12 Best Foods To Eat After Running Or Heavy Exercising


Does post-exercise tiredness prevent you from following your regular workout routine? Worry not! Read on to find out post-exercise foods that will help in the recovery of the lost nutrients!

After you smash your muscles in a gruelling strength-training or endurance workout, you need the right combination of carbs and protein to fuel up your body once again.  

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Eating within 30 minutes after the workout is highly recommended because during this period your body absorbs nutrients rapidly to recover the loss of nutrients while exercising.

We need to understand that refuelling is essential for muscle repair and restoration of energy, which are essential in optimising our weight and metabolism.

To understand how the right foods can help us after exercise, it is important to understand how our body is affected by physical activity.

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When we are working out, our muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel. This results in our muscles being partially depleted of glycogen.

Some of the proteins in our muscles also get broken down and damaged. After we work out, our body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow those muscle proteins.

Eating the right nutrients soon after our exercise can help our body get this done faster. It is particularly important to eat carbs and protein after a workout.

Doing these 4 things helps your body:

  • Decrease muscle protein breakdown.
  • Increase muscle protein synthesis (growth).
  • Restore glycogen stores.
  • Enhance recovery.

12 Optimal Meals and Snacks to Refuel and Recover

1. Whey Protein Shake

Blend one to two scoops of high-quality protein powder with your choice of liquid. It does not have to be whey, you can use pea or rice if you are a vegetarian or vegan.

Likewise, for the liquid, you can choose dairy or non-dairy milk, or even water.  

You can add fruit and/or vegetables to provide the protein and carbs needed in a classic post-workout recovery grab-n-go option.

2. Whole Eggs or Scrambled Eggs

This post-workout is perfect for those on low calories and carbs, but need the protein to retain muscle and fat to decrease hunger. Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high-quality protein.

More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white along with vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat and cholesterol than the yolk.

The whites are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

Nutrients in Egg
Nutrients in Egg

3. Greek Yogurt and Berries

Greek yogurt is particularly high in protein compared to its traditional counterpart. Add your favorite berries for some carbs and antioxidants to help reduce inflammation and decrease muscle soreness at the same time.

4. Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese and potassium. After a workout, body’s glycogen level drops, and sweet potato being a complex carb helps restore glycogen level.

5. Protein Pancakes

Add protein powder or pick up a commercially available protein pancake mix to turn this traditional sugar-laden breakfast into a protein-packed post-workout meal. You can go easy on sugar and add honey or maple syrup instead to enhance the taste.

6. High-Protein Oats

Another great convenience food, this dish is best for morning trainers. Oats and whey have been a bodybuilding staple forever, but often times are bland and burnt out.

By adding some fruit, natural sweetener, and almonds, you gain a whole new appreciation for oatmeal. The balance of carbs and protein make it great for those looking to build mass and those watching the leanness scale.

7. Chicken and Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet potatoes are the perfect bodybuilder carb that slowly digests to keep your energy levels high and insulin spike just enough to feed the muscles but not the fat stores.

8. Homemade Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk is deemed the king of easy, convenient, and cheap post-workout options. That is because it hydrates while providing a solid source of protein and carbs.

Opt to make your own version as most found at the grocery store contain high amounts of added sugar.

9. Salmon

Salmon contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids which are good for rapid recovery. It also contains vitamin D, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 for energy. Salmon helps to regulate insulin level and boost energy and strength.

10. Avocado

Avocado contains saturated fats, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E and pantothenic acid. It is loaded with potassium which helps to keep your blood pressure in check. It boosts energy levels and keeps you active and energetic throughout the day.

11. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is one of the cheapest, high-protein foods you can eat. A 4oz serving can provide 13g of both casein and whey protein, allowing for extended recovery from training. Add some fruit for carbs, texture, and flavor.

12. Dried Fruits

Nuts and dry fruits are rich in protein, carbohydrate, vitamin A, vitamin K and calcium. Being simple carbs, they digest easily and help replenish glycogen level, thereby increasing body’s energy level.

So enjoy these simple yet super nutritious foods after sweating it out at the gym or running those extra miles.

Let us know about your journey and we will keep filling you in through our blogs with whatever we can lay our hands on in terms of nutrition and health.

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4 thoughts on “12 Best Foods To Eat After Running Or Heavy Exercising

  1. Andreas dimosthenous says:

    I really love your article, it has many useful informations. I am trying to lose weight, I recently started training and weight lifting and I will be pleased if you could give me advice to this.

  2. John says:

    I am working towards losing weight and not able to get a proper diet plan and workout schedule. There are many suggestions on the internet so not really sure which ones to follow. please if you could guide me through,

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