Deciding the best foods is the best food to consume, regardless of whether you’re trying to shed weight or improve your performance is just one aspect that makes up the whole equation. It’s also important to address the issue of what time to take your food.
Add exercise to the mix and the issue of eating when you want to becomes even more difficult. Let’s take it apart.
To eat or to not eat?
There are two camps in this “to eat, or not to eat” before exercising debate.
One person avoids eating before the morning workout (save for the occasional cup of coffee since there is caffeine!). One side gets dizzy at the thought of exercising without a proper breakfast. Both have legitimate points.
Training on an empty stomach may make you feel more relaxed on your feet and also avoid having to use the bathroom in the fitness center. However, eating a balanced diet ensures that you have sufficient fuel to get through your exercise.
The benefits of fasting prior the start of a workout
However, there’s more than personal preferences. Studies suggest that those who skip breakfast may be right but the evidence behind it is a bit hazy.
A study of 273 participants discovered that fat burning was greater during exercise when fasting, whereas glucose and insulin levels were higher when they haven’t fasted. Trusted Source
In general, however, science hasn’t issued the final verdict that fasting improves exercise since some studies show that there is no difference between both methods.
Pros of eating fast prior an exercise
If you’re able to manage it, then you can handle it. The working-out-on-an-empty-stomach thing is only helpful if you can still perform during your workout. The idea of phoning it in or letting it out halfway in case you feel you’ll faint won’t cut it.
How long and how far you’ll be able to run is contingent on what you ate and when you last ate your meals the day before. A heavy meal of carbs the night before might provide you with enough energy to get through your run.
It’s important to note that the majority of people will awake slightly dehydrated after slowing down for the night. Drinking a glass of fluids (at the very minimum) is a great idea for any morning workout.
Take into consideration the type of exercise you do.
In the debate overeating or not eating the type of workout you choose is crucial. You may be able to get through one hour of yoga without your stomach rumbling interfering with your Savasana. However, you’re not likely to complete 10 miles of running without some type of nutrition boost.
Longer-lasting endurance sports have shown signs of improvement following a meal high in carbs 3-4 hours before. Trusted Source
For workouts with shorter durations, The science remains uncertain. Most research indicates no differences in performance between fed and fasted exercise for workouts that last less than one hour. Trusted Source
Your best bet? If you are certain that you’ll be working the time to do a lengthy exercise or push yourself to the limit, be sure you’re prepared by eating a small snack just a few hours before.
Fuel for pre-workouts
To maximize your performance for optimal performance, your body must be fueled with carbohydrates and protein before exercise.
Carbs increase glycogen stores in your body that your muscles and liver release when your energy levels are low. Protein is a great way to prevent muscle damage and speeds up recovery after an exercise session.
The more complex (aka slow-burning) carbs such as oatmeal and vegetables, brown rice, and beans are great. Protein doesn’t need to be derived from cattle. These nutritious sources are suitable for all kinds of people, from vegans to carnivores:
- Chicken breast
- Nut butters
- cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
To speed up the process to make it easier, create protein-carb combinations like Greek yogurt with fruits, or eggs with steamed spinach on toast made of whole grains. If you’re a roll-out-of-bed-and-go person without that kind of time, try a make-ahead protein shake with half of a banana.
For timing, filling up your tank between 2 and 3 hours before your workout will give you the best performance as research finds. Trusted Source
Give your body time to digest, particularly for endurance sports like running. Food that isn’t digested can cause stomach problems (aka runner’s stomach or rushing to the bathroom rather than the planned run).
Recovery after a workout
Refueling and recovering are the twin purposes of eating after a workout. Carbs replenish the glycogen you’ve used up, while protein builds your muscles. You should aim for a ratio of 3:1 carbs to protein. Trusted Source
Make the most of the time frame for recovery and recovery, which occurs within one hour after finishing exercising. workout.Trusted Source Recharge using an ice-cold smoothie, turkey, and vegetables in a whole grain wrap or yogurt with the addition of berries.
Don’t forget to drink fluids, since will be required to replenish all the sweat you’ve put out during your workout. Water is always a fantastic drinker, but glasses of milk can add electrolytes and protein into the mix. This can aid in recovery as research finds. Trusted Source
Keep in mind that recovery can last for up to 48 hours following intense training. Therefore, don’t overlook the nutritional value of your meals all day long.
The bottom line
The evidence is mixed, but there are a few studies that support exercising with a full stomach if the workout is low-to-medium intensity, and the goal is to lose fat or maintain.
Be on the lookout for any signs you’re not feeling your body:
- feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- The pace of the workout is slowing significantly towards the middle of the workout.
- You’ve lost your form
- fast breathing, even if the movement doesn’t require it.
If you’re getting ready to do a more intense exercise, make sure you eat carbohydrates and protein before your workout. Being dizzy when you do a set of burpees isn’t the best way to start your day. When it concerns fitness, everybody is different. It’s up to you to test various post- and pre-workout foods to discover what is most effective for you.