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Should I eat before I workout?

Jun 5, 2017

Question: "Should I eat before I workout?"

Christian Agudelo, ACSM- CPT

Eating is a vital part of our everyday routine. It provides a person with the essential nutrients needed to sustain life. It also gives you the energy to perform basic daily tasks and on a more conscious level it helps us make important decisions. These ideas hold true in a workout environment. Eating before a workout provides the body with essential nutrients and energy that will be used during a training session. It is important to fuel the body with the right amount before you step into the gym. Your body needs energy to burn during a workout. The right carbohydrate can provide the necessary stored energy needed without compromising other areas for stored energy to be used during a workout. Not only does this help during the actual workout but after as well. Trying to lift heavy weights on an empty stomach will only cause you to deplete your energy quicker thus causing you to either quit before the session is over or have to modify the routine in order to not injure yourself. You will feel lazy and unmotivated which will make for a terrible session. Typically eating 30-60 minutes before your workout is ideal. This will give your body plenty of time to digest and begin to use the nutrients to your advantage. Discuss with your trainer what the best foods to eat before a workout are so that you can maximize your session each time you come in.

Earvin Bahena, NSCA - CSCS

Just like a car needs gas to run, your body needs fuel to manage its way through the day. Eating before a workout is just as important as what you eat after. Your body needs energy to perform at a high intensity and you get that energy by eating beforehand. Mixing foods with complex carbs and protein will help generate a steady flow of energy to keep you going. By not eating beforehand you are making it harder on your body to manage the workout. You won’t have the strength and stamina to continue and your blood sugar will drop and make you feel dizzy and sluggish. A good time frame to eat beforehand would be anywhere from 45-60 in before a workout to give your body enough time to digest and convert the food into fuel. You want your body to use the fuel from the food you ate and not the protein from your muscles, which is what it uses when you are on an empty stomach.


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