Ten years ago, you probably wouldn't have found us lifting weights in the gym or going hell-for-leather at a boxing class. But with the fitness revolution gaining momentum by the minute, more of us are donning the lycra and powering up for a serious sweat sesh. When we work out, we're essentially breaking down muscles to allow them to grow back stronger so it’s vitally important though that we fuel our bodies properly, which, especially if Barry’s Bootcamp is your thing, can be extremely physically demanding.
It’s crucial to fuel-up pre and post work out, not only to aid recovery but also to maximise regeneration for continued fitness success. Here are a few of our favourite fitness foods to help you stay fuelled, hydrated and sustained:
Pili nuts are native to Southeast Asia, and taste like a cross between a cashew and a macadamia. The nuts are activated - they're soaked, then dehydrated to remove the naturally occurring phytates - which act as enzyme inhibitors in our bodies. Activating them also makes them easier to digest and the minerals they contain more bioavailable. Pili nuts are packed full of magnesium, vitamin E and iron - great for a busy and active lifestyle.
Maca is a brilliant adaptogen AKA a nutritive substance that raises the body's state of resistance to disease whilst remaining nontoxic to the recipient. Adaptogens increase immunity by improving the overall ability of the entire body to take on challenging and stressful situations. Maca is abundant in amino acids, phytonutrients, healthy fatty acids, vitamins and minerals - making it the perfect post workout food.
A protein powder that is also a prebiotic? Yes please! Amazonia protein powders are all 100% vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free. They contain sprouted and bio-fermented proteins, which are much easier to digest than your standard whey or pea protein as well as spices known to aid digestion and boost metabolism. They are free of sugar and don’t have any of the thickeners or chemical nasties that are prevalent in so many protein powders.
Probably better known for their nut bars, Pulsin's offering of natural, vegan protein powders couldn’t be more up our street. The 100% brown rice protein is great for blending into smoothies or porridge and has a mild flavour, allowing you to add it to pretty much anything without the artificial, vanilla whey flavour often associated with protein powders. It contains all 8 essential amino acids and so is perfect for a post work-out re-fuel.
Speaking of smoothies, what better way to add natural goodness and nutrition to a smoothie or healthy breakfast than with Plenish's dairy free m*lks. Our new favourite is their 100% organic Coconut M*lk which is abundant in lauric acid - a medium-chain fatty acid that provides a readily available source of energy for the body with essential nutrients to help repair and regenerate muscles.
Kombucha is a fermented drink make from green or black tea, natural sugar and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). It might sound slightly overwhelming, but the result is a deliciously flavoured, slightly effervescent drink that helps to put tonnes of beneficial bacteria into our bodies. Good gut health means more serotonin production (the “happy” hormone), better digestion and increased energy.
Similar to kombucha, kefir can be made using milk, water or coconut milk. Again, a culture of beneficial bacteria is used to gently ferment the milk or water, leaving you with a yoghurt-like drink that’s bursting full of good bacteria. Big retailers are cottoning on to the amazing benefits of kefir yoghurt and you can now find it not only at Whole Foods but stocked in mainstream retailers too.
Matcha speeds up your metabolism so that your body not only becomes more efficient at producing energy, but it also means that we burn off the calories we consume in food faster; great news for anyone wanting to look and feel great for summer. Matcha is also full of antioxidants to help fight off free radical damage and signs of ageing.