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InkyAnn's avatar

Is it really better to eat before or after you work out?

Asked by InkyAnn (2433 points ) May 19th, 2012

Random thought. I have a few friends that say that it is better to eat after a good work out because your replenishing your body with nutrients. Then I have a few friends that say its better to eat before so you burn off the fat you just ate and you have energy to work out.

What is your opinion? Before or after?

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11 Answers

philosopher's avatar

If you eat a large meal before working out you may become nourish. It is hard to properly digest food and exercise. Moving quickly is hard when your full.

zenvelo's avatar

Depends on what type of workout/exercise. Eating a meal before a tough hour and a half at the gym will end up with a lesser workout and a good chance at nausea. A good pancake breakfast before a hundred mile bike ride is almost a requirement.

My trainer, when I had one, suggested something light an hour before the gym, and then protein with moderate carbs after.

gailcalled's avatar

@philosopher: You been sniffing that nitrous oxygen again? ...you may become nourish..?

InkyAnn's avatar

I was never really sure which one was better. If I didn’t eat something before I went to the gym then I had absolutely no energy to work out and in turn have a shitty session. But sometimes when I did eat before the gym (nothing too heavy mind you) I would have the energy to get a good workout in but felt like I was burning off everything I just ate, the good and the bad. Then when I got home I would be hungry again and felt like I was eating double. Like too much food, an extra meal a day if you will.

downtide's avatar

I prefer to eat before, but at least an hour before. If I exercise too close to eating, I end up feeling bloated and crampy.

Coloma's avatar

I always have some protein, a protein shake or fruit and yogurt in the morning before I walk.
I think a light protein rich meal an hour or so before exercising gives you energy, but I also don’t pound myself into the ground, I just go for a brisk walk or couple mile hike.

InkyAnn's avatar

@Coloma I love walking outside! I just wish I could do it more than only in the winter.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

You should generally have something to eat before you work out, especially if it’s in the morning. Doesn’t have to be a full breakfast, can be a handful of nuts, some peanut butter on a cracker, a slice of fruit, whatever.

If you just do an easy walk or something light, you don’t need to eat a lot afterwards. But if you have just done the workout of workouts, you should have a small meal after,to replenish your energy stores.

As some have mentioned, if you’re doing intense cardio or something heavy-duty, a heavier meal beforehand is good—gives you fuel to burn.

ETpro's avatar

If it’s a light workout, then whatever suits you. If it’s a intense workout, the musckes you work will demand lots of blood flow, which may leave your digestive track so deprived of blood flow that you become nauseous and vomit.

Paradox25's avatar

From my experience I’ll say after the work out. The body will take energy from your body fat and turn it into glucose anyways. This is one reason why a ketogenic diet (high fat low carb diet) is so effective for losing weight, you force your body to use the fat in your body for energy instead of storing it.

whiteliondreams's avatar

6 Year Army Veteran. We did not eat before working out and by working out we are talking about a 6 mile run on a Monday morning. If the workout was light, we still didn’t eat prior. I would drink room temperature water 30 mins prior, but the most important thing you need to realize is that everyone’s body is different. I did not eat immediately after working out, I would wait between 30–60 minutes depending on the intensity. What I have read is that eating before working out does not increase the burning process, however, consuming water provides a metabolic jumpstart. The problem with consuming anything prior to working out is that your body is going to fight for blood distribution. Your stomach requires blood to assist in the digestion process. So, if you eat before a workout, you may risk a tummy ache. It doesn’t make a significant difference to eat prior if you are working out to burn fat. There are other alternatives such as weight lifting after a run. So yes, eating after is beneficial, but not immediately after, I just don’t remember exactly why…something along the lines that eating after a workout hinders the your metabolic processing and reduces the efficacy of the workout.

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