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Question about eating and exercise...

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Old 12-29-2008, 02:02 PM   #1
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Default Question about eating and exercise...

This might be the dumbest question you folks have heard, but being the couch potato I am I have no clue. I was wondering how long I should wait between exercise and eating. Does it matter? Is it better to have meals before or after working out? Also, what about snacking? Thanks.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:15 PM   #2
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It may depend on what you are doing for exercise and how your stomach tolerates having food in there during exercise.

But speaking generally, I usually wait a minimum of 30 minutes after eating to exercise. And I usually eat something small within about 20 minutes of when I'm done.

But I've also exercised right after eating and not eaten for hours after exercise. Life isn't perfect. I was fine, you'll be fine too.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:23 PM   #3
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A lot of it just really depends on the person.

I cannot exercise on a completely empty stomach, but I can't exercise if I'm full either. I try to have a bit of a snack about 1 hour prior - just something with some protein and complex carbs. And I always have a protein shake after.

But seriously my snack before is a really small snack. A boiled egg and a small (5 oz) can of V8. Or a 1/2 a piece of whole grain bread with 1T of peanut butter. Just something so that my stomach isn't completely empty when I hit the gym.

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Old 12-29-2008, 02:34 PM   #4
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I try not to eat meat/high protein foods a few hours (i.e. 2 to 3) before I exercise. If I do, I feel extremely "weighed down" while working out.

If I eat carbs, I am okay if I wait 30 minutes before exercising with no ill effects.
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:58 PM   #5
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As long as I haven't just binged it doesn't matter for me.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:20 PM   #6
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I agree that it really depends on the person. For me I usually eat my entire breakfast and give myself 1 hour before my morning workout, same goes before my evening work out and its just worked out fine.

On days where I have to workout in the afternoon I have carbs with a little bit of protein about 1/2 an hour before working out; usually an apple and 1 tbsp of peanut butter and I do just fine.

The only time I've ever had trouble with eating after exercise was when I increased the intensity of my workouts and began having bad stomach cramps after fast runs. I had to wait at least 3 hours before I could eat. That lasted a month and my doctor said it was due to increasing intensity too quickly and my body couldn't keep up.
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Old 12-29-2008, 09:51 PM   #7
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You'll definitely have to find out for yourself how you tolerate eating and exercising - it's so different for everyone!

I have to have at least two hours between eating anything and exercising (I get *terrible* stomach cramps if I don't wait long enough), but my hubby can use the elliptical right away, with no cramps at all.

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Old 12-29-2008, 09:53 PM   #8
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Pre exercise it really depends on the person and what you are doing. Because of the type of exercise I do (high endurance) I can eat WHILE exercising if need be. I can go on no food or some food...I prefer not to have a LOT.

There isnt a NEED to eat before or during exercise sessions of under 90 minutes outside of the normal needing to eat. (i.e. if you are exercising at 4 pm and you never got around to lunch, it could be a problem, but dont get sucked in to thinking you need gatorade or energy bars to get you through your workout)

You SHOULD eat after exercise - this is when the rebuilding process occurs and several studies have shown you will recover faster and be able to hit it harder the next time if you eat ( a large snack or small meal) shortly (within 30 min) after exercise.
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Old 12-30-2008, 12:05 PM   #9
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I do what the other girls do, eat a bit before and then definitely eat afterwards...

I see that you are new to the site so to 3FC ....

AND there is never, EVER a dumb question ...
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Old 12-31-2008, 08:18 PM   #10
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I just had two concerns on this.

First, I didn't want to lose the contents of my stomach working out. Sounds like, from your replies, as long as I'm not stuffed to the gills I won't have to worry about that.

My second concern had more to do with how eating and working out affects the burned calories and the consumed calories. If that makes sense. Eating AFTER working out seems to be important to many of you. What makes it so important?

Thanks for all the feedback. And Ilene, thank you so much for the warm welcome.
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxsealady View Post
My second concern had more to do with how eating and working out affects the burned calories and the consumed calories. If that makes sense. Eating AFTER working out seems to be important to many of you. What makes it so important?
I think Ennay answered it well:

Quote:
You SHOULD eat after exercise - this is when the rebuilding process occurs and several studies have shown you will recover faster and be able to hit it harder the next time if you eat ( a large snack or small meal) shortly (within 30 min) after exercise.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:18 PM   #12
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I also believe it's important to eat a small snack within 20-30 minutes of an intense workout, ideally comprised of (for me) an equal ratio of fast carbs (to recover quickly) and some protein. For short, less intense sessions, IMO a post-workout snack isn't really necessary, for me, anyway.

Milk (including chocolate) is actually an excellent recovery drink following a major exercise session of two hours or more.
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Old 01-02-2009, 05:52 PM   #13
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Thanks everybody for all your answers. I understand the why- eating after a workout helps with recovery. I'm trying to understand the what part of it. As in: What are the elements of eating afterward that help with recovery. Maybe I'm just asking wrong...
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:22 PM   #14
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For me, it depends on what I eat. I usually have a 100 calorie chocolate milk box (really mature right) before I work out, but if I have something like a banana or yogurt and I'm training hard I will get indigestion. Really you need to experiment to see what works for you.
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxsealady View Post
Thanks everybody for all your answers. I understand the why- eating after a workout helps with recovery. I'm trying to understand the what part of it. As in: What are the elements of eating afterward that help with recovery. Maybe I'm just asking wrong...
OK. This is somewhat simplified but the general idea

Lets look at specifically 2 types of workouts -

Cardio burns primarily glycogen which is carbohydrates stored in the muscle. It also causes some muscle damage (micro-tears).

Weights primarily cause the muscle damage, and to a smaller degree burns glycogen.

Immediately after a workout the body is still primed to repair and replenish. It WANTS to refill the glycogen stores (carbohydrates). It WANTS to build additional glycogen storage if it was totally depleted. It WANTS to rebuild the muscle tissue by allocating resources to that (protein). During a period of time after working out blood flow is still diverted to those working muscles just as they are during a workout and away from other parts of the body. If there are proteins and carbohydrates readily available the body will take them and use them for those purposes. For this period of time the muscles have priority.

After about 30 minutes (it is actually longer, but you have digestion to consider), the body returns to its normal state of sending resources primarily to brain, organs, then muscles etc. The muscles are lower down the priority chain, and while they WILL get refilled and rebuilt, it may not be as completely or as quickly as it could be. The next time you workout you will fatigue quicker or you may not improve as much as you could be.
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