Hitting the gym 4-5 times isn't a free pass to eat what you want when you want. The British Journal of Sports Medicine released a study in 2015 that confirmed the pivotal role of diet and nutrition, with Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra revealing his worries that many believe 'they can outrun a bad diet.'
Speaking to the BBC, he explained that "an obese person does not need to do one iota of exercise to lose weight, they just need to eat less" and his biggest concern is "that the messaging that is coming to the public suggests you can eat what you like as long as you exercise. That is unscientific and wrong."
Don't let your workouts go to waste. To maximise your training sessions and get quick, visible results, put thought behind your diet. Shopping for these 10 superfoods is a great place to start.
Your new health kick doesn't have to break the budget. Eggs are a nutrient powerhouse, rich in iron, vitamins B12, B2 and B5, and all 9 essential amino acids. It's also an amazing source of Choline; a powerful and important nutrient needed for cognitive function and improvement. A study made by Iowa State University found that, in the US alone, 90 per cent of adults don't get the recommended amount of choline in their diet.
In terms of upping your gym-game, each egg also provide six grams of high-quality protein, which is perfect post-workout. During training, the muscle tissue breaks down and tears in order to rebuild stronger and leaner. This process of repair and recovery takes place after your workout. By feeding your body with the best possible nutrients - scrambled, boiled or poached eggs - in your anabolic state, you enhance your recovery and promise faster results.
On average men should aim to eat 56 grams of protein a day, so look to lean meats to fuel your training success even further. A certain amount of stigma is attached to red meat for its associated risks - over consumption is said to increase your chances of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Our advice? Stick to turkey.
Turkey provides a low calorie (at just 125 calories for every three ounce cooked portion), high-nutrient meal, ready with 26 grams of protein. Insomniacs: this tasty superfood is also high in the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is used by the body to produce the mood-enhancing/sleep-inducing chemical, serotonin. Delicious food followed by a sound night's sleep, it's a win, win!
The sky-high antioxidant content of pomegranates and pomegranate juice makes it one of the best superfoods around. For years it's been regarded as a 'miracle fruit' for its ability to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and potentially reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
A 2007 study led by the American Chemical Society explains how pomegranates work in a 'seek and destroy' fashion. "On consumption, ellagitannins (ET), antioxidants abundant in pomegranate juice, break down to metabolites known as urolithins. Urolithins appear to inhibit the growth of human prostate cancer cells" reports Science Daily. Whilst sculpting your gym-bod is important, maintaining full-health takes top priority - let pomegranates help you out.
Clean eating can have its perks. If you've a soft-spot for peanut butter you're in luck; it's secretly super-healthy. As a treat for making it through a tough gym session, within 60 mins of getting back from your workout; maximise those gains with a 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter on apple slices or whole grain bread. These 8 grams of protein enhance your post-exercise recovery and improve energy levels, ready for your next workout. There are such things as good fats, and peanut butter proves it.
This famed aphrodisiac is regarded as one of the best foods for men, and surprise surprise, that's thanks to the positive impact it can make on male sexual health. Oysters are one of the best sources of zinc, and whilst the zinc content tends to vary depending on where the oysters are from/how they're cooked; it's never less than '94 Percent Daily Value' reports Livestrong, which is still an incredible amount. By consuming zinc through cooked seafood, men can boost their fertility, increase testosterone levels and improve their long-term sexual health. If you hate the thought of eating oysters, leafy greens and pumpkin seeds are high in zinc too.
For centuries, this age-old spice has been praised for its healing and medicinal properties. If you've pushed yourself too hard at the gym, ginger holds anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce any swelling and ease aches and pains. If you're prone to exercise related injuries, try to include as much ginger in your diet as you can as natural pain relief. It's also great for stomach cramps and nausea if you're feeling under the weather - a superfood all-rounder.
Tofu (or a similar soy-based food product) is regarded as one of the best foods to protect against prostate cancer. This is due to its isoflavone content; a chemical found in soy that seems to mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body and in turn potentially delay the growth of prostate cancer. To supplement this theory further, research shows that "countries that have a high intake of soy in their diet tend to have much lower rates of prostate cancer (and other types of cancers) compared to countries where soy intake is fairly low," says Cancer Research UK. If you aren't eating soy foods already, start now.
Loaded in protein, fibre and lots of lovely minerals, quinoa is the superfood of the moment - and it's gluten free! For every 1 cup of quinoa you get 8 grams of protein and a whole bunch of important nutrients, including manganese, phosphorus, copper and iron. What's more, these powerful little grains also come packed with two important flavonoids: quercetin and kaempferol; that are proven to have an anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant effect on the body. Teamed with lots of freshly cooked veg, it makes a far superior post-workout dish to any takeout - give it a try!
If you're looking to speed up the recovery process, choose cherries, or more specifically, tart cherries. This low-calorie fruit not only makes the perfect snack, with its delectably sweet taste and high antioxidant content; its anti-inflammatory properties also make it a must-eat for athletes.
A recent study published in the journal, Nutrients found that "cyclists who drank tart cherry juice concentrate before a three-day race experienced less inflammation and oxidative stress" compared to those who drank an alternative drink. They believe it decreased muscle pain, reduced tissue damage and all-in-all, promoted a faster recovery.
You read correctly. Whilst chocolate milk hasn't earned its superfood stripes just yet, it is one of the best post-exercise snacks money can buy - even pro athlete Mo Farrah swears by it. According to The Guardian, this can be explained by the fact that chocolate milk "contains a three-to-one ratio of carbohydrate grams to protein grams which appears to enhance glycogen replenishment, as well as far more potassium, calcium and vitamin D than most sports drinks."
What's more, chocolate milk also appears to be stomach friendly/easy to digest (with the exception of those who are lactose intolerant), allowing the key proteins that are essential to repair, to be absorbed into the body at a quicker rate. Choccy milks all round!