Thursday, March 26, 2009

What to Eat Before a Workout. To Eat, or Not to Eat... That is the Question.

I am about to embark on a very controversial subject here. It seems like everything I read had a different opinion.

The question I’m going to answer is: Do I eat before a workout?

The answer is Yes and No. I know that’s not the answer you wanted, but there are a lot of factors that go into it. For example, if you workout right after you wake up in the morning, hydrate you body with a glass of water and go workout without eating. Now I only recommend doing this is you’re only doing cardio, because when you add weights it’s a whole new ballgame!

You will need energy when weight lifting and if you’re not supplying your body with the fuel (food) that it needs then you’re not going to reach your optimum level in which you can push your body out of that comfort zone. Also, you can’t wait too long between waking up and working about because this sends your body into what I call starvation mode. A lot of people think that they will burn more fat if they just skip the meal prior to working out, and that just isn’t the case. Our bodies store fat for a reason – a reason of survival. It is very reluctant to let go of those fat stores (especially if you haven’t eaten in over 8 hours), so it first gets its fuel from our muscle which is the best form of protein. Yep, that’s right, our body will burn our muscles before it burns fat – and this is NOT what we want to happen when we’re trying to get fit and healthy!

If you workout in the afternoons eat something light 2-3 hours prior to working out that’s mainly good carbohydrates with a little protein & fat. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel and they are digested the quickest. Protein, fat, and fiber all linger in the stomach a little longer, so if you eat a meal high in these things then you need to wait around 4-5 hours to workout. If you do workout on a full stomach the body’s energy goes to focusing on digesting the food you just ate instead of focusing on the muscles that you are working out. Which honestly defeats the purpose, right???

They say if you choose to go to the gym and are feeling very hungry prior – just grab a piece of fruit. Fruit tends to leave the digestive track around 30 minutes. So it’s the perfect snack to eat right before hand.

So the question of “Do I eat before I workout?” Should actually be, “If I eat prior to working out, what is the best food to fuel my body?”

As for eating after a workout, it’s important to eat within an hour. This meal should be equaled with good carbs and protein. The protein is especially important and here’s why.

When you weight train or do any kind of resistance training you are breaking/tearing down your muscle so that it can build itself back up even bigger and better. Upon doing this you need to feed it protein which is the muscles source of fuel that helps to rebuild and repair it.

This is by no means what you “have” to do. Everyone’s body is different, so I recommend eating “light” right before working out. Do what fits right for your daily routine, but at the same time make it so that it gives you the best benefits of your workout! After all your working out for a good reason!

Next week I plan on following up this post with "What" to eat before a work out. I know that I briefed over it, but this time I can give some good examples as to what to fuel your body with! See you all next week!


Don't forget to go check out Sandy at God Speaks Today. It's her Fitness Friday post and she always has great info. She also links to another blogger who talks about healthy hearts.


If you're looking for the Gettin' Fine in '09 Challenge, my post is directly below this!


Dani Joy said...

this was a big help and very informative. Thanks..Goin´to post my fitness Friday now. ;)

Debbie said...

I wake up hungry so I usually have a fat free yogurt, a cup of coffee and water before I exercise. After I exercise, I have my cereal with fruit.

Diabetics especially have to be careful when exercising because it will lower their blood sugar.

This is good information. Great post.

Dani Joy said...

Thanks Sara for that encouragemet!! I totally needed it! and I really have relaxed this week end. Not going over board but not worrying about the weight loss. so glad for this support group we have going.
I haven´t measured myself. I think i will though now. I know my clothes are baggier. :)
have a great week!

JnL4God said...

Thanks for the info, and I have my post up sorry for the delay where does the time go.