Eating before working out: How much should you wait?

Eating before working out: How much should you wait?

To work out you need energy. However, too much food will make you feel too heavy... So, where’s the right balance? The key is to manage the time interval between your meals and exercise sessions. 

To make the best of your workout, your body should be properly prepared. This includes not only the previous stretching but also the “fuel”, AKA your energy levels. As you know, fuel comes from food, and that's why it's important to have something in your stomach before your session to recharge your energy, but not too much in order to avoid sickness.

The key question is how long you should wait to practice sports after eating. When your body is working out, the blood flow is focused on your cardiac system instead of your digestive tract. That's the first reason why you should leave an interval between your last meal and your exercise.

Both nutritionists and fitness coaches recommend a window of time between one to four hours. If you're willing to eat something during this period, you should pick a healthy snack or a fruit, and then wait at least 30 minutes before exercising.

Hydration is also key. You should drink 20 ounces of water one to four hours before working out, and 5 to 10 ounces of water or any isotonic beverage after your exercises. If your body doesn't get enough liquid, you may feel dizzy and experience headaches.

When your body is working out, the blood flow is focused on your cardiac system instead of your digestive tract.

If you're practicing high demanding sports, like long-distance running, or cycling for longer than 60 minutes, your body may require some refueling during the workout. You can take a bite of easily digestible carbohydrates every 15 to 20 minutes. You may take a sip of water as well.

As a final word, take into account that exercising has lots of benefits, but to make the most of your sessions and feel really good after working out, you have to plan them properly. Leaving the correct time for your digestive process will help your body focus on your workout.

Here you have some tips to carefully choose your food when you do these 3 specific activities:

Spinning 

If you think to need to have a snack before your spinning session, you can have a glass of water with lemon and cayenne. This will give you a boost, perfect for your training. It would be great to avoid heavy snacks because its digestion will be difficult while training. 

If your next meal after training is within the next 3 hours you can just avoid the snacks. Make sure you include protein, unsaturated fats, and nutrient-dense foods in the meal.

Barre

After the training, according to Niki Rein, the Founder of Barrecore, an avocado smoothie is an excellent option.

When talking about pre-work snacking, the best option is fat trumps carbs.  Avoid bananas for example and starchy carbs. A good idea instead can be plain coconut yogurt.  

After the training, according to Niki Rein, the Founder of Barrecore, an avocado smoothie is an excellent option. And if you drink it within 30 minutes after the activity, even better. You can also add lemon juice, coconut water, collagen, glutamine, and blueberries.

Strength training

Before you have your training session you should be sure you have taken all the nutrients and fuel needed to support the workout. You can have a protein-rich handful of nuts an hour before your training. If you like to train in the morning, Dalton Wong, Founder of Twenty Two Training, advises having yogurt with berries or a green juice at least an hour before your workout.

Regarding the post-workout, Dalton Wong says it all depends on your aims. If you want to reduce fats or if you want to gain strength. In this case, you should think of stir-fry with vegetables, meat, and rice. If your case is the first one, you should have the stir-fry but without the rice instead. Another piece of advice is to make sure you ingest anti-inflammatories, anti-oxidants, and good quality protein post-lifting.

Nick Connelly

Though he spent most of his time on camera, covering major sports events, Nick’s life-long dream was to become a sports columnist. Today, Nick researches and covers workout routines, exercise-related tips and tricks and sports diets. In need of an effective training routine? Look no further than Nick’s articles.+ info

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