Protein isn’t just for weightlifters. “Although endurance training isn’t about building bulk, it still creates a tremendous need to restore, renew, and rebuild muscle afterward,” says Dr David Cameron-Smith, the author of a new study on protein and cardio exercise. “Endurance athletes often focus on hydration and carbs, but consuming a high-quality protein that’s rich in branched-chain amino acids is essential to the repair process.” Immediately after your workout – when a quick shot of protein is critical for muscle repair – consume easily digestible sources of protein, such as milk or a protein shake. Then a few hours later, eat a meal that’s rich in branched-chain amino acids, like steak and eggs, to further bolster your body, he says.