Exercise! - Eating Before/After Workout?

View Full Version : Eating Before/After Workout?

01-12-2007, 09:20 PM
Do you all eat before your workout? My trainer once said that its important to eat before hand (I think its because he didn't want to see water and diet pepsi being puked) but also said when working out, you burn whats in your stomach first, then stored calories. Now, I know hes full of crap on the whole you burn whats in your stomach because come on, its not even been digested yet! But is it a good idea to eat before hand? I had some string cheese on the way to the gym and it kept me from feeling like I was going to hurl (Im one of those that push themselves to that point).

Also, what about eating afterwards? I did a good solid 30 minute cardio workout and Im freaking STARVING! Im eating out later on, but for now, is it a good idea to have a snack?

01-13-2007, 12:17 AM
Hi Melanie!


I'm not sure what the RIGHT answer to this is, but I eat BEFORE and AFTER I work out! I'm very hungry when I wake up -probably because I stop eating after dinner and don't eat again until I wake up. I try to have some carbs and also some protein. I also drink some water before I work out. I used to have orange juice, but water feels better in my stomach. Favorite breakfasts are oatmeal with strawberries and yogurt or Eggbeaters with fresh spinach and a bit of cheese or some tomatoes.

After I work out I drink more water and LOVE a G.G. Scandanavian Bran Crispbread spread with some crunchy peanut butter. Mmmmmm! I may also have an apple or a banana then, too.

Throughout the day I try to eat something nutritious every three hours like an apple, a whole wheat pita with turkey and lettuce, 4 or 5 dried prunes, oatmeal, or fat-free yogurt so that I am NEVER starving. I even have a snack BEFORE I go to a dinner party and before heading out to a restaurant. Taking the edge off my appetite really helps me from being so hungry that I eat the whole breadbasket of bread before my meal comes!


01-13-2007, 09:30 AM
I never eat before working out. I find, for me, that I just feel better working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I work out for 60 minutes and then I eat immediately afterwards. I think it really just depends on personal preferences. You could do research and find 500 different answers. It just really boils down to calories in versus calories out and what you FEEL good doing. Just my humble opinion. :)

01-13-2007, 11:25 AM
If I'm doing cardio first thing in the morning (right after I wake up) I don't eat. But if I'm working out later in the day, I eat about 60-90 minutes before I work out (protein and carbs to give me the energy I need) and I eat about 30 minutes after I work out (sometimes just a protein shake) as your body needs the protein to repair your muscles that you just worked over. Christina's right though, everyone does their own thing. Personally, I think a full stomach would hinder your progress because your body will be trying to digest what's in your stomach and therefore using up some of your energy resources which you could be using to workout. If you feel you have to eat, then have a protein shake - try it. You'll find out what works for you and stick with it.

Good luck..keep at it!

01-13-2007, 03:34 PM
I eat a small meal before I work out (usually 2 egg whites w/hummus in the middle and a green olive on top, or 1/2 c ff cottage cheese w/1/2 c blueberries and 1/4 oz. chopped walnuts on top), then a bigger meal after I get home. Usually I spend 1.5 to 2 hours in the gym so I'm pretty hungry. For me, I need the energy that comes with eating a small amount before I go to the gym. Sometimes I will even take something to eat while at the gym if I'm working out particularly hard.

01-14-2007, 01:17 AM
I can't eat right before a workout. It would hurt my stomach. When you work out, your brain shunts blood from your digestive system to the muscles that need it so your body would have competing needs.

01-16-2007, 04:21 PM
My two cents

I usually eat a little something before, mostly because I usually exercise in the AM and want to stop exercising because I'm hungry. Usually, oatmeal or a banana or whole wheat toast with peanut butter. Then depending on what I ate before I'll add something after. fruit, carbs, protien or dairy to round thing out. This is what works for me. You need to find out what works for you.

01-16-2007, 05:19 PM
I don't eat anything before I exercise, but that's mainly because I don't have time. I get up at 4:15am and do a 30-minute cardio workout, then hop in the shower, then have my breakfast smoothie.

There's some duet book (it's a popular one, but I can't for the life of me remember which one it is right now) that explains that your body first gets fuel from you glycogen stores (in your liver, I think) before resorting to stored calories. When you haven't eaten in a while, your glycogen stores are either mostly or completely depleted, so when you exercise on an empty stomach, you're supposed to be burning your stored calories more efficiently.

Who knows if that's all true, but in any case, I don't eat before exercise for lack of time, and thinking that might help me to more efficiently burn some stored fat is just a nice idea to ponder while I'm grumbling about getting up so early ;)

01-16-2007, 07:09 PM
I agree with Jill. I'm not sure if it's true or not but I read somewhere that fasted cardio means you burn the glycogen and then get to fat burning quicker than if you exercised after eating. I've done it both ways and don't find that I'm low on energy or have a hard time getting through my weight routine if I haven't eaten, but then again I work out first thing in the morning. The happiest moment of my day is when I get to come home and eat my bowl of cereal in front of the computer. Waiting to eat until after my workout also makes it easier for me to delay lunch longer which makes it easier to dealy my afternoon snack longer, and so on. I guess what I'm saying is it gives me less time in the day to eat.

01-18-2007, 09:34 AM
I go to the gym every day after work and get there around 6:15. I have lunch at 1pm and so that's too long for me to go without a snack. Generally I have a snack, normally a piece of fruit, on the train around 5ish. If I ate too much, I'd feel too sluggish to work out.

Plus I've always been a pain-before-pleasure person, so exercise before dinner. This might just be me though. Also I find that by the time I get home at 8:30, I'm not even that hungry and water just fills me up for a while. I think this stops me overeating in the evenings too. Then I'll have some vegies, 2 slices brown bread with vegemite and sugar free jelly for dessert.

You just need to experiment and listen to your body - cliched, I know, but what works for me might be exactly the opposite of what works best for you. The only way you'll know is by trial and error.

01-19-2007, 10:50 AM
I have a little something before a workout. I've tried a "fasting" workout and I didn't see to get through it as well.

I usually will have a handful of nuts, or some peanut butter toast, maybe a half of a protein bar, or 8 oz of a sports drink. Nothing major, one of those. I work out early, at about 5:30am so I'm not even hungry at that time.

01-19-2007, 10:58 AM
For me, it really does depend.

If I'm working out first thing in the morning, I don't eat but I do drink a glass of water. I'm fine throughout my workout but then I eat immediately after.

If I'm working out later in the day, I need to eat a little something 30-60 minutes before I exercise or else I'll get dizzy, nauseous, etc. I'll usually eat a little something before and then a little something after.

01-19-2007, 12:32 PM
I'm a night owl working a day job, so I usually get to the gym a little before 8 p.m., which is 60-90 minutes after I eat dinner. I don't eat anything after that because I "cut myself off" at 7. I'm not sure how effective this is, but so far it's going okay.