After a great run (or even a lousy one), reward your body with great nutrition. If you’re putting the right kind of fuel in your body, your performance will improve as well as your muscle recovery. Here are a few things to keep in mind when eating after your workout:
Make A Liquid
After a really hard workout, it’s common to not have much of an appetite. However, this doesn’t mean that you should skip eating because your body needs nutrients to replenish itself. So, when food doesn’t sound appealing, give yourself a liquid snack instead. Make yourself a smoothie with protein powder, fruit, and some spinach for a perfect post-run reward.
Most of us don’t need much of an excuse to consume carbohydrates, but in case you do, here is why carbs are perfect for post-workout. Your body is mainly fueled by carbs, and it takes a lot of energy to produce protein and repair your damaged muscles. By eating 150 calories worth of raw veggies, nuts, legumes, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, or breads after exercise, you will be giving your body the nutrition it needs to repair sore muscles and restore your energy. Or simply pour yourself a glass of chocolate milk. Chocolate milk will rehydrate you because the extra carbs are perfect for replenishing glycogen, and the protein will aid in recovering and rebuilding your muscles.
Oxidation occurs as your body works to break down food as it’s exposed to various toxins. This is a natural process, but it creates imbalanced molecules known as free radicals that can damage your cells. By eating foods rich in antioxidants such as fruit, beans, vegetables, dark chocolate, and teas, you are combating those free radicals and the adverse effect they have on your body. Cherry juice is rich in antioxidants and has proven to be extremely effective in reducing muscle inflammation and relieving pain. If you decide to give this miracle juice a try, make sure that your cherry juice doesn’t have any added sugar. It will make you pucker from the tarty taste, but the results will be well worth it.
Protein should be a go-to for any serious runner as it is fundamental for repairing muscles. Amino acids are found in protein based food and are what our muscles are built upon. These amino acids are essential to building new cells, as well as repairing them. According to The Harvard School of Public Health, men should have an average daily intake of 56 grams of protein and 46 grams for women. However, if you are an athlete or participate in strenuous exercise regularly, you will likely need even more protein than that. So, after a long run, you can’t go wrong with eggs, beans, cheese, fish, or poultry.
Your body works hard for you, so reward your muscles by feeding yourself the foods that work hard for you in return.