Running is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise out there and in order to be successful at it, you need to provide your body with the fuel necessary to go that extra mile.
One of the hardest things about running, is properly planning your food intake to promote optimum performance. You don’t want to eat too heavy or too close to the run, but you also don’t want to skip a meal.
And let’s face it, almost every runner has experienced that horrible feeling when you know you aren’t going to be able to hit the distance you originally intended.
But while it’s important to provide your body with the proper nutrients beforehand, it’s equally important to refuel your body when you’ve completed your run so that your muscles can begin to recover.
That’s where protein comes in and whey protein after running can be the ideal post-workout snack.
Why whey protein?
This quick and easy to digest form of protein can be blended into shakes and smoothies, added to oatmeal or baked into protein bars and will immediately begin to aid your body on its road to muscle repair.
A super food in its own right, whey powder, a protein that comes from cow’s milk during the cheese making process, has a high biological value (actually the highest of any protein) and is rich with the nine essential amino acids that are required from muscle repair and preservation.
Is it Best To Take Whey Protein After Running or Before?
It should come as no surprise that running takes hard work and dedication and because whey protein is fast absorbing and promotes swift muscle recovery, it can be great asset for every runners training regime.
Pro Tip: But protein can be difficult to digest pre-run/workout, so if you consume protein when you return from a good long run, it will immediately get to work, reviving and rebuilding your fatigued muscles.
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Ingesting protein post run will also help the body to maintain a stable nitrogen base, which is another requirement for healthy muscle growth.
Low-calorie but high protein
Although it’s important to up your protein intake when you are running on a regular basis, that doesn’t mean you want to consume a lot of high calories, protein filled foods to help your body recover. So the answer to the question of whether to take whey protein after running or before, is definitely after you exercise.
Pro Tip: Introducing whey protein after running will provide your body with the necessary protein needed for proper muscle repair, but it will allow you to keep your caloric intake low in the process.
And you will feel the effects. In most cases, people who consume whey protein after running won’t be as sore the next day and will experienced increased energy levels with continued use.
Why is muscle repair so important?
Running, like many forms of exercise, can take a toll on your muscles, especially as you tack on the miles and providing your muscles with the time necessary to recover will help to repair tissue and build strength.
Typically you should allow your muscles 24 to 48 hours to rest and repair, and while many people don’t always heed by this rule, whey protein can help speed the process along for protein will help to repair any damaged tissue and will aid in the growth of new tissue.
Keep protein filled snack on hand
If you are a runner or desire to be one, keeping the correct foods on hand will be a key part of your success or failure. Keep foods like whole grain bagels, peanut butter, bananas and yogurt on hand to fuel your runs and add whey protein powder to shakes and smoothies post- run to recharge.
And contrary to popular belief, you can in fact heat whey protein without compromising its nutritional value, so don’t hesitate to bake whey protein powder into muffins or homemade energy bars so that you can have them handy whenever you need a quick and easy protein rich snack to sooth your tired muscles.
An important asset to any runner’s artillery belt, whey protein can help you along as you progress from 3 miles to perhaps one day tackling a marathon. So listen to your body, provide it with the necessary fuel, lace up your trainers and head out on the open road.
Wondering what to eat before running? Should you eat during running? Check this infographic with foods for runners.