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We all love a good workout that makes us sweat and burns a lot of calories in a short period. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the workout that promises both. Several studies have proved that short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by short periods of rest result in weight loss, strong muscles, and aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
If you do not have a lot of time, a HIIT workout is all you need. But whether you get the right nutrition or not will define its efficacy. Therefore, after every HIIT workout refuel your body with the right foods that repair and develop the muscles in addition to replenishing the energy levels.
Check out FITPASS with which you can attend HIIT sessions in your area including 15 cities across India. Also, checkout FITFEAST – a complementary service that gets you in touch with expert nutritionists to optimize your diet. Before we begin, let’s take a look at some pre-HIIT workout foods.
The body needs some fuel to keep going during the workout, although you should not workout on a heavy stomach. The idea is to eat light and clean foods before going for a HIIT workout. Steer clear from fattening foods and sugars that could lead to an energy crash. Instead have protein and carbs (slow-burning) like:
- Dried fruits & nuts
- Multi-grain or fruit bread
- Protein bar (low-sugar)
- Protein supplements
A lot of people love eggs and they are one of the foods to have after a workout. They are packed with nutrients like healthy fats and protein – 5 and 7 grams respectively in every egg. They are a complete source of protein. Consuming protein after a workout is essential as it repairs the broken muscle fibers in addition to forming new muscle fibers. Essential amino acids in protein aid muscle recovery. Moreover, eggs are rich in Vitamin-B (all types) and thus, provide lots of energy.
Eggs are easily available, which makes them a convenient and good source of protein. They can be prepared in many ways quite easily. Hard-boiled eggs with mustard, avocado, pickles, etc. is a good choice. You can also have them with a piece of toasted bread. Otherwise, have them with spinach and tuna. Scrambled eggs with mushrooms & pepper are a good choice too. Or just go the simple way – hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper.
Avocados are just amazing, aren’t they? They are also great for muscle recovery owing to the high amounts of magnesium in them. One avocado contains up to 14% of the daily required amount of potassium, which regulates fluid balance and controls the electrical activity of the muscles and the heart.
Avocados contain anti-inflammatory nutrients – Vitamin B6, C, and K that reduce exercise-induced stress that causes inflammation in the body. These properties make it just the food to have after a good HIIT workout. Having one-third or half an avocado once a day is enough – have it for one of the meals in a day. Have it with eggs or mashed on toast. Avocados make smoothies healthier and tastier. Or you can just have them with some fresh ground pepper and salt.
Food is just not complete without veggies. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber in addition to being low in calories. The body releases free radicals during an intense workout, which causes inflammation. Veggies like spinach, arugula, kale, etc. are high in antioxidants, which counter it.
If you do not like to have veggies raw or boiled, which are great ways to have veggies, by the way, you can just make a smoothie out of them. Add veggies like spinach in any kind of smoothie. Frozen spinach will make your smoothie colder and not change the taste too much either. Or just sauté veggies in extra virgin olive oil. Making a salad or a pasta with lean protein is not a bad option either.
First off, blueberries are simply delicious. Then, they are full of vitamins, antioxidants, dietary fiber, and even protein. HIIT is a rigorous activity and leads to oxidative stress or an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body. That is why you need to have foods rich in antioxidants. Studies have shown that having blueberries after a workout is associated with accelerated muscle recovery. Just have a handful after a workout and you’re good. You can use some in your smoothie as well. Also, blueberries taste great with yogurt and oatmeal.
In the end, it is important for you to get enough protein after every HIIT workout. Now, however motivated you might be, it is quite hard for you to get enough protein from whole foods to facilitate the recovery process. Consult your trainer or better – nutritionist – and get a good -quality protein supplement, which will satisfy your body’s needs during and after HIIT exercises or strength training.
Protein supplements are convenient since they are easily accessible. You can even take them to the gym or have them once you are back home. Moreover, it keeps you full for longer. You can choose from hundreds of options out there depending on your needs and preferences.
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