Should You Eat Before a Workout?

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Should You Eat Before a Workout?

Mom always said not to go swimming right after a meal. But perhaps your trainer, or someone else, has advised you to eat a light snack for energy right before a workout. So which is it? Should you fill up before exercising, or not?

Well, it depends. In some situations, eating before a workout is a good idea. But in others, maybe not. We can break it down for you.

If any of these situations apply to you, then you should probably eat before your workout:

  • It’s been a long time since you last ate. You don’t want to work out to the point of feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
  • You’re aiming for results; if your workout goal is to increase your time or speed, or to lift more weights, you probably need more fuel.
  • You feel like you’re starving; if you’re already ravenous, you probably won’t give your all to a workout.
  • You’re following a weight loss plan. It makes sense to burn more calories relatively soon after eating.

On the other hand, if any of these conditions apply, then you should probably skip a pre-workout meal or snack:

  • It’s going to be more of an easy, “maintenance” workout than a challenging one.
  • You woke up extra early to work out (and you had a decent-sized meal the night before).
  • Your workout will be less than an hour long. Most people don’t need to fuel up before shorter workouts unless they’re very intense.
  • Your last meal was less than three hours ago.
  • You’re planning to eat soon after the workout.

Eating before a workout – especially if you consume some complex carbs – can help you fuel your body and perform better. But because larger meals can give you cramps or lead to you feeling sick, you should still stick to a light snack if you do choose to eat before a workout. And of course, water is a must – no matter the time, difficulty of the exercise, or anything else.

If you have any other questions about exercise and nutrition, especially as they relate to your weight loss plan, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.