Jogging or running is a great endurance sport to get fit, lose weight and generally improve endurance. Besides the run itself, nutrition is one of the most important variables a runner must consider to achieve their goals.
There are many factors that play a role in proper nutrition after a running workout. In general, a good post-run meal consists of a combination of carbohydrates and protein: the former provide energy, the latter promote muscle recovery. How much and when exactly you need to eat them to train as efficiently as possible, we tell you here.
When and what should I eat after jogging?
In any kind of sport, your muscles use glycogen and runners consume especially much of it. To help your body regain energy and regenerate after exercise, the recommendation is to eat 1 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight over one meal. If you've been running at low or moderate intensity for less than an hour, you probably haven't used up all the energy stores in your muscles. In that case, you should eat carbohydrates in the 2 hours after the run if you want them to contribute to recovery in the best possible way.
However, if you have had a longer, more intense run and have not eaten for a while, you need to eat carbohydrates within 45 to 60 minutes at the latest. This is especially important if you plan to exercise and run again soon.
Within 30 minutes after the run you should also provide your body with protein, as the absorption capacity is highest then. It is best to have a meal or snack that contains 15-20 grams of protein. As a rule, eat about 0.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Sometimes it is difficult to combine eating and training if you have irregular working hours or shift work. Then you may only be able to train and eat in the evening, or have little time to prepare proper recipes. However, you should not neglect proper nutrition after your run and plan well.
What foods should runners include in their diet?
What you should eat after your workout:
- Peanut butter and bananas
The combination of banana and peanut butter is particularly interesting for runners, as they provide the body with important fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Bananas also contain minerals such as potassium and magnesium, which you lose through sweat during training. When it comes to peanut butter, make sure you eat 100% peanut butter and not sweet nut spreads that contain simple carbohydrates, especially if you want to lose weight.
- Protein shakes and bars
When you need to go fast: Protein shakes and protein bars give you a quick, on-the-go healthy dose of protein and, in some cases, carbohydrates.
- Yogurt or Skyr
If you exercise in the evening, plain yogurt or skyr are the ideal snack before bed. They contain probiotics that aid digestion, protein and calcium. Skyr also contains little fat.
- Hard boiled eggs
Eggs are easy to prepare and can be eaten as a quick protein snack after a run. Whole eggs also promote muscle protein synthesis immediately after exercise, more so than protein alone.
- Vegetables and cottage cheese
White cottage cheese contains a lot of protein as well as leucine. Leucine facilitates the production of protein after exercise. There are many simple recipes you can make with cottage cheese, such as scrambled eggs with cottage cheese or whole wheat bread with cottage cheese and tomatoes after a run to replenish carbohydrate and protein stores. If you're watching your weight: Contains little fat and is great for weight loss.
- Seeds and nuts
Nuts and seeds are also great for after a run. Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds you can super also pack as a snack if you do not have so much time after jogging. They provide you with energy and contain healthy fatty acids and proteins.
The right food and nutrition are very important to achieve your goals, whether they are losing weight, building muscle or increasing endurance. As a rule of thumb, make sure you include enough protein and carbohydrates in your post-run meals and don't wait too long to take them in.
In addition, you should also include foods that contain fat (healthy fats). To find the best combination for your individual body, try different recipes and foods and test what works best for you