We’ve all been there: relaxing on the lounge watching the 400m swimming relay with a tub of lamington-flavoured ice cream. It’s a national pastime.
After all, you’ve got two runs and a yoga session under your belt this week, right?
But if you want to perform like a pro athlete, it’s not all about the training. Get these foods on high rotation to fuel your body like a frontrunner.
1. Sweet potato
With a lower glycemic index than the humble spud, the sweet variety work to prevent blood sugar spikes after you eat, helping fight those cravings when your levels dip. A study by the Mayo Clinic found low-GI foods stay in your digestive tract longer, helping to control your appetite. Bake or blitz into a soup.
Milk may have had a bad wrap of late, but don’t discount dairy just yet. Chocolate milk in particular is a favourite among endurance athletes for a reason. It contains the two essential ingredients you need post-workout: carbohydrates to give you energy and protein to repair muscle. If you struggle to wind down after an evening workout, a glass of warm milk could help you get to sleep courtesy of slow-digesting casein proteins and sleep-inducing serotonin and melatonin.
Packing around 30g of carbs, bananas are a natural fuel source to be reckoned with. A study published in PLOS ONE found eating half a banana every 15 minutes during exercise is as effective as sipping a comparable amount of sports drink in sustaining performance.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in pink fish like salmon promote healthy joints, which is vital when you’re training. Found only in a few foods, these are a type of essential fatty acids the body can’t produce on its own. Go for Atlantic – it has the highest concentration of omega-3 in the salmon stable.
One cup of this cruciferous number contains your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, helping stave off colds and keep you on track with those fitness goals. And with one serving coming in at around 125kJ, you can fill up on a hit of low kilojoule fibre.
Pull up sore after a workout? Go blue. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found blueberries may help improve the rate of recovery in exercise-induced muscle damage. Add a handful to the blender with a scoop of Pure Warrior 100% WPI protein and a cup of almond milk for a post-workout recovery smoothie.
Put the kettle on. According to research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, a cup of caffeine pre-workout can make your workout feel more enjoyable. When caffeinated, participants reported their session as easier than it was without the stimulant. Just sidestep the sugar and syrup (milk, you can stay.)
8. Dark chocolate
Sweet tooth lovers rejoice! The cacao in dark chocolate whacks a powerful antioxidant punch, with a Journal of International Medicine study also linking it with a lower Body Mass Index. Rich in fibre, magnesium and iron, think quality over quantity. Grab one with at least 70 percent cocoa content to keep sugar down.