By: JOY MIHANNI
Edited By: ARYA ROERIG
Great job! You just finished a run and now you have that post-workout glow. In a few minutes, though, you’re going to be hungry – really hungry! Now it’s time to think about what to eat after your run. So grab a bottle of water, bask in your after-glow for another minute and get ready to refuel.
With any workout, especially running, you want to replenish energy as quickly as possible. Many studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding stored glucose within the first 30 minutes after exercise. By eating after your workout, you can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness.
Now let’s get to what to eat. You’ll want to consume primarily carbs, but don’t ignore protein. Nutrition bars, such as Clif bars or Power bars, are healthy options. Other examples would be a bagel with peanut butter or a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt. If you feel like you can’t really eat much solid food after a run, try drinking some chocolate milk. Chocolate milk provides plenty of protein, carbohydrates and B vitamin. This makes it a great recovery drink, and plus, cold chocolate milk tastes really refreshing after a run. Of course, don’t forget to rehydrate with plenty of water or a sports drink! You can also experiment with different foods that contain sodium. Try eating things like chicken noodle soup, pickle juice, bananas, coconut milk, salted peanuts and pretzels to get your sodium levels back up. Don’t wait any longer than 30 minutes to get food and fluids back in you after a long run. Otherwise, you’ll end up extending your recovery time dramatically.
You want to remember to stay within your overall range for the day. This means that you don’t need to be obsessive about following calorie and nutrient ratios perfectly, just be careful not to fall into the very common trap of thinking that it’s OK to eat anything you want because you just ran. Eating too much of the wrong thing can do the opposite of what you want. It can cause your body to store that food as fat instead of using your post-workout food to refuel and repair your muscles.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask other people who run or work out about what they eat after a long run. You can always rely on your own appetite, energy levels, and experience to tell you whether you need to eat anything before or after exercise and what it should be. The basic rule here is: Find out what works best for you, and do it!