Is It Better To Eat Before or After a Workout?
Your body is just like a car — it needs fuel to function properly, run smoothly, and take you from point A to point B. You wouldn’t try to drive a car without gas, right? Well, believe it or not, your body is the same way! Properly fueling yourself will give you the energy you need to power through tough workouts and crush your fitness goals.
Now, of course, your body doesn’t run on gasoline like a car, but it does require an abundance of nutrients to give it the fuel it needs during exercise.
The problem? While body-nourishing food eaten before a challenging workout is key — especially if you’re trying to hit a new PR — it can also leave us feeling sick. What gives?
We know it can be a little confusing, but don’t worry — BioHealth is here to help! Read on to discover everything you need to know about eating before working out and post-workout.
To Eat, or Not To Eat?
In a society where good nutrition and exercise are quickly becoming the norm, there’s a whole lot of confusion swirling around the internet from trendy diets that teach us fasted exercise. Within the sea of supplements promising to provide the energy we need to power through a workout, there are so many factors to consider.
With this in mind, it’s really easy to see how many people are a bit lost when it comes to eating and exercise — is it better to eat before or after a workout?
Well, as with most things in life, the answer to this question isn’t that simple. Why? Because we all have different needs. What works for your bestie before or after a workout might be very different from what works for you. You see, some people thrive when training in a fasted state, while for others, it’s the complete opposite.
What Does The Research Say?
According to experts, if you plan on exercising for more than an hour, you may see an advantage by eating a few hours before starting. If your workout is less than an hour, eating beforehand is a personal preference. But regardless of how long you get your sweat on, you’ll want to eat after — preferably within the hour.
Eating Before Working Out
Eating before exercise is pretty unappetizing for some people, while others prefer to have nutritious food in their system to give them the fuel they need to crush a workout. As we mentioned a little earlier, everyone is different!
That being said, even though what — or if — you eat before a workout is dependent on the individual, there are a few guidelines everyone should keep in mind when it boils down to deciding if you should eat or not.
First, if you’re an early bird who enjoys hitting the gym before the sun gets up, chances are you may not even have time to think about food — let alone prepare a healthy dish before heading out the door. And while exercising on an empty tummy might not bother you, the truth is that it may not be doing you any favors.
Fasted exercise has become all the rage these days, with keto dieters arguing that it burns more fat. And while there’s some truth to this, it all boils down to the type of exercise you’re engaging in.
According to a recent study, volunteers were fed either a placebo or carbs before and during a moderate-intensity aerobic session. The results? Not only did the group who ate carbs perform better, but they also had a very similar fat-oxidation as the group who took the placebo. In other words, eating a small number of carbohydrates enhances performance without hindering fat burning.
On the flip side, when performing low-intensity aerobic exercise while in a fasted state, it appears fat-burning is enhanced while eating carbs before low-key exercise, blunts fat oxidation, probably due to an increase in insulin.
So, what does this mean for you?
Simple — if you’re trying to decide if you should eat before working out, consider the type of exercise you will be doing. If you have a rigorous workout ahead of you, eat a light snack. If you’re planning light exercise, doing a fasted workout can help to burn more fat.
What To Eat Before a Workout
Wondering what to eat before hitting the gym? Here are a few snacks that can help fuel your body to crush your workout:
- Whole grain toast with avocado
- Banana with a little nut butter
- Low-fat chocolate milk
- Nonfat Greek yogurt with a handful of fresh berries
- Oatmeal with low-fat milk and sliced apples
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Small snacks
- Energy bar
You can also drink a tasty protein shake using top-quality protein powder, like our Pasture-Fed Precision Blend Protein. This delicious time-released GMO-free formula is sourced from happy and healthy pasture-fed cows, untreated with antibiotics. With over 30 grams of protein in each scoop, you can drink this protein shake to begin your day to fuel your workout. Simply mix one to two scoops with six to eight ounces of water and see the difference. Clean ingredients may improve your health!
Eating After Working Out
Your body uses energy (glucose) stored in your muscles to power through your workout, but after that workout, you need to replenish the nutrients lost.
Reach for healthy carbs from whole foods to replenish what was lost and protein to help rebuild your muscles. And most importantly, don’t neglect the fluids!
When you exercise, you naturally lose body water through sweat. And if you don’t replenish your water levels, dehydration can quickly set in, leading to a whole host of unpleasant symptoms, including fatigue, headache, dizziness, nausea, and more.
You should be drinking water before, during, and after exercise — no exceptions.
What To Eat After a Workout
Done with your sweat sesh and ready to fuel your body with yummy, nutritious food? Here are some of the post-workout meal ideas to help your muscles recover and repair:
- Yogurt or cottage cheese
- Hummus and whole-grain crackers
- Eggs with a slice of whole-wheat toast
- Turkey sandwich
- Salmon with sweet potato
- Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables and quinoa or brown rice
- Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
- Peanut butter cookie protein granola
- Whole-grain crackers with string cheese and fresh fruit
We recommend one of our delicious meal replacements for a quick and easy meal that your body will absorb quickly. Macro-friendly protein powder designed to nourish your body while giving you quick energy, our meal replacements are not only made with clean ingredients, but they taste absolutely amazing!
All-natural, gluten-free, and lactose-free, our Phyto perfect plant protein is second to none. Whether you’re looking to maximize results, increase stamina, or boost energy, you can count on us to provide you with superior protein powder that’s nothing short of amazing.
A Final Word
So, is it better to eat before or after a workout?
The best time to eat is really what works best for you. There is not a single person on the planet who knows your body better than you do — if you experiment with food before hitting the gym and it makes you sick, hold off on food until after your sweat sesh. Did you give fasted exercise a try and find that it hindered your performance? No worries, simply consume a healthy snack like our Phyto Perfect Protein to provide you with fuel before your next workout.
In addition to sticking to healthy nutrition, drinking plenty of water also has its benefits when it comes to your overall health. Hydration is key, after all.
Here at BioHealth, we combine premium ingredients with high-performance formulas that we deliver directly to the marketplace. You’ll never find any junk, icky fillers, or questionable ingredients in our supplements. You see, with us, your choice is always simple, your nutrition is second-to-none, and your body is better than it was yesterday!
Whether you’re vegan, gluten-free, a low-carb warrior, or simply on a journey to achieve optimum health, you can count on us to have the cleanest products on Earth, designed to work with your body to help you reach your goals.
As the original pioneers of the Grass Fed-Pasture-Fed movement, we’re setting the industry standard on just how good your nutrition can be, and with BioHealth in your corner, we’re confident you’ll feel the difference.
Does Cardio After an Overnight Fast Maximize Fat Loss? : Strength & Conditioning Journal | Journals
Exercise Increases 24-h Fat Oxidation Only When It Is Performed Before Breakfast | NCBI
Effects of carbohydrate ingestion before and during exercise on glucose kinetics and performance | PubMed
Effects of fasted vs fed-state exercise on performance and post-exercise metabolism: A systematic review and meta-analysis | PubMed