Post-Workout Fuel You Need



Postrun: You ran long and hard, and you're tired.

Eat This: When you run longer than an hour, you need to focus on refueling — and fast. "There's a 30-minute window where the body is very receptive to getting carbs back into the muscles," says Shulman. To know your carb needs, divide your weight in half. If you weigh 140 pounds, you need 70 grams (280 calories) of simple carbs within 30 minutes. Try energy bars or sports drinks because they're quickly absorbed. Getting some protein, too, will kick-start muscle repair. Within an hour of that snack, eat a full meal, ideally in a 4:1 carbs-to-protein ratio. According to a 2006 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, eating carbs and protein together increases glycogen levels more than eating just carbs. Try a bean burrito or pasta with meat sauce to give your body the nutrients it needs, says Shulman.


Postrun: You feel queasy.

Eat This: If your stomach feels upset after a run, it's likely telling you it's been stressed out — either by dehydration, too many gels, or from working hard to get fuel into your system. Even though you might not feel like eating, doing so will help reduce that unsettled feeling and speed recovery. Skip energy gels and chews, which are digested very quickly, says Shulman, and "choose something that takes longer to break down, such as a banana or crackers and cheese — they'll stay in the stomach longer, protecting the lining from acid and helping override that queasy feeling." Other ideas? Jamieson-Petonic suggests ginger tea with sugar, while Kimball likes bland, easily digestible carbs, such as Cream of Wheat.


Postrun: You ran at night, and bedtime looms.

Eat This: Since you'll be going to bed soon, you don't want to eat too much. Doing so regularly could lead to indigestion — and weight gain. One way to prevent overeating after a late run is to "have your last real meal about two hours before your run," says Shulman. After your workout, you won't be superhungry and can refuel with something easy to digest. Jamieson-Petonic suggests sticking with a mix of carbs and protein, like graham crackers with peanut butter and a bowl of berries. Not only will it take the edge off if you're a little hungry, but "the carbs will replenish glycogen stores overnight and the protein will start healing your muscles," says Jamieson-Petonic, so you'll be ready to run again the next day.



This Just In

PB Alert
Salmonella found in PB produced by the Peanut Corporation of America prompted Clif Bar, Luna Bar, Larabar, and other companies to recall many peanut butter-flavored bars. To see if you need to toss yours, go to fda.gov.

Okay Chardonnay
According to a study in the October 2008 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that white wine contains two antioxidant compounds that may give it the same heart-protective qualities as red wine.

Run Off Hunger
In a 2008 study, British researchers reported that aerobic exercise reduced participants' self-reported hunger levels and affected hormones that suppress appetite more than either weight training or no exercise.

More Pasta, Please!
In a December 2008 study, researchers had cyclists keep a food log for three days prior to a race. While 57 percent of the cyclists reported carbo-loading, only 23 percent actually consumed high enough levels of carbs.

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