With the easing of restrictions in the UK, for me and many others the reopening of gym and leisure facilities is welcomed with open arms, as it is something that has been missed over the last year and a half.
As a professional athlete, I have a huge focus on the correct nutrition already, fuelling for the work at hand, but as many of you also begin transitioning back to more rigorous gym workouts and classes, I’ve collated my top tips for using Instant Pot recipes to fuel your workouts, and build yourself healthy lifestyle.
Meal prep like a Pro
If you read my last post, you will know I am an Instant Pot ‘newbie’ – but I have quickly learnt how to prepare bigger batches of food to see me through for a few days. I no longer have to worry about cooking every day as I know that I have multiple portions of healthy meals prepped, and ready to go. This has not only benefitted my lifestyle (now we can socialise again) but throughout my training as I can utilise the correct food at the right time. Meal planning and preparation is vital, so being able to quickly make big batches of food in my Instant Pot as I head into a week where time is limited due to training load, is a game changer.
One Instant Pot recipe I cannot get enough of is Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chilli, which is one of my favourites for an endurance workout. Whilst out training, often in the middle of a difficult session when I am starting to tire, my mind clings to the thought of refuelling post-ride. Knowing I have this meal prepared and lined up for when I arrive home really does ‘get me through’ the hardest part of a workout. Generally, I make a bigger batch and split it out over a few days, as it is the perfect combination of carbohydrates and protein. If I‘m feeling like that extra protein punch, I sometimes add chicken or turkey, however nutritionally it still ticks all the boxes when served as a vegetarian dish. Black beans have exceptional fibre and protein content and are also very low in fat so the perfect vegetarian protein source.
And I know that eating the same dish 3 nights on the trot can sound a little boring, so I like to mix it up and serve it differently each time, whether that is in a wrap, or with some rice or vegetables when making it into a fuller meal, or even by itself as a quick post-workout snack. It’s versatile, easy and tastes like a dream every time!
Nutrition is often seen as a scary topic, but we can look at some simple things, like snacking. If you are like me, you will often find your cravings running wild; we are only human after all. When I hear the word ‘snack’ I associate it with speed and convenience – something to hit the spot quickly and put my appetite on the back foot for a while.
My own simple recipe which has become my go to snack are roasted vegetables in my Instant Vortex Air Fryer. I simply use whatever vegetables I have leftover – usually an abundance of Broccoli and Cauliflower – both low in calories and containing some of almost every vitamin and mineral that you need. I then toss the vegetables together in a vortex-proof dish, add a light seasoning of salt and pepper, then the sprinkle over my key ingredient Turmeric powder. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, so beneficial in speeding recovery by reducing post-exercise soreness after high intensity training. I then put the turmeric coated veggies into the Vortex Air Fryer, select Roast at 200°C and leave them to roast away for about 15 minutes, or until browned. It is a wholesome snack that fights those cravings for me, is super easy to make and can easily be enjoyed throughout the day.
You may or may not know that food is an emotive – something that can inspire us and help achieve our goals. It can transport us through time and space, take us to a location, to ‘that’ meal, to a cherished memory. For me, I have this overriding reminiscence of eating poached eggs with my grandma. Every time I eat them, I’m taken to the most amazing memory of my 9-year-old self, catching the bus to my grandma’s house with my older brother, laying the kitchen table and tucking into a wonderful breakfast – Something I’ll never forget.
The relationship between food and our memory is fantastic, so knowing you have a meal that ‘means’ something to you after exercising can really get you through the hardest part of a workout. This is where choosing the right meal can motivate and push us to our goals.
Think about a food memory that you may have and line that up for your post workout meal – I am certain the right meal can really get you through your next workout with ease!
Please comment below and tell me your food memories.
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