Should You Eat Before Or After A Workout?

Written by Eric · 1 min read >
Eat Before Or After A Workout

It can be hard to decide whether you should eat before or after you exercise. On the one hand, it makes sense to fuel up so you have enough energy to exercise. here, we’ll discuss Should You Eat Before Or After A Workout?

On the other hand, it makes sense to wait so you’re not pushing on a full stomach. And there you are, shake in hand, wondering if it’s a pre or post workout meal.

Well, as with any nutrition or exercise question, there is no single, perfect answer. Everyone is different when it comes to how they feel about eating before and after workouts, says Sandy Sweeney, trainer and owner of Burn Boot Camp Hainesport, New Jersey.

And it also depends on factors like what kind of workout you’re about to do, how long you plan to exercise, and when you ate your last meal.

If you had dinner an hour ago and feel like going for a bike ride, don’t think about it too much. Dr. Mohammed S. Alo, DO, a cardiologist and certified personal trainer, says there’s no need to think too hard about what and when you’re eating if you’re just in the mood for a casual workout.

But if it’s first thing in the morning and you want to get in an hour-long strength-training session before work, then that’s when you might want to consider your nutrition. Here’s what the experts are saying about eating before or after a workout and how each will affect your body differently.

Eating Before A Workout:

The food you eat shortly before a workout works as your fuel. “Your body will use the glycogen from that food source for energy,” explains Sweeney. Glycogen, by the way, is a form of sugar.

“You can store some in your muscles, but it’s not much and you can get depleted quickly,” says Alo. Essentially, when you need energy, your body first taps into the sugars in your bloodstream, he explains, which are depleted fairly quickly.

From there, it hits muscle glycogen stores and then stored energy as fat.

If you exercise first thing in the morning and haven’t eaten for 10 hours, your body is considered to be fasting. That means you won’t have the right fuel or the right amount of glycogen to complete your workout.

“Exercising on an empty stomach, especially if your muscles are depleted of glycogen, makes exercise less productive and you may become fatigued and not enjoy the full benefits of heavy, hard exercise,” adds Alo.

Sure, you may feel fine for the first few minutes, but you’ll quickly start to run out of energy.

“Your muscles being depleted of glycogen and being fasted can cause you to not be able to do as many reps or sets or last as long in your HIIT or cardio training,” says Alo, which is why it’s recommended that you get some in your system first.


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