Ten Amazing Ways To Get Fit and Stay Fit

Year after year, we make resolutions to say fit and keep our health in check. Then, as months dwindle till the year comes to a close and holidays approach again, we’re back to square one- obese and unhealthy. It is an unending cycle that we all can’t break if we are not determined to make lifestyle changes. Keeping fit is directly connected with our diets, because we are what we eat.

A fit, healthy lifestyle is achievable if we’re willing to commit to a lifestyle of good nutrient-dense foods, exercise and healthy habits. This is why you need to read these ten amazing ways to stay and remain fit if you desire to achieve your goal of a fit rocking body.

STOP COUNTING CALORIES

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You may be surprised that this is a crucial first step, it is imperative that you stop putting pressure on yourself and start to take actions that will help you get the healthy body you long to get. If your goal is weight loss, counting calories in foods will not do much in helping you achieve that goal, it’ll rather put unnecessary pressure on yourself to shed excess weight and is not sustainable in keeping the weight off, besides, real nutrient-dense foods do not require their calories to be counted as they are chock-full of healthy nutrients that will nourish your body.

GET MOVING

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It is very paramount that you maintain an active lifestyle If you want to stay healthy. You have to make activity a priority in as many ways as possible. It is even better if you partake in outdoor activities where you can get a lot of sunshine. You may also commit yourself to different ways of stay active: join a local gym, invest in exercise equipment and get a workout buddy or sign up for Zumba classes. It doesn’t have to be boring as long as you put your mind to it.

EAT HEALTHY

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Research has shown that over 80 percent of any fitness goal is linked with our diet. As a matter of fact, cells in our bodies are replicated daily and the material used to build them comes from the nutrition we put in our bodies. Embracing healthy diet rich in essential nutrients will provide the body with the proper nourishment needed to attain fitness goals. To eat healthy, your diet should ideally be composed of:

  • 45 percent carbohydrates
  • 30 percent protein
  • 25 percent fats

These can come from all natural foods and can also be sourced from healthy sources such as gluten-free breads, unbleached rice, non-genetically modified fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, oily fish and healthy cuts of fish and meat.

DRINK WATER

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Our bodies are made from 70 percent water and should ideally be the number one fluid that we put into our bodies. Hydration is key to reaching your health and fitness goals and your top priority should be to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water daily. You can start with drinking water as soon as you wake up, before breakfast and before you go to sleep at night. Drinking water will also help flush toxins from your body and help your body recover from the rigors of exercise.

If you do not like the taste of water, you can add fruits like lemon or lime to your water for a sharp zing.

CATCH SOME ZZZZSS

Sleep is a very important factor for you to achieve great health and stay in shape. A good 7-8 hours of sleep will get your body’s metabolism kick started and ensure that you keep the extra pounds off. Being sleep deprived will cause your body to be in an overactive mode to help you keep up with the rigors of the day and this will leave you feeling sluggish for the rest of the day and in turn, fat and unhealthy.

EXERCISE OUTDOORS

Exercising outdoors with a community of health-conscious people is one of the best things that can happen to your goal of getting and staying fit. It helps you stay on track to achieving your health and fitness goals and also help you get lots of sunshine which according to studies helps you lose weight.

SWAP FOODS

Eating foods in their natural state as much as possible can help you achieve your dreams of health and fitness. There are several instance where you can try this out such as:

  • Brown rice/quinoa for white rice
  • Gluten-free sourdough bread for white bread
  • Avocado for mayonnaise
  • Tofu for meats
  • Lettuce wraps for flatbreads

These small changes can make a big difference in your health and fitness.

QUIT FOCUSING ON JUST ONE PART OF YOUR BODY

This is very important in achieving your goal body. If you desire to tone up a specific part of your body e.g. your tummy, doing crunches alone will be counterproductive. A wide variety of exercises are needed to achieve your fitness goals.

THE POWER OF ROUTINE

It is important for you to have routines in your health and fitness goals. Routines help you stay on track when it comes to exercising and it makes a world of difference to your workouts.

Doing different routine exercise will ensure that you spread out focusing on different parts of your body and gives your body time to recover from a specific exercise. For example, if you had leg day on a Monday, you can choose to do a cardio routine on a Tuesday to balance it out.

GET A FAMILY

Joining fitness forums online or in real life can really help kick start your health and fitness goals for the year. You will find people in the health and fitness journeys as you are, some have gone above you in achieving their goals and being on such platforms can motivate and inspire you to achieve your goals.

Exercise, nutrition and lifestyle choices have been mentioned in this article simultaneously because they cannot exist separately. To live a fit and active lifestyle, all factors must be combined to achieve a healthier, fitter you.

 

 

 

Essential Oil Room Spray Recipes – Organic Palace Queen

essential oil room spray recipesA growing number of people appear to be using essential oil sprays to freshen the air in their house.

This is a good trend. Chemical air fresheners contain potentially toxic chemicals. A number of the compounds commonly added to these concoctions are known hormone disruptors, since they mimic the female hormone estrogen.

Also, burning regular paraffin candles puts toxic chemicals into the air, according to the Enviromental Working Group, which recommends soy or natural beeswax candles instead. Paraffin is a petroleum derivative.

There’s definitely increased interest in natural air fresheners, at least judging by the number of products on the market. So it’s not surprising that you can find a number of premade natural air freshener sprays that contain essential oils.

However, if you already own essential oils, it’s really easy to make your own room sprays. (Keep reading and I’ll tell you how.) You can use these for different purposes, such as safe and natural air freshening. Years ago, before company was due to arrive, I’d burn a scented candle on my stove. It filled my kitchen with a warm (but toxic) aroma.

Now that I know better, I use either natural essential oils or I gently heat frankincense resin tears on a burner. This makes my house smell heavenly.

One of the most popular aromatics is lavender. It has a sweet smell and it also appears to contain natural stress-relief compounds. One post on the UMMC website noted that this is one of the aromatics that’s been shown to alleviate anxiety.A room spray with lavender essential oil is a good choice if you want to create a calming atmosphere. You may not want to use it though, if you want to get a lot of work done. One evening, I put lavender essential oil in a cold air diffuser. I walked by it a number of times, and inhaled the mist. Before long, I wanted to go to sleep. (Lavender is often recommended as a natural remedy for insomnia.) Personally, I wouldn’t want to use lavender spray if I didn’t want to get drowsy. I also wouldn’t use it before driving long distances.

How to Make Room Spray With Lavender Oil

But, anyway, lavender smells great and will give your room a nice clean scent. Here’s an easy home spray recipe with lavender essential oil and alcohol free witch hazel.

Room Spray With Lavender Oil

Fill the bottle with water, leaving just enough room to add the alcohol free witch hazel and essential oils.  You’ll want to shake this each time you use it. Also, store this spray in an area away from light and heat. Some people like to use lavender spray on their pillows, especially if they have trouble sleeping. If you plan to use this as a natural insomnia remedy, you can also add a drop or two of clary sage essential oil.

Lemon Essential Oil Spray Recipe

On the other hand, lemon essential oil has an uplifting quality. This is what I’d choose for a room spray during the day, especially if I wanted to stay awake and focus.Using the above ratios of water, essential oils and alchohol free witch hazel, you can make your own energizing room spray.Aromatherapists often recommend combining one or more oils, in order to create a synergy. So you use the following recipe for an energizing essential oil room spray.

  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Alcohol free witch hazel
  • 3 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 3 drops of ginger essential oil
  • 2 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • Distilled water

Combine the above ingredients in put them in a 4-ounce spray bottle. Use this spray as a natural air freshener or focus enhancer.

Essential Oil Spray for Germs

I love telling my readers about essential oil blends made especially for germs. I’ve used these for years, and I love them. Most of the germ-fighting blends on the market contain clove, cinnamon, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils. The blend I use now is Plant Therapy Germ Fighter. It’s sold by a company that’s one of the rising non-MLM stars. Plant Therapy oils are amazing. Part of the company mission is to make it easy for everyone to own essential oils.
You could easily make your own germ fighting essential spray by adding Germ Fighter Synergy Blend to a spray bottle filled with water and witch hazel. If you plan to use this around children, though, some of the oils are not recommended for little ones. However, the company also sells a KidSafe Germ Destroyer blend that you can use instead.

Essential Oil Recipes for Spray

Anyway, it’s really easy to blend your own essential oil recipes to put in spray bottles. You can experiment with different singles and blends. Essential oils are fun, and easy to use.Essential oils can also be used to make healthy homemade gifts.

One great gift idea would be to make one or more essential oil sprays. Small plastic spray bottles are available online. You can also find attractive stick on labels to put on these bottles. You can see a few label ideas below.

Disclaimer

These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Do not use essential oils if you are pregnant or nursing, unless directed to do so by a healthcare provider.

Big Sugar’s Secret Ally? Nutritionists

The first time the sugar industry felt compelled to “knock down reports that sugar is fattening,” as this newspaper put it, it was 1956. Papers had run a photograph of President Dwight D. Eisenhower sweetening his coffee with saccharin, with the news that his doctor had advised him to avoid sugar if he wanted to remain thin.

The industry responded with a national advertising campaign based on what it believed to be solid science. The ads explained that there was no such thing as a “fattening food”: “All foods supply calories and there is no difference between the calories that come from sugar or steak or grapefruit or ice cream.”

More than 60 years later, the sugar industry is still making the same argument, or at least paying researchers to do it for them. The stakes have changed, however, with a near tripling of the prevalence of obesity in the intervening decades and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures reveal to be an almost unimaginable 655 percent increase in the percentage of Americans with diabetes diagnoses. When it comes to weight gain, the sugar industry and purveyors of sugary beverages still insist, a calorie is a calorie, regardless of its source, so guidelines that single out sugar as a dietary evil are not evidence-based.

Surprisingly, the scientific consensus is technically in agreement. It holds that obesity is caused “by a lack of energy balance,” as the National Institutes of Health website explains — in other words, by our taking in more calories than we expend. Hence, the primary, if not the only, way that foods can influence our body weight is through their caloric content

Another way to say this is that what we eat doesn’t matter; it’s only how much — just as the sugar industry would have us believe. A 2014 article in an American Diabetes Association journal phrased the situation this way: “There is no clear or convincing evidence that any dietary or added sugar has a unique or detrimental impact relative to any other source of calories on the development of obesity or diabetes.”

The absence of evidence, though, as the saying goes, is not necessarily evidence of absence. If the research community had been doing its job and not assuming since the 1920s that a calorie is a calorie, perhaps we would have found such evidence long ago.

The assumption ignores decades of medical science, including much of what has become textbook endocrinology (the science of hormones and hormone-related diseases) and biochemistry. By the 1960s, researchers in these fields had clearly demonstrated that different carbohydrates, like glucose and fructose, are metabolized differently, leading to different hormonal and physiological responses, and that fat accumulation and metabolism were influenced profoundly by these hormones. The unique composition of sugar — half glucose, half fructose — made it a suspect of particular interest even then.

The takeaway is that we should expect the consumption of different macronutrients to have differential effects on the hormonal milieu of our cells and so, among myriad other things, on how much fat we accumulate. These effects may be very subtle, but subtle effects can accumulate over a few years or decades into the anything-but-subtle phenomena of obesity and diabetes. In light of this research, arguing today that your body fat responds to everything you eat the exact same way is almost inconceivably naïve.

But don’t blame the sugar industry for perpetuating this view. Blame the researchers and the nutrition authorities.

The industry is in a perverse position: defending the core beliefs of nutrition and obesity research while simultaneously being accused by some of the prominent experts in these disciplines of following the tobacco-industry playbook and so acting as “merchants of doubt.” If this sounds like cognitive dissonance — well, it is.

I am a fierce critic of sugar and believe that it, in fact, may have prematurely killed more people than tobacco. The disorders for which it is the prime suspect — obesity and Type 2 diabetes — in turn elevate our risk of virtually every major chronic disease, from heart disease to cancer and Alzheimer’s. And yet on this issue, I think the sugar industry has a fair point in rejecting the comparison.

Cigarette companies are notorious for having worked to undermine the scientific consensus on tobacco, which was backed by compelling evidence. Tobacco executives knew as well as public health officials that nicotine was addictive and that smoking caused lung cancer. But the evidence implicating sugar as a unique cause of chronic disease has never been nearly so convincing. More to the point, the consensus among nutrition and obesity authorities has been completely aligned with sugar industry interests: Sugar advertisers have had to remind people only that what nutrition authorities believe to be true of all foods is therefore true of sugar as well.

So can we really blame sugar companies for seeking to rebut the contention of some nutrition researchers — that sugar might be a unique cause of diabetes and heart disease — by commissioning other mainstream nutritionists to make the opposite case? In the 1970s, when the industry paid Fred Stare, founder of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, to exonerate sugar in a lengthy journal supplement, “Sugar in the Diet of Man, all Mr. Stare had to do was enlist as authors some of the very influential researchers who were convinced that dietary fat was the real enemy (the conventional wisdom of the time that has now been largely overturned). No confusion needed to be sown. Their task was simply to reinforce the consensus.

“The method of science,” as the philosopher of science Karl Popper once put it, “is the method of bold conjectures and ingenious and severe attempts to refute them.” In nutrition, the conjectures (their boldness is debatable) are that obesity is caused by lack of energy balance, and so a calorie is a calorie. But they have been accepted with such faith that attempts to refute them have been anything but ingenious and severe. That the attempts have failed may speak more to the quality of the science than the validity of the conjectures. To fully understand the dangers of consuming sugar, we need experiments, in humans, that can unambiguously test these 100-year-old conjectures. No matter how time consuming or expensive these studies are.

To the sugar industry, the nutritionists’ dogmatic belief that obesity is a calorie overconsumption problem and a calorie is a calorie has been the gift that keeps on giving. So long as nutrition and obesity authorities insist that this is true, then the sugar industry can rightfully defend its product on the basis that the calories from sugar are no better nor worse than those from steak or grapefruit or ice cream — perhaps even kale or quinoa. We can’t have it both ways.

Gary Taubes is a co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative and the author of “The Case Against Sugar.”

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTOpinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

A version of this op-ed appears in print on January 15, 2017, on Page SR3 of the New York edition with the headline: Big Sugar’s Secret Ally? Nutritionists. Today’s Paper|Subscribe

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Lose weight without dieting: simple 10-minute game retrains brain to avoid junk food

Psychologists at the University of Exeter showed that less than ten minutes a day of ‘brain training’ using a game which takes away the ‘mental reward’ of sugary and fatty foods, reduces calorie intake.

Professor Natalia Lawrence’s Food Trainer app is free and is being launched this week on Android devices.

It is based on neuroscience research which suggests people are more inclined to choose fatty and sugary foods because they activate the brain’s reward system, stimulating the release of dopamine and endorphins, which can produce feelings of pleasure and make the person want more.

Prof Natalia Lawrence 
Prof Natalia Lawrence 

The game works by flashing up pictures of healthy and unhealthy food and the user has to react by only pressing on the healthy foods to score points. The simple act of ignoring unhealthy foods, and stimulating the reward response to healthy foods is enough to retrain the brain into craving healthier options, say scientists.

A study of 83 adults showed that people who played the game online just four  times in one week lost weight and ate an average of 220 kcal less per day – roughly equivalent to a chocolate-iced doughnut.

“It’s very exciting to see that our free and simple training can change eating habits and have a positive impact on some people’s lives,” said Dr Lawrence.

“In an age where unhealthy food is so abundant and easily available and obesity is a growing health crisis, we need to design innovative ways to support people to live more healthily.

“We are optimistic that the way this app is devised will actually encourage people to opt for healthy food such as fruit and vegetables rather than junk food.”

Studio manager Fiona Furness was one of the first to trial the game and has lost two stone in weight so far, dropping from 11 stone to nine stone.

Mrs Furness, who is in her 50s, said the “pounds just melted way.”

“The results have been remarkable,” she said.

“I used to feel really guilty about my bad snacking habits. I’d often be rushing about, and I’d grab something high calorie and unsatisfying – often a packet of crisps. I’d be hungry again really soon afterwards so it became a vicious cycle.

“These days, if I am feeling peckish I’ll go for a banana or a pack of almonds. That’s the food I’m craving. I’m now closer to nine stone than 11 – the pounds just melted away over eight or nine months without me even noticing.

“The weight loss wasn’t really my goal though – I feel younger and more energetic. Perhaps I’m particularly susceptible to this kind of brain training, but it has been transformative for me.”

Nearly two thirds of adults in Britain are overweight or obese, and the UK is forecast to be the fattest country in Europe within 10 years

Users of the app, who should ideally use it for a few minutes a day without distractions, can tailor it to reduce compulsions to unhealthy food they have most problem with, as well as alcohol, but not to reduce consumption of healthy foods including vegetables.

The scientists have launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise up to £5,000 to develop the app, this week made available for Android devices, into an app that can be used on iPhones and iPads.

 

15 JANUARY 2017 • 5:21PM

Here’s What To Eat After Every Type Of Workout

We’ve all been there. You workout hard and, for one reason or another, you don’t eat quickly enough afterwards. You start to feel shaky, hangry, jittery and maybe even anxious.

Eating properly after exercise is important not only to replenish the energy you’ve just burned, but also to make sure you get the most out of your workout — so you can see the results you want.

“Post workout nutrition provides fuel and nutrients for the body and helps prevent blood sugar lows and fatigue,” nutritionist Fiona Tuck told The Huffington Post Australia. “The body needs nutrients to help with muscle recovery and cellular repair.”

Nutritionist and celebrity chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin agrees.

“Looking after yourself doesn’t stop at exercise — taking care of nutrition is critical,” Bingley-Pullin said. “Proper refuelling will also allow you to have more energy for your next workout.”

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The harder your workout, the higher your post-nutrition needs.

According to Alexandra Parker and Anna Debenham, accredited practising dietitians from The Biting Truth, whether you’re an amateur or a professional athlete, what you eat pre- and post-exercise is crucial.

“Following a workout, what you eat is vital in helping you reach your training and health goals and in ensuring you make the most of your workout,” Debenham said.

“Every time you exercise, carbohydrate stores (in the form of glycogen) are utilised for energy and your muscle protein is broken down. It’s therefore essential to replenish these stores afterwards.”

“Exercising actually makes your muscle tissues more sensitive to certain hormones and nutrients, which means that muscle is most responsive to nutrient intake during the first 30 to 90 minutes post-workout,” Parker added.

When it comes to post-workout recovery, always consider the three Rs:

Refuel

  • Refuel your glycogen (carbohydrate) stores to avoid muscle tissue breakdown and low energy.
  • Lack of glucose to fuel the brain can lead to decreased alertness and concentration, and low mood.
  • Aim for high quality carbohydrates sources (think wholegrain breads and cereals).

Repair

  • Repair damaged muscles with protein.
  • Consuming protein post-workout will provide amino acids for the building and repair of muscle tissue. This will help you to recover more quickly.
  • Aim for lean protein sources (think lean meats, eggs, nuts, legumes, tofu and reduced fat dairy).

Rehydrate

  • Rehydrate with fluids.
  • Most of us finish a workout at least a little dehydrated, and you will continue to lose fluids through sweating and breathing. It is essential that you replace these fluids immediately.
  • Your thirst is not the best gauge of hydration. The best way to tell how hydrated you are is to look at the colour of your urine. You want to aim for straw-coloured urine. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are.

When we skip post-workout nutrition, the effects on the body are negative and quick to arise.

“While skipping a post-workout snack every now and then isn’t necessarily an enormous deal, it should never become a habit,” Parker told HuffPost Australia.

“If you don’t adequately replenish your stores following a workout, not only will you not make the most out of your workout, but your body can experience some other negative consequences.”

These include:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), which can make you feel disoriented and could even cause you to pass out
  • Increased fatigue (during training and at work or school)
  • Reduced performance at your next training session or event
  • Suboptimal gains from the session just completed — you won’t make the most out of your workout
  • Increased muscle soreness.

“Blood sugar can drop which can lead us to feeling shaky, tired, lightheaded and even nauseated,” Tuck said. “The brain relies on a constant supply of glucose to stay mentally alert, so our attention can wane and we can feel low in energy and mood.”

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This feeling is the worst.

When it comes to actual post-workout food, Parker said the type and amount comes down to your fitness goals, more so than the exercise itself.

“Generally, the principles are very much the same, but exactly what your body needs most varies slightly depending on the type of exercise you’re doing and what your goals are,” Parker said.

“The time of day of your workout is also going to make a difference to the meal or snack you have (lunch food is very different to a snack).”

As a general rule, Parker recommends that all post-exercise foods should be rich in good quality carbohydrates to replenish muscle fuel stores, contain some lean protein to repair muscles, and include a source of fluid and electrolytes to re-hydrate effectively.

“The higher the energy intake (calories) depends on the intensity of the amount of physical exercise,” Tuck explained. “Long distance endurance training or weight training or body building would be different to a relaxing yoga class, for example.”

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Here’s what to eat after different types of workouts.

1. Cardio work (e.g. running, endurance, cycling)

“The key is replenishing carbohydrate stores, and adequate hydration is essential,” Debenham said. “For example, a slice of whole grain bread with peanut butter and banana. It’s full of potassium which soothes muscles, high quality carbs, protein and heart healthy fats.”

Other great post-cardio options include: a banana and a handful of nuts, or 1-2 slices of whole grain toast with either ricotta and fruit or cottage cheese and tomato.

“Athletes, such as endurance runners and cyclists, need specific sports nutrition to ensure adequate nutrients and calories are consumed for the body to be able to function at its optimum,” Tuck told HuffPost Australia.

“This may involve consuming nutrients and electrolytes during the actual exercise, as well as pre- and post-work out nutrition.”

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2. Pilates or barre

“Again, it depends on your goal. Is the goal to lose weight, or perhaps you’re looking to boost core strength and increase your muscle mass,” Debenham said.

“If your goal is weight loss, then a nutrient rich meal within 60 minutes of your workout is essential as the meal will be more efficiently digested. If your goal is to improve strength, then protein is key.”

Try two hard boiled eggs with multigrain toast, or a slice of roasted vegetable and feta frittata.

3. Yoga

“Your food choices post-yoga should aim to repair your tired muscles and replenish your energy stores,” Parker said. “To do this, your body needs a hit of protein, some low GI carbohydrates and fruits or vegetables.

“Try a small tub of Greek yoghurt with a couple of spoons of natural muesli containing nuts and fruit. Or for something savoury, a small can of tuna, four bean mix and some chopped veggies.”

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4. Resistance or strength training

If your goal is to gain muscle, then an energy-rich diet with adequate amounts of protein is just as important as your well-developed strength training program.

“While an increased intake is essential for muscle gain, your intake should be low in fat and high in nutrients,” Parker said.

“Following strength training, protein should be consumed. Consuming carbohydrates in conjunction with protein allows the protein to be used for muscle growth and repair.”

“Smoothies are a great option and easy if you’re on the run. Simply blitz the ingredients together in the blender the night before (berries, low fat yoghurt, oats).”

Tuck recommends trying a delicious chocolate smoothie with protein powder, banana, cacao and milk.

“This provides carbs, protein, fats and important minerals such as potassium and magnesium,” Tuck said.

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5. High intensity interval training (e.g. cross fit, HIIT)

After high intensity interval training, Debenham recommends opting for an egg omelette with sautéed onions and capsicum, plus a bowl of chopped fruit. Hint: include pineapple.

“Aside from their protein content, eggs are high in leucine which triggers muscle protein synthesis. The vitamin C in the capsicums is essential for maintaining healthy cartilage you need to cushion your bones,” Debenham said.

“Research suggests that bromelain (an enzyme in pineapple) may help to reduce exercise induced inflammation.”

Another delicious option is overnight oats — simply combine oats, yoghurt or milk of choice, mashed banana and chia seeds.

MARIA SHUMOVA VIA GETTY IMAGES

Other post-workout snack and meal ideas:

  • Peanut butter and banana in a whole grain wrap
  • Lean chicken and salad roll
  • Bowl of muesli with yogurt and berries
  • Fresh fruit salad with Greek yogurt
  • Tin of tuna with crackers, plus a banana
  • Lean meat, chicken or fish with potato and vegetables
  • Stir fry with lean meat
  • Toast with banana, reduced-fat ricotta and honey, plus an orange.

11/01/2017 1:38 PM AEDT | Updated 13/01/2017 8:41 AM AEDT|Juliette Steen|Associate Food Editor, HuffPost Australia