Huel For Runners – Complete Nutrition in a Drink

Recovering from a heavy training session or loading up on the calories to reduce any deficit is hard! Many runners reach for protein shakes which is not often the most nutritious decision. Could Huel be the answer for runners when looking for optimal nutrition? I think so, and this is why….

The extra stress put on the body and energy consumption required when running means that it’s often hard to meet the calories and macronutrients needed to repair and recover optimally. The focus is usually on getting enough protein, but we could require many other macro and micronutrients to speed up the recovery process.

Where do we look for a highly nutritious recovery option? Well, the obvious answer should be real food! But that’s not always possible, nor the easiest option. Even I have to cheat sometimes because the day job can take over, or we don’t have access to good cooking options. 

That’s where Huel comes in for me. 

**This post is NOT sponsored by Huel, and this unbiased review is entirely my own. Links on this page are affiliate links, so if you want to offer a friendly pat on the back for this article, the best way is to use my affiliate link and purchase some Huel. Thanks, and enjoy!

Nick drinking huel for runners

I should start with the fact that while I am a user of Huel, I don’t think it’s perfect, and will expand on this further in the post. But I was an early adopter of Huel and have tested their products extensively throughout the years, so I’m confident with my conclusion. 

Being from the UK, I was intrigued about the area that this British company was pushing into. As they say, “Complete food, simply delivered”, it’s a balanced nutritionally complete powder. Just add water, and you have your meal. 

  • Nutritionally complete food (Every food source a human needs)
  • Cost-effective meal replacement
  • Only uses Vegan sources.
  • Saves time on cooking

Not all of the points align with what I’m looking for, and they may not for you either, but it ticks enough boxes to make it worth it for me, especially as a post-run recovery option.

So let’s break down some of these points.

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Huel Black Edition

Nutritionally complete? It sounds a bit too good to be true.

I’m not 100% on board with the claim of nutritionally complete. The utopian idea that we can truly make a powder that can satisfy every human’s nutritional needs on the planet is a bit of a pipe dream (at least in my opinion).

Who’s to say that the ingredients they’d use will be digested well and not cause problems in all humans? Take oats, for example. Huel offers a gluten-free option, but I found the original Huel edition (with oats) a little heavy to digest. (psttt if this is you, look at Black edition ). As runners, we require all the help we can get when it comes to digestion.

With that being said, if a Huel shake can provide a broader range of nutritional benefits than the alternative (think cakes, snacks, protein powders), then it’s a step in the right direction. Right?

There have been advancements on the nutrition side recently with Huel too. The more recent additions of MCT oils, Kombucha powder, and probiotics are exciting additions. I’ve had no issues digesting Huel with these recent changes, which is a big thing for me, so I believe they’re great additions!

Micronutrients

To rebuild our bodies, we need more than just protein! Other macro/micronutrients are required too. If you’re just throwing back whey protein or any other single source supplement, then you’re not covering all your bases.

Side Note: If you want to upgrade your Huel, or any protein drink, use Masszymes Digestive Enzymes to maximize absorption. Get some great discounts here.

Huel also contains fats and carbs in various ratios (Original vs. Black edition ). On top of this, it includes a balanced amount of vitamins and minerals. Think of it like the multivitamin that you pop every morning. 

These extra goodies will help various functions in your body to rebuild and recover in time for your next workout. 

On a side note, some of the sources I believe are not optimal are cyanocobalamin for B12. But in general terms, it’s still giving you a helping hand, and I’d advise you explore further for possible deficiencies you may have in the B-12 arena. 

Price

The original Huel edition comes in at little as $1.50 per “meal.” You’d be hard pushed to get a meal anywhere else for that price. And it’s covering a lot of nutritional corners you couldn’t touch with other options at this price. 

Moving onto the Black Edition (which I’d suggest, and I’ll talk more about that later) means it’ll cost as little as $1.73 per meal, which is still a fantastic price for the nutrition you receive.

Saves time on cooking

Now, this is where Huel comes into its own. If you want to cook up a healthy, nutritious meal, how long will it take you? 

When you get in from your lunchtime run, and it’s time to get back to work, where do you find the time to cook up a perfect piece of fish with roasted veg? Not all of us have chefs on call.

That’s why Huel should be in your life. It bridges the gap when you can’t invest the time to create healthy meals. It replaces fast food; it replaces the chips and dip; it replaces those hard to resist donuts and cakes. It’s just a better option when you’re drawn to the simple unhealthy choices. 

Fill up your shaker with water and thrown two scoops of Huel in, and give it a shake. And enjoy. 

Which Huel is right for me?

When you head to the Huel website, there are tons of options now.

Because we’re looking at recovery, I’d suggest looking at the Black Edition

The Black edition contains a higher protein content than the original edition, so it’s a prime candidate to replace your post-run whey or vegan protein shake. A single serving of the Huel Black edition gives a 40g dose of protein. This is pretty high, but at the same time, it’s derived from 100% vegan sources, so most likely not as bioabsorbable as animal sources. 

There are also “meal” editions, but I’d steer clear of them too. Mainly for the reasons I explain below.

What flavor should I choose?

I would advise you always to choose the unflavored option. When adding the flavorings, some of the ingredients become questionable. Natural Flavors, Maltodextrin! Come on, guys, what is it?

If you want some flavor, just add some pure cacao and vanilla extract from a source you can control.

Can I trust Huel?

Well, it’s hard to say. Can you trust any food company? If in doubt, shoot for farm-fresh food. But here’s a few situations where I use Huel to my advantage.

24 hours, 200 miles, fueled with Huel

Many years ago, a friend and  I decided that it’d be a great idea to ride a bike 200 miles in less than 24 hours. The great news is that we made it! But the exciting part is how we fueled this completely self-supported ride. 

If we wanted to take all the food we required with us, it would have most likely consisted of sugary, unnaturally color-filled energy bars and drinks. Not ideal when you’re already stressing your body. Instead, we survived on Huel! And a lot of it! 

If I remember correctly, we did stop once at a grocery store, but other than that, Huel powered us the whole way. All we had to do was pick up water from various places, fill our shakers, and keep moving! 

For a trip like this, I’d suggest trying the Original edition for the higher carb content. I know if I’m going on a multi-day self-supported mission again, I’ll be taking Huel along for the ride. 

My wife and I have also hiked with Huel too. It’s a great lightweight calorific alternative to food when doing multi-day hikes. 

Traveling

You may know that my wife and I are entirely nomadic. So we know how hard it can be to travel and navigate with food intolerances (Gluten and lactose). Not to mention the horrible food you receive on airlines. There’s just no way that you should rely on these food sources while traveling.

Again, Huel comes to the rescue. Yes, you can take powders through security checks! Well, at least I’ve never been stopped. And on the other side of the security check, just fill your shaker with water, and you’ve got a meal ready to go! Awesome eh?

Another situation is when you’re road tripping or just heading to a new place where it might not be entirely possible to find food that suits your diet—no need to stop at dirty fast food joints. Fill your shaker with Huel, and you’re on your way.

Filling the gaps

Being runners, we tend to require a lot more calories than the average Joe. 

I often find myself peckish throughout the day, and I’m often tempted to reach for unhealthy snacks or even healthy snacks but just in excess. Huel is a great choice to fill the gaps between meals.

Huel allows you to replace low-quality foods with a more nutritionally diverse option. And with the Black edition, the higher protein and fat content will ensure you’re satiated for a longer time.

Is Huel for you?

  • If you’re looking for a vegan protein for a post-run recovery drink. I’d say yes.
  • If you’re looking to avoid poor food choices throughout the day. I’d say yes.
  • If you’re stuck for time and require top-notch nutrition. I’d say yes.
  • If you’re planning an adventure and you’ve not worked out your nutrition plan. I’d say yes.

There are many reasons to try Huel, as I’ve just mentioned. The only reason NOT to is if you can guarantee that you can always source the best ingredients and have time to make a highly nutritious meal. Or have the financial means to hire someone who can. 

That pretty much means it’s a good choice for everyone. Give it a try and see what you think. By using my affiliate link below, you’ll be helping me out and encouraging me to create more content like this post. 

Get $15 off your First Huel Order

If you want to try Huel out – either for endurance or just to have a healthy meal replacement, it will help me so much if you use my affiliate link to help me and my site.

Huel Black Edition