Benefits of eating French fries before & after exercise

An athlete can eat air fryer French fries a couple of hours before exercise or as a post-workout meal. They’re packed with nutrients that promote muscle recovery and growth.

On the other hand, regular deep-fried French fries are bad for sports performance. They have too many calories and can make an athlete lethargic.

Why should an athlete eat French fries before a workout?

Firstly, athletes can eat air fryer French fries a couple of hours before exercise because they provide energy for a long time.

French fries have a medium Glycemic Index of 64. As they’re mainly starch and have a decent amount of fiber, they don’t spike blood sugar levels. This is important for athletes who perform workouts that last more than 60 minutes.[1]

Vitamin B6

Firstly, French fries are particularly rich in vitamin B6. A serving provides about 44% of the Daily Value. Athletes should follow a diet high in vitamin B6, as it’s involved in energy metabolism. It fuels the muscles with energy!


Moreover, a serving of French fries provides 29% of the Daily Value of niacin. Niacin plays a key role in sports performance as well as weight loss because it’s also involved in the metabolism of carbs, fat and protein. 

A niacin-rich diet appears to have beneficial effects on endurance performance. On the other hand, niacin deficiency may have negative effects on athletes.[2]


A serving of French fries provides about 27% of phosphorus as well.

Athletes have higher phosphorus needs than the general population. They should greatly increase phosphorus intake during periods of high intensity exercise or competition season.[3]

You can skyrocket your daily phosphorus intake by following a plant-based diet. The richest foods in phosphorus are hemp or pumpkin seeds.


Furthermore, a serving of French fries provides about 26% of the recommended daily intake of potassium.

It’s vital for elite and amateur athletes to maintain healthy levels of potassium. This essential mineral is required for the proper function of the muscles and nerves. For instance, it’s involved in muscle contraction.[4]

14 reasons why eating French fries is good for athletes!Pin

Long-distance endurance athletes or everyone who sweat a lot should be very mindful of getting adequate amounts of potassium. A common adverse effect of potassium inadequacy is cramps.

Seeds and nuts are the richest foods in potassium. Avocado is the richest common fruit in potassium as well.


Another important vitamin that French fries are abundant in is thiamine. A serving provides 22% of the DV.

Thiamine is also a vitamin of the B complex. It means that we should daily consume adequate amounts. It affects energy levels, as it’s involved in glucose metabolism. Athletes who regularly do exhaustive exercise are more likely to be deficient in thiamine, as strenuous exercise depletes it.

Also, obese people who want to lose weight should greatly increase their thiamine intake. In fact, in some cases, they may benefit by taking dietary supplements.


French fries are among the richest foods in copper as well. A serving provides 21% of the DV.

Copper helps absorb iron, produce energy, synthesize collagen, and protect connective tissue! All these are vital for athletes.[5]

Moreover, as copper helps burn belly fat, it’s particularly beneficial in maintaining a lean body year-round.

Other minerals & vitamins

Additionally, a serving of French fries provides:

  • Pantothenic acid (18% DV), which it’s involved in muscle cell energy metabolism.
  • Manganese (16% DV), which controls glucose and protein metabolism. Also, it may help fight exercise-induced free radicals, promoting muscle recovery! Only plant-based foods are high in manganese.[6]
  • Vitamin K (14% DV). It protects athletes from fractures, as it’s essential for bone remodeling. Also, it appears to improve fitness status.[7]
  • Magnesium (13% DV) of which athletes have increased daily needs. Magnesium decreases lactate production during strenuous exercise and regulates blood glucose levels.
  • Folate (11% DV), which appears to protect the heart during acute, intense exercise. People who follow caloric-restricted diets for a lean body should be very cautious with getting adequate amounts of folate as well.[8]
  • Choline (10% DV), which it’s necessary for muscle and nervous system functions as well as good mood.[9]

How long before a workout can an athlete eat French fries?

However, athletes shouldn’t eat French fries close to a workout. Fiber can cause stomach discomfort and impaired athletic performance. Actually, endurance athletes should cut down on fiber a couple of days before a big race.

Regular deep-fried French fries are even worse for sports performance. They’re too hard to digest. They can make athletes sluggish and sleepy. Eating regular French fries before exercise is bad for any athlete.

If you enjoy eating regular French fries, at least eat them after exercise.

Benefits of eating French fries after a workout

Eating air fryer French fries after a workout is beneficial for athletes. Potatoes are mainly carbs. A large serving has almost 64 grams of carbs!

Athletes require high amounts of high-quality carbs after strenuous exercise to replenish muscle glycogen stores. This process is crucial for muscle recovery. Athletes who work out daily should follow a carbohydrate-rich diet. Otherwise, they may experience fatigue or impaired athletic performance.

Benefits of eating French fries before & after exercise. Nutritional value.Pin

Moreover, as French fries have some fiber, they promote the feeling of fullness for many hours. So, they help athletes maintain a lean body year-round. In fact, properly cooked potatoes, as part of a well-balanced diet, support weight loss.

For an even higher satiety effect, you could eat French fries with protein-rich foods, like beans, mushrooms, eggs, chicken, or lean meat. Even certain vegetables, such as kale and spinach, are great plant-based protein sources.

The combination of fiber with protein substantially increases the satiety score of a meal.[10]

How long after exercise can an athlete eat air fryer French fries?

The first snack after intense exercise should be high in sugar. Actually, the best time of the day to eat your favorite candy is right after exercise. Sugar is easily stored as muscle glycogen!

The second post-workout snack can contain fiber or starch. Hence, athletes could eat air fryer French fries, rice, or whole grain bread 15–30 minutes after consuming a sugar-rich post-workout snack.

Can athletes in the bulking phase eat deep-fried French fries?

Deep-fried French fries are unhealthy. You should avoid consuming them. They’re packed with calories and dangerous trans fats.

Additionally, most vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids. We require significantly fewer omega-6s than modern Western diets provide. Our ancestors used to follow a diet with equal amounts of omega-6s to omega-3s. Nowadays, we consume approximately 15 times more omega-6s than omega-3s! This causes chronic low-grade inflammation.

Cutting down on deep-fried foods greatly lowers the consumed amount of omega-6s.

Moreover, you can boost your daily omega-3 intake by consuming certain seeds, walnuts, or avocados.

Also, regular deep-fried French fries are very hard to digest. They can keep you lethargic for hours. Being active all day long is key to maintaining a lean body.

Therefore, even athletes in the bulking phase should avoid consuming deep-fried French fries or other unhealthy fast food. It’s preferable to get extra calories from healthy, calorie-dense foods, like avocado, seeds, and nuts.

How to cook French fries for a lean body?

Air fryer French fries are a healthy alternative to traditional deep-fried fries. Cutting down on extra calories from vegetable oil is key for cooking this healthy, filling, nutritious, post-workout meal.

All vegetable oils are super calorie-dense, as they’re almost 100% fat. A tablespoon of any vegetable oil has about 125 calories!

Here’s an easy and quick recipe to cook air fryer French fries:


  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • seasoning of your choice: salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder etc.


  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 °F (200 °C) for a few minutes.
  2. Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them into evenly sized fries, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Place the cut potatoes in a bowl of cold water and let them soak for 30 minutes. This helps remove excess starch and makes the fries crispier.
  4. Drain and pat the potatoes dry with a paper towel.
  5. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with olive oil, and your favorite seasonings.
  6. Place the seasoned fries in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Do not overcrowd them.
  7. Cook the fries in the air fryer for about 15–20 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through the cooking time. This helps to ensure even cooking and crispy fries.
  8. Check the fries for desired crispness. If needed, cook for an additional 5 minutes. Enjoy!

How to eat French fries?

If you want to lose weight, you should avoid calorie-packed sauces, such as ketchup or mayonnaise. Prefer mustard or light mayo, respectively. They have significantly fewer calories.

Moreover, you should limit the amount of consumed salt if you work out for a lean body. Too much salt may raise blood pressure, negatively affect heart health, and increase the risk of obesity. Only long-distance endurance athletes may have much higher daily needs of salt in order, to replenish sodium and chloride; two essential electrolytes.

In fact, instead of salt, you can provide flavor to your French fries by using a mix of your favorite spices.

Spices and herbs are the richest foods in antioxidants. These health-promoting compounds neutralize exercise-induced oxidative stress. This process helps with muscle recovery!

Hence, you could dip French fries in a healthy sauce, like guacamole.

You can also sprinkle your French fries with chopped parsley, cilantro, oregano, or any other of your favorite herbs.

Last, but not least, athletes could eat French fries with a protein source, such as vegetables, mushrooms, chicken, fish, eggs etc.

How many French fries can an athlete eat a day?

An athlete of bodybuilding who works out hard for muscle hypertrophy or an endurance athlete can eat 1-2 large servings of air fryer French fries a day. Each serving has about 250 calories.

If you’re in the cutting phase, you could eat only a medium serving of air fryer French fries a day, and only after strenuous exercise.

Air fryer French fries are actually beneficial for a lean body.Pin

However, if you like traditional French fries, you should sparingly eat only small portions. Just a serving has almost 500 calories! Traditional French fries can make you gain weight and lethargic. It isn’t proper food for athletes.[11]

French fries or boiled potatoes for sports performance?

Both are good for you, as long as you cook them properly. Above all, avoid using too much vegetable oil, as it’s particularly high in calories.

Moreover, it’s preferable to cook potatoes with the skin; it’s the most nutritious part. So, if you can find organic potatoes, you could bake or boil them. They’re an excellent post-workout meal.

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