Whether you are jogging to lose weight or simply increase your fitness, the things you do after a workout can affect how your body responds to exercise. The foods you eat after jogging can help your muscles recover quickly, allowing your body to repair itself and build new muscles. As you choose post-run snacks, select foods that will help your muscles without sacrificing your diet and health goals.
During a workout, your muscles become depleted of glycogen, which is essential for rebuilding and refueling them. By eating the right foods after a run, you can help your body replenish the glycogen stores more quickly. When your glycogen levels are up, your body is better able to repair itself, and your next workout will be more effective than if you had not eaten.
Types of Foods
MayoClinic.com recommends that you eat a snack that has a mix of protein and carbohydrates for optimum refueling for your body. To avoid adding unnecessary calories, look for lean protein sources like baked chicken or ground turkey breast. Pair them with a healthy carbohydrate source, like yogurt or whole-grain bread. You might eat a half sandwich with lean meat and vegetables, for example, or eat yogurt and fruit. Other options include nuts or low-fat cheese and crackers. If your stomach can handle it, you can time it right and plan to go jogging just before a regular meal.
According to a study by The American Physiological Society, adding caffeine to a post-jogging meal can help your muscles recover more quickly. The study found that having caffeine with a post-run meal can aid in carbohydrate uptake, which raises glycogen levels. Higher glycogen levels will help with your next workout. Coffee and tea both provide caffeine without extra calories and artificial sweeteners.
For the best results, eat a post-jog meal within two hours of finishing your workout. Eating too soon after the workout may upset your stomach, and waiting too long can reduce the benefits of the meal. In most cases, taking the time to shower and get home after a workout should give you enough time to settle your stomach. If you have a long drive or post-workout plans, choose snacks that are easy to pack, like plastic bags of nuts and string cheese.