Perfect Post-workout Powders

Perfect Post-workout Powders

Contributed by Eve Persak, Nutrition Advisor, MS RD CNSC CSSD

Whether you’ve just purchased a new gym membership, have a well-established training regime, or want to take your sports performance to the next level, what you eat can have a huge and noticeable impact on how your body responds to physical activity. 

You might have a few go-to nibbles in your pantry or your gym bag to satisfy your post-workout appetite. Or perhaps you’re tempted to try one of the many specialty products designed for exercise recovery. Convenient? Indeed. They line the shelves and crowd the cashier counters at nearly every supermarket, fitness apparel shop or gym. 

However with such products, the integrity of the ingredients can sometimes be questionable. Are they fresh, pure or of high quality? Likewise, there is little room for flexibility and personalisation to ensure that all the components - and the proportions of each - are appropriate for your body, pleasing to your palate, and – most importantly – aligned with your wellness goals. 

If you’re looking at giving your training a nutritional boost, single ingredient powders may be your best bet as they allow more control and flexibility than regular protein bars or energy formulas. Here are some suggestions, based on specific needs:  

To replenish fluids and electrolytes

Sweat cools the body down when movement heats the body up. When we move fast enough, hard enough and long enough, we sweat – a lot. A bottle of water can replace the fluids, but it won’t replenish the electrolytes lost through perspiration. Most sports drinks offer a mix of liquids, electrolytes, and simple sugars. Sadly, they also include preservatives, as well as artificial colours and flavourings. To get what you need and skip the unwanted synthetic extras, consider an electrolyte powder - one that uses only freeze-dried fruit to enhance taste and appearance. Most are available in larger pouches and single serve sachets – which allow for customisation while reducing wastage.

We recommend:

Pure Sports Nutrition Electrolyte Hydration Superfruits 

To encourage cellular repair

When you exercise, your muscles are challenged and micro tears form in the muscle fibres. After the workout, your body’s inbuilt repair systems fix these mini tissue injuries. Antioxidants are the dietary leaders in reversing cellular damage. And yes, you can add these miracle workers to your diet by incorporating ample amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, and raw nuts and seeds, in each meal. However, you can also get an added boost from powders – especially those extracted from dark purple coloured fruits such as acai, arctic berries and blackcurrants, as these are considered to be the most potent sources of antioxidants. What’s more, they taste great when mixed into electrolyte blends, smoothies, porridges and plant-based yoghurts!

We recommend:

Amazonia Organic Freeze-Dried Acai Powder
Arctic Power Berries Blueberry Powder 
Pure Sports Nutrition Blackcurrant Recovery Pouch

To nourish and increase lean body mass

Following the ‘tear and repair’ cycle described above, the body then rebuilds the muscle tissues – to bring them back to their pre-workout condition, and ideally make them even stronger and larger in size. Proteins are the raw materials from which muscles are made. You can get protein from a diet rich in meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. However, powders offer these proteins in a hydrolysed form – meaning the proteins are pre-digested to amino acids, which makes it easier for your body to absorb. Powders are also highly concentrated, so a scoop or two provides the same protein content as a full meal. Sports nutrition research suggests that whey protein from cows is the preferred post-training fuel for active muscles. However, plant-based products derived from green peas are becoming increasingly popular among individuals looking for dairy- or soy-free alternatives. Opting for pure, preservative-free and minimally flavoured products keeps unwanted chemicals at bay and allows for greater flexibility. These powders go well with smoothies and porridge, and can even be added to warm dishes such as curries and soups, for that extra protein boost.

We recommend:

Pulsin’ Organic Whey Protein Powder
Nuzest Clean Lean Protein

Looking for more protein powders or energy boosting snacks to help you achieve those health goals? Check out our full range of sports nutrition products here