Take carbohydrates at night after running

Many people wonder if they should eat carbohydrates after a night run. On the one hand, carbohydrates help muscles to recover and thus achieve your training goals. On the other hand, eating after a night run can affect sleep and put recovery in jeopardy. Furthermore, sugar is a carbohydrate that can prevent you from feeling sleepy even when your body is tired after running at night.

To answer the question of what to eat at night after running, it is important to understand how the body processes the macronutrients from carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

How Macronutrients Are Processed

The body needs carbohydrates for energy and it is important to make good use of them. This macronutrient can be burned with (aerobic exercise) or without (anaerobic exercise) oxygen. Fat, on the other hand, always requires a lot of oxygen. Plus, it takes twice as long as carbohydrates to produce the same amount of energy. That is why we have to slow down when we want to burn fat by running, so the body can proceed with the oxidation process and is not exhausted. You will notice that you are burning fat when your breathing slows down. If you are breathing fast and irregularly, it means that the body is not burning all the fat that it could.

This is the time when it starts to hurt a bit. You may think at that moment that the sofa is a great place and much more comfortable. Or that you wonder why you are doing it. But when you’ve gotten past all these mental hurdles, things will be easier.

The body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscles. They are very important energy reserves, especially for the most ambitious runners. The more glycogen you have stored in your muscles, the more and the better you can perform.

In general, this is the recommended nutrient ratio for athletes:

  • Carbohydrates 55-65%
  • Protein 10-15%
  • Fat 25-30%

Carbs after running

Carbohydrates are the fuel for your muscles. This macronutrient is very important for runners who want to improve their performance (for a marathon for example), not only before training but also after the race. Refilling glycogen stores right after finishing a race will help your body recover faster. This helps the body adapt better for a harder workout and builds a better immune system faster. The more frequent and intense your training, the more important it is to eat a high-carbohydrate diet to recover.

When and how many carbohydrates to eat after running

The best time for the body to refill glycogen stores is during the first 30 minutes after a workout. Consume about 0.5 g of carbohydrates for every kg of your body weight. For a 65 kg woman, this would be about 30 g of carbohydrates.

30 g of carbohydrates can be in the form of:

a banana
5 dates
1 slice of bread with jam
40 g of granola with 200 ml of cow’s milk

These types of carbohydrates, known as simple carbohydrates, are easy to digest and are easily absorbed by the body. After 30 minutes, this half-hour window closes and the body is no longer able to absorb carbohydrates as quickly and efficiently.


You do not need to eat carbohydrates after a short run (5-10 km), because the glycogen stores have not been depleted.

What to eat after running

An hour after your run, you should have a full meal with carbohydrates, protein, and fat. To be more exact, your food should contain a 3: 1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Carbohydrates are very important at this time, but the body also needs protein to build muscle. On the other hand, consuming an excess of this other macronutrient can interfere with the absorption of carbohydrates and hinder the balance of the body.

A good example of a post-run food is baked egg-filled sweet potatoes.

What to eat after running at night to lose weight

Runners who make weight loss a priority should try to avoid taking a lot of carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates should be avoided. Complex carbohydrates are necessary for a balanced diet, as we will see now. Short endurance runs (such as the 5K) do not deplete glycogen stores, so you don’t need to refill them during (for example, isotonic sports drinks) or right after the race. The best thing, in this case, is water.

Take advantage of the afterburner effect for the first half-hour after the race and wait before eating. Then you should have a mixture of carbohydrates and protein, as we described before. But at the end of the day, if you want to lose weight, what matters is that you have a negative energy balance (about 500 calories a day). So you will have to burn more calories than you consume.

complex carbohydrates after training at night

If you are a runner and want to lose weight, it is important to pay attention to what you eat, in addition to your training. The best thing, in this case, is to take complex carbohydrates (along with quality proteins and healthy fats). Not only do they keep you on a full stomach for longer, but they provide you with plenty of additional minerals and vitamins for metabolism and the immune system. Complex carbohydrates are found, for example, in whole grain products (such as pasta, bread, and rice). Whole grain products include all the original parts of the grain (the bran, the germ, and the endosperm), as well as all the nutrients. Simple carbohydrates are obtained by removing the outer part and keeping only the endosperm. Other foods that contain complex carbohydrates include potatoes with their skins, legumes, and vegetables.

In what foods are the different kinds of carbohydrates found?

Complex carbohydrates

They take longer to digest and provide loads of vitamins, minerals, trace amounts, and fiber that boost metabolism and strengthen the immune system

Whole grain and other whole foods like pasta and bread Potatoes with skin Integral rice Broad beans, lentils, and peas Vegetables, 100% vegetable juice Fruits, 100% fruit juice Simple carbohydrates.

They are a fast energy source because they digest quickly. They cause blood sugar and insulin levels to rise. Flour and pastries: cakes, cookies, white bread Pasta Refreshments Sugar and sweets Alcohol.

Do you need carbohydrates after an evening running session?

Yes and no. A carbohydrate-rich snack will replenish empty glycogen stores in the immediate 30 minutes after a long run (more than 10 km). The ideal ratio of carbohydrates to protein in a meal after running is 3: 1 for optimal recovery.

Bottom line: you should consume carbohydrates after running at night to prioritize recovery, but you should minimize their intake after running at night if you want to lose weight.

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