Benefits of eating muesli before-after exercise

Muesli supports recovery, muscle gain, and improved athletic performance, as it’s an excellent source of energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which have beneficial effects on the working muscle.

Benefits of eating muesli before a workout

Athletes can eat a bowl of muesli a couple of hours before exercise for increased energy and to boost the antioxidant status of the body. Eating muesli before a workout may help prolong physical exercise.

Muesli is a healthy energy source for athletes

A cup of muesli has about 42 grams of carbs. Sugars are 15 grams, starch is about 22 grams, and the rest is fiber.[1]

Sugar is an instant source of energy for the muscles. However, the body has to metabolize starch first. Hence, muesli provides steady levels of energy to athletes for a long time.

After all, muesli has a medium glycemic index of 66. Foods and beverages with a glycemic index lower than 69 don’t spike blood sugar levels. Athletes should benefit by eating such foods before strenuous exercise.[2]

Gluten-free

Muesli with oats is also gluten-free. Oats, fruits, seeds, and nuts are naturally gluten-free.

Other common grains, such as wheat, barley, or rye, contain high amounts of gluten, though.

Certainly, athletes with celiac disease should only consume products labeled as gluten-free.

Following a gluten-free diet or a diet low in gluten may be beneficial for athletes. Less gluten may improve gut functions and prevent inflammation among runners and other endurance athletes.[3]

Muesli labeled as gluten-free can be the main source of energy for athletes with celiac disease or any athlete who wants to minimize gluten consumption.

How long before exercise can an athlete eat muesli?

But athletes shouldn’t eat muesli right before exercise. Muesli is particularly rich in fiber. Consuming fiber right before a workout may cause stomach discomfort. Stomach cramps, bloating, or gas are common side effects.

Thus, athletes should consume foods high in fiber like muesli at least two hours before a race or intense workout.

Why should endurance athletes eat muesli after strenuous exercise?

Maybe the best time of the day to eat muesli is after a demanding workout or a big race. Muesli as a post-workout snack may support recovery, help build muscle mass, relieve pain, and fight inflammation.

Supports faster recovery

Muesli is a great post-workout snack due to its great antioxidant and carbohydrate content.

Replenishes muscle glucose stores

Consuming foods high in net carbs right after demanding exercise enhances muscle recovery, as it supports the replenishment of muscle glycogen stores. This process is crucial for faster recovery.

Athletes who perform hard workouts daily in particular should be very mindful to replenish muscle glycogen stores as soon as possible.

Even consuming pure sugar after strenuous exercise can be beneficial for recovery! Hence, foods and beverages rich in sugar, such as Coke, candy, or fruit juices can be great post-workout snacks.

Therefore, hard-training athletes with high energy needs could eat muesli with lots of dried fruits as a post-workout meal.

Antioxidants

Moreover, fruits, seeds, and nuts are packed with antioxidants. Athletes should follow an antioxidant-rich diet to neutralize exercise-induced oxidative stress and inflammation.

Your post-workout meal in particular has to contain a wide variety of antioxidants for faster recovery.

Benefits of eating muesli for sports performance! Nutrition facts.Pin

Muesli is packed with various bioactive compounds, such as anthocyanins and quercetin.

Adding berries to your muesli is the easiest way to skyrocket the antioxidant status of your body. Hence, eating strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries after a workout is particularly beneficial for recovery and sports performance.

Also, athletes could drink cranberry or cherry juice with their favorite muesli. This is the ultimate, antioxidant-boosting, post-workout meal.

May improve athletic performance

Muesli is packed with compounds that enhance physical performance, such as beta-glucan, iron, and niacin!

Beta-glucan

If you prefer muesli with oats or barley, you may have extra benefits for physical performance. They’re by far the richest foods in beta-glucan!

Beta-glucan is a type of fiber with many benefits for athletes. It may improve muscle strength and aerobic performance. Beta-glucan may reduce fatigue recovery time, as it can reduce cell damage in muscle tissue and even regulate the production of lactic acid.[4]

Beta-glucan may even enhance immune function, helping elite athletes perform more intense workouts per year.

Iron

Moreover, a cup of muesli provides up to 25% of the Daily Value of iron.

It’s crucial for athletes to maintain healthy levels of iron. But it isn’t always easy. In fact, iron deficiency it’s pretty common even among elite athletes who follow a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Iron supports athletic performance. It’s involved in energy metabolism and oxygen transport from the lungs to the working muscles.[5]

Endurance athletes appear to have an increased risk of iron deficiency. Two common causes are exercise-induced ischemia (e.g. rapid decline in diastolic blood pressure during recovery) and sweat loss.[6]

If you want to increase the iron content of your favorite post-workout snack, you could add some goji berries. It’s the richest fruit in iron!

Seeds are also excellent dietary sources of iron. Pumpkin seeds have the highest iron content.

Niacin

Muesli is rich in niacin as well. A serving provides about 20% of the Daily Value. A diet high in niacin may improve endurance performance and improve muscle functions.[7]

May help reduce muscle pain & soreness

In addition, muesli can be a great dietary source of riboflavin. It provides about 25% of the recommended daily intake.

High riboflavin intake may enhance early functional recovery after exhaustive exercise. Also, it might reduce muscle pain and soreness during or after prolonged running.[8]

This is a key vitamin for athletic performance because it has potent antioxidant properties. It protects muscle tissue from oxidative damage, and it’s involved in cell repair.

Furthermore, riboflavin helps athletes build a lean body because it supports weight loss.

Almonds, sunflower seeds, tahini, and hemp seeds are the richest plant-based foods in riboflavin. Athletes should add at least one of these foods to their favorite post-workout muesli.

Replenishes electrolytes

Muesli is a great post-workout snack because it helps replenish lost electrolytes. Athletes lose high amounts of electrolytes as well as fluids during intense exercise.

We have to replenish both for proper hydration and muscle functions.

Muesli has decent amounts of essential electrolytes:

  • magnesium: 40 mg, 10% DV
  • potassium: 270 mg, 6% DV
  • sodium: 130 mg, 6% DV
  • calcium: 20 mg, 2% DV

Athletes have increased magnesium needs. High intakes appear to improve athletic performance, as it decreases lactate production and regulates blood glucose levels. Athletes could substantially increase the magnesium content of muesli by adding seeds and nuts!

Additionally, athletes who sweat a lot during exercise could sprinkle some salt on their muesli. Salt provides high doses of two key electrolytes: sodium and chloride. After all, the chemical name for table salt is sodium chloride!

Which is the best post-workout food for athletes? Oats or muesli?Pin

May protect the bones of runners

A cup of muesli provides about 10% of the recommended daily intake of phosphorus.

Hard-training elite athletes have higher phosphorus needs than the general population. Especially during the training and competition season.

Among other health benefits, phosphorus increases bone mass and strength. It maintains the bone health of athletes.[9]

The key role of Zinc for runners

A serving of muesli can be a great source of zinc. It provides about 10% of the DV.

Athletes have higher requirements of zinc than the general population. Long-distance endurance athletes in particular. For instance, runners after a marathon may experience substantial changes in zinc status.

Zinc is an essential trace element that has been implicated in numerous biological functions, including immunity, energy metabolism and antioxidative processes. It’s required for the activity of more than 300 enzymes.[10]

Benefits of muesli for athletes of bodybuilding!

Athletes of bodybuilding or every athlete who perform resistance training for muscle gain or strength could benefit by eating a cup of muesli after strenuous exercise.

May help build a lean body

Firstly, eating muesli after a workout may be beneficial for maintaining a lean body. It helps build muscle mass while regulating appetite!

Protein

Above all, muesli has a decent amount of protein, which is crucial for muscle gain. A cup provides about 5 grams of protein.

If you want to boost the protein content of your muesli, you could add hemp seeds. Among common seeds and nuts, hemp seeds have the highest protein content.

Moreover, you could add a scoop of your favorite protein powder to your muesli if you really want to skyrocket your protein intake after a resistance training session. A serving of muesli can contain up to 30 grams of protein!

Fiber

Furthermore, muesli reduces appetite because it’s an excellent dietary source of fiber. A cup of muesli contains about 5 grams of fiber. This dose is 18% of the Daily Value!

All ingredients of muesli are high in fiber. Whole grains, fruits, seeds, and nuts are among the richest foods in fiber you can eat daily.

Fiber delays digestion and expands in the stomach, taking a lot of space. So, it promotes the feeling of fullness for many hours.

Foods high in fiber, protein, and water have the highest satiety effect, though. Hence, muesli with a scoop of protein powder is one of the best snacks an athlete who works out for a lean body can eat daily.[11]

Also, beta-glucan in muesli may reduce postprandial glucose and insulin levels! Eating foods that don’t spike glucose or insulin levels is key for weight loss and maintaining a lean body![12]

May lower cholesterol

Most noteworthy, muesli may lower elevated cholesterol levels of athletes.

Most athletes of bodybuilding who follow the standard Western diet eat lots of animal-derived foods, which are packed with protein. But these foods (e.g. meat, poultry, dairy products) are particularly high in saturated fat as well.

Consuming high amounts of saturated fat may raise blood LDL cholesterol, which is bad for the heart.[13]

Therefore, it’s healthy for bodybuilders to consume foods that can naturally low elevated cholesterol. Muesli is such food.

beta-glucan

Firstly, athletes of bodybuilding with high LDL cholesterol should prefer eating muesli with oats or barley. They’re the richest foods in beta-glucan. This type of fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol and fat.

For instance, according to studies, oat consumption is associated with 5% and 7% reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels, respectively.[14]

Zinc

Additionally, zinc in muesli may lower LDL cholesterol as well as triglycerides! Most noteworthy, zinc may increase the “good” HDL cholesterol.[15]

Zinc is a key mineral for bodybuilders for many reasons. Besides its huge health benefits, zinc is involved in skeletal muscle synthesis and regeneration that take part after exercise. In fact, one in every ten human proteins is a zinc protein![16]

Zinc deficiency could have severe consequences on health and sports performance.

If you want to boost your zinc intake, you could prepare muesli with oats, sesame seeds, and almonds. They’re the richest grains, seeds, and nuts in zinc, respectively.

Vitamin B6

Additionally, many muesli brands are packed with vitamin B6. A serving may provide up to 100% of the recommended daily intake!

Vitamin B6 performs a wide variety of functions in the body. It has involvement in more than 100 enzyme reactions, mostly concerned with protein metabolism!

Most noteworthy, vitamin B6 helps maintain normal levels of homocysteine. High concentrations of this amino acid in the blood can be dangerous for the cardiovascular system.[17]

How much muesli should an athlete eat?

Most amateur athletes should consume a cup of muesli a day before or after exercise. A serving has about 220 calories.

This dose is ideal for bodybuilders in the cutting phase, active people, or fitness enthusiasts who work out for a lean body.

Only long-distance runners or other endurance athletes or athletes of bodybuilding in the bulking phase could eat more. These athletes have increased energy needs.

Adding dried fruits, seeds, or nuts could substantially increase the calorie content of a cup of muesli.

Can an athlete eat muesli every day?

Yes, all athletes could eat a cup of muesli daily. You could prepare your own muesli. You can add different fruits, seeds, nuts, or milk types every day for variety. This way, you can enjoy a slightly different snack every day.

Can athletes eat muesli at any other time of the day?

Yes, athletes can enjoy their favorite snack at any time of the day. Certainly, the best time to eat muesli is after strenuous exercise, though.

Another excellent time to eat a cup of muesli is in the morning. It provides energy to the muscles and keeps you full for hours.

Moreover, if you add berries or any other fruit to your muesli, you greatly increase the antioxidant status of the body. This is important, as antioxidants protect the body from oxidative stress due to air pollution or sunlight exposure throughout the day!

Can muesli negatively affect athletic performance?

Yes, if consumed close before exercise. It takes time to digest muesli. So, if consumed right before exercise, muesli may have detrimental effects on physical performance. Athletes may experience stomach disturbances, such as bloating, cramps, gas, or an increased desire to defecate.

Also, you shouldn’t add too many ingredients to your pre-workout muesli. More ingredients make it much harder to digest.

How to prepare the ultimate homemade muesli?

You can add a wide variety of ingredients to muesli. As a rule of thumb, prepare muesli with less than 6 ingredients in order to be easily digested.

Berries

Berries are among the healthiest ingredients you can add to your muesli. They’re packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Try to make your muesli colorful. It’s much healthier, as it contains a wide variety of antioxidant compounds that act synergetically!

For instance, strawberries and cranberries are particularly rich in melatonin, which has beneficial effects on athletes.

Nuts & seeds

Moreover, you can add half a handful of nuts and seeds.

All nuts are packed with compounds that have beneficial effects on athletes. For instance:

  • vitamin E is abundant in almonds and sunflower seeds. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant.
  • omega-3s are found only in certain nuts and seeds, like walnuts. Omega-3s are essential for muscle gain!
  • protein is naturally found in high amounts in peanuts, hemp, chia and pumpkin seeds.

Cinnamon

Above all, athletes should sprinkle some cinnamon on their muesli. Cinnamon substantially improves postprandial glucose responses. Also, it tastes great with oats as well as other grains.

Greek yogurt

Athletes could prepare Bircher muesli with Greek plain yogurt. Greek yogurt is high in protein. It helps builds muscle mass. In fact, Greek yogurt with oats is particularly beneficial for weight loss. It’s the ultimate food combination for a lean body!

Granola with plain Greek yogurt is a super healthy snack as well. People on a diet can enjoy it daily. Also, granola is a superior post-workout snack.

Fruits with vitamin C

Also, you could add fruits with vitamin C to your muesli, such as oranges, strawberries, pineapples, and kiwi. Athletes have increased needs for vitamin C as well.

Add fresh or raw pineapple to your post-workout muesli

Athletes should consider adding pineapple to their post-workout muesli. Pineapple is the only dietary source of bromelain. This enzyme has potent anti-inflammatory actions. It helps relieve joint pain.

Add a tbsp of any nut butter for bulking

Moreover, you could add a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter to muesli. Peanut butter and almond butter have many calories. But when consumed in moderation, they actually support a lean body.

Nut butter provides flavor as well as protein, fiber, and minerals that are involved in energy metabolism.

However, tahini is the best option for any post-workout snack. It’s among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.

Athletes with high energy needs could even enjoy Nutella or any other chocolate hazelnut spread after exercise! You can add 1–2 tablespoons of Nutella to your muesli as well. As Nutella is packed in sugar, it helps replenish muscle glycogen stores after intense exercise.

Oats or muesli for muscle gain?

Muesli with a lot of berries, seeds, and nuts is healthier than oats as it’s richer in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds. It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods an athlete can eat before or after exercise.

But, you should read carefully the nutrition facts label of your favorite muesli brand. It shouldn’t contain too much added sugar.

Certainly, preparing homemade muesli with oats, berries, seeds, nuts, or cinnamon is the best option. It has the best nutritional value.

Muesli is the healthiest post-workout snack!Pin

10 recipes of homemade muesli

Here are 10 easy and quick recipes for homemade muesli with oats that are ideal for hardworking athletes.

Protein-rich muesli

  1. Basic Protein-Packed Muesli
    • Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons protein powder, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/4 cup mixed berries, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
    • Mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients. Serve with Greek yogurt.
  2. Tropical Protein Muesli
    • Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons protein powder, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/4 cup diced pineapple, 1/4 cup diced mango, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
    • Mix well. Serve with Greek yogurt.
  3. Berry Blast Muesli
    • Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons protein powder, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/4 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen), 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
    • Mix well. Serve with Greek yogurt.
  4. Chocolate Delight Muesli
    • Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons chocolate protein powder, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/4 cup raspberries, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • Mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients. Serve with Greek yogurt and enjoy!
  5. Apple Cinnamon Protein Muesli
    • Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons protein powder, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/4 cup diced apple, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • Mix well. Serve with Greek yogurt and enjoy!
  6. Peanut Butter Banana Muesli
    • Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons protein powder, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1/4 cup sliced banana, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
    • Mix well. Serve with Greek yogurt and enjoy!

Vegan muesli

  1. Classic Vegan Protein Muesli
    • Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons vegan protein powder, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon flax seeds, 1/4 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen), 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup vegan milk (almond milk or soy milk).
    • Mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients. Pour the vegan milk over the mixture and stir until well combined. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the oats to absorb the liquid. Serve and enjoy!
  2. Almond Joy Protein Muesli
    • Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons vegan protein powder (chocolate flavor), 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon flax seeds, 2 tablespoons almond butter, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup chopped almonds, 1 cup vegan milk, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
    • Mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients. Pour the vegan milk over the mixture and stir until well combined. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the oats to absorb the liquid. Serve and enjoy!
  3. Tahini Date Protein Muesli
    • Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons vegan protein powder, 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon flax seeds, 2 tablespoons tahini, 2 medjool dates, chopped, 1 cup vegan milk, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
    • Mix well and pour the vegan milk over the mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the oats to absorb the liquid. Serve and enjoy!
  4. Berry Blast Protein Muesli
    • Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 tablespoons vegan protein powder (berry flavor), 2 tablespoons hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 tablespoon flax seeds, 1/4 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen), 1 cup vegan milk, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
    • Mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients. Pour the vegan milk over the mixture and stir until well combined. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the oats to absorb the liquid. Serve and enjoy!

You can find a wide variety of high-quality whey or vegan protein powders at unbeatable prices on iHerb.

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