Best Time to Exercise Before or After eating
Maybe you have ever wondered if you should eat before or after the exercise. Anyway, that’s a question that is asked me quite often.
With this article, I still want to try to give you an answer, with which you can really do something. For that, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of eating before and after training. If there were only arguments for one side, then not so many people would ask themselves this question.
Then I want to deal with the question of whether and when it makes a difference in losing weight or when building muscle, whether you eat before or after the exercise. Ultimately, the right decision always depends on your goals.
At the end of the article, you should then be even better able to decide for yourself whether you should eat before or after the exercise.
Eating before the exercise pros and cons
The stomach growls and a hard workout is on. Should you eat something fast now?
I’ve often wondered if I should have something to eat before training or prefer to wait until after my workout. The question is still so easy to answer flat rate. Having something to eat before training has both advantages and disadvantages.
Benefits of eating before exercise
If you are hungry and have a training session, then the advantages in the first moment of course in the foreground:
- You are not hungry during training and thus a better mood.
- By eating you have more energy for your training.
- You do not get a feeding flash after training.
If my stomach growls, then I can quickly come up with more arguments to eat something fast, but I think that’s the key.
Disadvantages of eating before exercise
At the same time, however, you also have some disadvantages to completing before training, which you should consider:
- A full stomach can prevent you from training in the border area (otherwise you run the risk of vomiting).
- Your digestion requires energy that you lack for your training.
- You provoke a possible motivation hole (who wants to go hunting with a full stomach?).
At the latest, if you have eaten a relatively large amount just before training, you will try to avoid it.
What and when does eating make sense before exercise?
There is a lot to be said for eating something before training to have energy and some “food buffer”. A full stomach, however, disturbs the workout and your body has the need to rest after work, rather than to work. Immediately before training to eat is therefore rather not recommended. At least an hour should be between eating and training and even then you should not eat large quantities. A small snack with protein and carbohydrates is optimal.
It is also important that the energy from the already eating 30 minutes to 2 hours until it is available for your muscles. The kebab 10 minutes before the leg workout in the gym is potentially one of the worst choices for so many reasons. It will not bring you anything and only burden you.
Eating after exercise pros and cons
Let’s look at the same situation from the other side. Your stomach growls and the training is on. You have not been able to eat for hours. However, because you have dealt with the disadvantages of eating before the exercise, you decided to eat something afterward. However, this also brings along with the advantages of some disadvantages.
Benefits of eating after exercise
Taking high-quality food is definitely a recommendation that you will get in most cases. There are also some good reasons for this:
- Your regeneration after training is accelerated (keyword “anabolic window”).
- Your energy reserves can be replenished quickly.
- The hunger comes after the training anyway, whether you have eaten before or not.
- Subconsciously the food is linked as a reward with the training. This helps you to overcome your inner bastard.
With all the advantages, it is almost negligent not to eat after training or?
Disadvantages of eating after exercise
In the situation described, that you have not eaten before training, but there are definitely some disadvantages to wait with the food until after training:
- You’re hungry and may be in a bad mood during training (I’m feeling that way).
- You have less energy during training and thus bring less power (which mostly takes place in the head …).
- After the workout, you run the risk of falling into a Fressflash. Especially with the reward of the food after the training, there is a risk that you shovel massively unhealthy things.
- Again, there is a danger of a motivational hole (overcome with hunger and without energy for training)
As you can see, eating out after workouts are not only beneficial if you do without food for a long time before exercising.
What and when does eating make sense after exercise?
Eating after exercise definitely makes sense. The benefits cannot be denied. A post-workout protein shake and a large meal of protein, high-quality fats, and long-chain carbohydrates provide optimal care. Then some vegetables, so that the micronutrient supply is covered and you do not have to worry that you are missing something.
Does it make a difference to build muscle?
Let’s take a look at whether eating before or after exercise makes more sense for building muscle.
Basically, it can be said here that the so-called nutrition timing, ie the temporal optimization of food intake has only a very small effect on the overall result. If you want to build muscle mass, then it can make sense to play out the benefits here. Even if you make your mealtimes suboptimal, but your muscle building training is good and all the nutrients fit, you’ll still make good progress to some level.
Some find it difficult to eat large crowds in the evening after training. In that case, of course, there is a lot to be said for taking most of the calories before training. Since it makes no sense to give up long before training.
If you just want to optimize it, eat a smaller meal of protein and carbohydrates 2-3 hours before training, a protein shake after training, and then a little later your big meal with everything you need.
Optimally, it is ultimately in the muscle building diet, which makes it personally the easiest way to get your calorie needs and your nutrients. This will in most cases not be to eat before or after training, but both.
Does it make a difference when losing weight?
This is a good opportunity to clear up with a rumor. Because even if you want to lose weight, it does not really make any difference if you take a meal before or after exercise. Ultimately, it depends on the fact that you eat less than you consume.
More often than I would like, I have already heard the recommendation not to eat anything after a workout in a diet, “because the body then really goes to the reserves”. In the short term, that may be logical, but in the medium and long term, it really makes no difference when you eat something, but how much you eat.
In order for you to be able to stick to your diet, you should divide up your meals so that it is as easy as possible for you and you need to suffer as little hunger as possible. This is certainly different individually but after training hungry for home and then go to bed is hell for me anyway. In addition, it is not optimal for your muscle maintenance in a diet to make it difficult for your body to regenerate after exercise.
Conclusion – Should you eat before or after the exercise?
As already announced at the beginning, there is no clear answer to the question. After all, everything has its advantages and disadvantages. There are some meaningful guidelines to stick to. I hope that these help you to find out what is the right eating habits for you.
My personal strategy is to eat something for the last time 2-3 hours before training and then hit it clean after training. If I’m still feeling hungry a relatively short time before my workout, I sometimes get a snack, like a protein bar. However, this must not be something that potentially hits the stomach and interferes with training.