from, but some of the more popular ones include kale, spinach, arugula and watercress.
Try throwing some frozen spinach into your post-workout smoothies — about two big handfuls. It tends to blend easier when frozen, meaning you won’t be able to taste it, not to mention it makes your smoothie extra cold!