Are pancakes a good post-workout meal?

Eating pancakes after exercise helps athletes build muscle mass and recover faster after strenuous exercise, as they’re packed with protein, iron, calcium, and other important vitamins, and electrolytes for sports performance.

Why should athletes of bodybuilding eat pancakes?

Athletes of bodybuilding, or any athletes who perform resistance training for muscle hypertrophy, could regularly eat healthy pancakes, as part of a well-balanced diet.


Above all, pancakes are good for bodybuilders because they have a lot of protein. A typical single pancake without protein powder has about 5 grams of protein.

If you prepare pancakes with a scoop of protein powder, you could easily get more than 30 grams of protein per serving.


Moreover, pancakes are great dietary sources of calcium. A serving provides 17% of the Daily Value.

A high calcium intake is beneficial for athletes who consume high amounts of animal protein.

Animal proteins are acidic. In order to maintain normal pH levels, alkaline minerals, like calcium, are extracted from the bones, weakening them. Actually, 99% of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones.[1]

In addition, high calcium intakes appear to be beneficial for increased testosterone levels. Calcium is implicated in the synthesis of this key anabolic hormone! Healthy testosterone levels are vital for muscle gain.[2]


Also, bodybuilders could benefit by eating pancakes because they’re particularly rich in selenium. Just a serving provides 21% of the Daily Value.

High selenium intakes improve athletic performance and training recovery!

Optimal selenium levels are vital for minimizing chronic exercise-induced oxidative effects.

Selenium is a key component of glutathione peroxidase, which is an enzyme with powerful antioxidant properties.[3]

Athletes with high-intensity and high-volume training have a higher risk of selenium deficiency, though.

You can skyrocket your daily selenium intake by adding chopped Brazil nuts as topping to your pancakes. 2 small Brazil nuts provide more selenium than the recommended daily intake.

Vitamin B12

Pancakes are also good sources of vitamin B12. A serving provides about 7% of the recommended daily intake.

Getting adequate doses of vitamin B12 is crucial for muscle gain and improved physical performance. Vitamin B12 may treat fatigue and muscle cramps, increase energy levels, and reduce recovery time.

Hard-exercising athletes have an increased risk of vitamin B12 imbalances. They should be very mindful of getting high dosages from foods or supplements.


Pancakes contribute to the daily zinc intake. A serving provides 4% of the DV.

Zinc plays a key role in muscle growth and protein synthesis! Furthermore, zinc is necessary for oxygen transport to the working muscles.

It also manages the production of lactic acid during strenuous exercise. Hence, it may delay fatigue and improve sports performance!

Sesame and sunflower seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts, and dark chocolate are among the richest plant-based foods in zinc. So, you could add them as toppings to your favorite pancake recipes.

Benefits of pancakes for endurance athletes

Runners and other endurance athletes could also benefit from the consumption of pancakes before or after exercise!

How many carbs are in pancakes?

A serving of plain pancake batter has about 22 grams of carbs. Most of which is starch.[4]

Pancakes without syrup are low in sugars, while they provide some fiber (about 4% DV).

Adding maple syrup or any other sugar-packed topping can substantially increase the sugar content of pancakes, though.

Just a tablespoon of maple syrup contains 13.4 grams of carbs. More than 12 grams are sugars!

benefits of eating pancakes for athletes!Pin

Honey is also packed with sugars. A tbsp has 17.3 grams of carbs. Almost 100% is sugar!

Adding bananas, berries, or other fruits as toppings can substantially increase the total carbohydrate content of pancakes. Especially if dried fruits or fruit jams are added.

So, traditional pancakes may contain more than 45 grams of carbs per serving!

Promote recovery

This high amount of carbs can help runners and other endurance athletes recover faster after exhaustive exercise. Athletes should consume high amounts of carbs after demanding workouts in order to quickly replenish muscle glycogen stores.

Potent antioxidant compounds in pancakes, like selenium, also support muscle recovery!

Help hydrate the body

Additionally, eating pancakes as a post-workout meal is good for athletes because they support body hydration. They contain decent amounts of the main electrolytes:

  • calcium, 17% DV
  • magnesium, 3% DV
  • potassium, 3% DV

We have to replenish both electrolytes and fluids for proper hydration. Drinking water without eating foods with electrolytes may cause further electrolyte imbalances. Leg cramps, fatigue, and poor physical performance are common side effects.


Moreover, pancakes are particularly rich in phosphorus. A serving provides 18% of the DV. Athletes have much higher daily needs than the general population. Especially during the training or competition season.[5]


Most noteworthy, pancakes are rich in highly bioavailable iron. A serving provides 8% of the DV.

Athletes who frequently perform exhaustive workouts have much higher iron needs. Female athletes of reproductive age, vegan, or endurance athletes should be very cautious with iron intake.

Iron is necessary for optimum physical performance. Among others, iron is implicated in oxygen transport and energy metabolism.

Why should bodybuilders, runners, and other endurance athletes eat pancakes every morning or after a workout?Pin


A serving of pancakes provides 7% of the recommended daily intake of manganese.

Normal manganese status is vital for athletic performance. This key mineral plays a key role in amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism. It also improves immune responses and protects the bones. As it has potent antioxidant properties, it fights exercise-induced oxidative stress.

Hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are among the richest foods in manganese that you could add to pancakes as toppings.

Protect the heart

Most noteworthy, pancakes contain 7% of the recommended daily intake of folate.

This key B vitamin protects the heart of athletes who perform intense exercise. High plasma folate levels may reduce elevated homocysteine levels. Hence, athletes should eat a wide variety of foods naturally rich in folate. Especially before a big race or competition.[6]


Furthermore, pancakes can be a great pre-workout meal because a serving provides 17% of the DV of riboflavin!

High riboflavin intake before a long run may reduce muscle soreness and pain! It might even reduce functional recovery time after exercise. Riboflavin has potent antioxidant properties. It protects muscle mass from exercise-induced oxidative damage.[7]


Pancakes are rich in thiamine as well, providing 13% of the DV per serving.

Exhaustive exercising depletes thiamine stores. High dosages may accelerate recovery after a hard training session. This B vitamin is also involved in energy metabolism!

How many pancakes can athletes eat daily?

Pancakes have many calories. So, even athletes should eat reasonable amounts.

Most pancake batters have around 200 calories per serving, while pancake toppings have at least 150 calories. Thus, a typical pancake serving has about 350 calories or more!

So, most athletes could eat only a serving per day.

Only athletes of bodybuilding in the bulking phase or long-distance endurance athletes could eat much higher amounts.

What’s the best time to eat pancakes?

Certainly, one of the best times to eat pancakes is at breakfast. They fuel up the body of athletes with energy, protein, as well as various precious minerals and vitamins.

That’s why eating pancakes in the morning as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet supports weight loss.

Moreover, pancakes are an excellent post-workout snack. They help build muscle mass and promote recovery.

When should athletes avoid consuming pancakes?

On the other hand, the worst time of the day to eat pancakes is before a workout. Pancakes are hard to digest. You shouldn’t consume them for at least a couple of hours before exercising. Otherwise, you’ll probably be lethargic or feel bloated.

Are pancakes healthy?

Common pancakes aren’t very healthy. They consist of refined flour, sugar, and cow’s butter which is packed with saturated fats.

For the best athletic performance and a lean body, you should eat only homemade pancakes made with healthy ingredients.

pancakes are the ultimate post-workout fast food snack.Pin

Without syrup

Firstly, you better use honey instead of maple syrup. Honey is still high in sugar and calories. However, it’s also rich in polyphenol compounds! It has powerful antioxidant actions.

Or, you could just use a high-quality, sugar-free berry jam, like blueberry jam, which is very healthy.

Without butter

High quantities of cow’s butter are also bad for you because it’s high in calories and saturated fat. Butter is almost 100% fat.

Just a tablespoon contains 7.3 grams of saturated fat, which is 56% of the maximum safe dose on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Prefer using nut butter as toppings. They still have many calories. However, they’re rich in protein, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.

The healthiest spread you can use is tahini, though. It’s among the most nutrient-dense foods athletes can eat. In fact, tahini is one of the best vegan sources of iron and calcium!

Whole-grain flour

Last, but not least, you could prepare pancakes with whole grain, instead of white flour. Whole-grain flours are more nutritious. As they contain significantly more fiber and antioxidants, they don’t spike blood sugar levels. Even nut flours, like almond flour, are good for athletes.

Pancake recipes for athletes!

Preparing healthy pancakes at home is easy. Here are 3 quick pancake recipe ideas for athletes, depending on their needs.

Rich in protein for athletes of bodybuilding

Use protein powder to skyrocket the protein content of your favorite post-workout pancake recipe.

  1. Protein-packed banana protein pancakes:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 cup quick oats
      • 1 scoop of your preferred protein powder (whey or plant-based)
      • 1 ripe banana
      • 2 large eggs
      • 1/2 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • pinch of salt
      • cooking spray or a small amount of oil for the pan

However, we can get decent amounts of protein from pancakes without adding protein powder. The following recipe provides roughly 10 grams of protein per serving.

  1. Protein-packed whole wheat yogurt pancakes:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 cup whole wheat flour
      • 1 tablespoon baking powder
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 2 large eggs
      • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (full-fat for creaminess)
      • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional, for sweetness)
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      • 1/4 cup low-fat milk (adjust consistency as needed)
      • Cooking spray or a small amount of oil for the pan
eating pancakes after exercise has many benefits for runners and bodybuilders!Pin

Rich in healthy carbs & antioxidants for endurance athletes

  1. Mixed berry pancakes with berry jam:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1 tablespoon sugar
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1 cup buttermilk (or mix 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar)
      • 1 large egg
      • 2 tablespoons melted butter or oil
      • 1 cup mixed berries (e.g. blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), fresh or frozen
      • fresh berries for topping
      • your choice of berry flavor
      • maple syrup
    • Instructions:
      • In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
      • In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and melted butter or oil.
      • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix until just combined. Fold in the mixed berries.
      • Preheat a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lightly grease with butter or oil.
      • Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet for each pancake. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, then flip and cook until golden brown.
      • Serve the pancakes topped with berry jam, fresh berries, and maple syrup.

What toppings are good for athletes?

Maple syrup and cow’s butter aren’t the healthiest toppings for nutrient-dense pancakes. Athletes better add fruits, seeds, and nuts as healthy toppings.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao solids is an excellent topping for pancakes. Dark chocolate is rich in iron, antioxidants, and even caffeine! Avoid chocolate spreads or syrups, as they’re packed with sugar.


Banana is packed with electrolytes; magnesium and potassium in particular. Also, banana regulates appetite, as it’s rich in fiber. It fuels the body, without spiking blood sugar levels.


Avocado is one of the healthiest foods for athletes. It’s packed with fiber, protein, electrolytes, as well as healthy fats. It’s even rich in omega-3 fatty acids!


Berries are among the most antioxidant-dense foods you can eat. They fight inflammation and promote recovery! Moreover, berries are suitable for those who work out for a lean body. Most berries are particularly low in sugar.

Thus, eating strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, as well as other berries after exercise has huge benefits for athletes.

Foods with omega-3s

Moreover, sprinkling certain seeds and nuts that are rich in omega-3s on pancakes supports muscle gain. Omega-3s enhance protein synthesis and decrease muscle soreness after strenuous exercise.

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