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What To Eat After a Run: A Jack City Guide
Your post-run meal is an important part of your workout. Whether you are curious about what to eat after a run to lose weight or planning to enhance your workouts with the right recovery food, we have answers for you.
Whether you choose to run on the streets, in the woods, or on specialized workout equipment, the basics remain the same. For instance, it’s crucial for athletes to lace up some good shoes and engage in a proper warm-up before their run. It’s also essential for athletes to consider what they put in their bodies before, during, and after they run. Proper hydration, as well as both pre- and post-run food, are key elements to success.
Though many athletes have nailed their hydration and pre-run meal routines, some of our members have questions about which foods to eat after running. This is understandable. Following a big run, it’s natural to want to get in the shower, cool down, and relax—not prepare an entire meal. But missing this step of your workout is, frankly, not a great decision. Whatever the goals of an individual athlete might be, from losing weight to gaining muscle, it is incredibly important to eat healthy food after running. However, those foods might differ according to those varying goals.
So, what is the best food to eat after a run? There is not just one answer to this question. As we mentioned above, the best recovery food for runners will depend on their goals and desired results.
What to Eat After a Run to Lose Weight
Many athletes choose running as part of their larger weight loss regimen, which often includes a special nutrition plan, targeted workouts, and one-on-one personal coaching. Following a workout or run, these athletes are encouraged to consume a nourishing recovery meal. Generally, this meal should be one that helps heal muscles while not adding unnecessary or empty calories.
Need some inspo for a nutritious but low-cal meal to eat after your run? Try working with some of the following ingredients:
- Roasted Veggies
Whether you’re bonkers for broccoli, yearning for yams, or serious about sprouts, one thing’s for certain: it’s a great idea to eat them after your run. The high fiber count in a lot of vegetables will keep you full for longer, and the natural vitamins and nutrients found within will give your body some extra post-workout TLC.
We are huge fans of eating beets following a workout, as they contain dietary nitrates that can help enhance your future running performances. Plus, they’re absolutely delicious. We love this recipe for beet hummus with hazelnut dukkah—yum!
Fruit is always a fine choice for a snack, but after a run, it can be doubly effective. Not only do most fruits contain plenty of nutritious vitamins and compounds, but they also tend to have high water content. So, if you decide to cut up some chunks of watermelon after your big run, you won’t only be nourishing your body by consuming helpful compounds like lycopene and citrulline, you’ll also be hydrating—something we know is crucial for workout recovery.
Protein is super-important for helping muscles recover after an intense workout like running. Beans are a fantastic form of protein—and they’re loaded with calcium as well. Beans are a perfect ingredient for an athlete following a plant-based lifestyle, as they make a wonderful substitute for meat in most recipes (lentil bolognese, black bean burgers, and legume roasts are all wonderful examples of this!).
- Raw Veggies
Not only are raw vegetables delicious and refreshing, they are a fabulous and low-calorie way to consume plenty of nutrients in a pure form. If salads or crudites aren’t your favorite thing, that’s okay—raw vegetables can work their way beautifully into a smoothie as well. Spinach, kale, and avocado may be some of the classic smoothie veggies, but you can experiment with all of your faves.
Eggs are a protein powerhouse, and they’re bound to keep you full for a while after mealtime—always a plus for those trying to lose weight. Make yourself a tasty veggie omelet after your run, or even boil eggs the night before so you can peel and snack as soon as you’re hungry.
What To Eat After a Run To Gain Muscle
For those who are running as part of their plan to bulk up or grow muscle, there are many options for post-workout food. The aforementioned foods and ingredients are great choices for bodybuilders, along with the following:
Great news for Idaho athletes—our famous dairy is a fantastic ingredient for building muscle. In general, items like milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt are the forms of dairy most often consumed by runners during recovery. Try eating some creamy Greek yogurt with your favorite fruit and nuts, or pour some milk into your next post-workout smoothie or shake.
- Whey and Other Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are a runner’s best friend, especially those who don’t have a big appetite after they work out. Recovery shakes and smoothies allow for athletes to quickly and easily consume all the protein and nutrients they need to properly heal after their run. Many runners prefer shakes because they’re easy to make and can pack in loads of protein without empty calories.
- Poultry and Lean Meat
Chicken and turkey are fantastic choices for a post-workout meal. They are versatile and nutritious forms of protein known for being lean. We also think they make a great post-workout choice because they are easy ingredients to prepare in advance. They can easily be thrown into a salad, sandwich, or nourishing bowl after your workout without worry or stress.
Best Recovery Food After a LONG Run
If you tend to engage in more long-distance running, your body might need a little more TLC while you enjoy your post-workout meal. Though all of the previously discussed foods are fine choices following your long run, we also recommend you add:
- Brown Rice
Carbs are important for any athlete, and brown rice is one of our favorites. Try making yourself a rice bowl at home—this can include all of your favorite fruits and vegetables, as well as a lean protein of your choice, like fish or chicken.
We love all fish, but salmon holds a special place in the heart of many athletes (especially distance runners) for its extreme nutritional value. It’s packed with protein and is famous for its omega-3 fatty acid levels, which are thought to help athletes recover after an intense workout. Plus, yum.
Psst—oatmeal is good any time of the day, not just breakfast. It’s a healthy and effective form of carbohydrate, and when loaded up with your favorite nuts and fruits, it makes for a well-balanced meal whenever you finish your run.
Where Can I Become a Better Runner?
Boise athletes, we’ve got you covered. Whether you are planning to run a marathon, want to beat your personal best, or are simply looking to learn more about your own physical fitness, your future is waiting for you at Jack City Fitness.
Here at Jack City, we cater to athletes of all kinds, including runners! Athletes can train with a number of experienced and dedicated coaches to ensure that their form is on point and their body is primed and ready to run as far and fast as their goals dictate. Our partners are invited to visit the Jack City facility whenever they want—we are open 24/7, so athletes can choose a schedule that works for them, not the other way around. Many of our runners gravitate to our famous Woodway treadmills, which are known for their supermodern engineering and exceptional results.
If you’re ready to hit the ground running at Jack City Fitness, get in touch with our team today by calling (208) 999-1111, or drop us a line. We’ll invite you over for a FREE fitness consultation, where you can chat with our team about your personal fitness goals. If you decide to become a partner, you’ll be able to join the fun right away, whether you choose to take a class, work with a trainer, or develop your own custom fitness plan. We are here to support you and help you reach your goals. We can’t wait to meet you!