Working Out After Eating Is Encouraged, Provided Certain Guidelines Are Followed
Many people are apparently confused about if they should be working out after eating. I do not even blame them considering the cacophony of fitness information being constantly blasted out there! It can be truly hard for one to know what to believe!
Personally, I believe that one should eat before exercising. This is provided that certain guidelines are adhered to.
Before discussing what to eat before exercising, let’s first delve into a major benefit of eating before exercising.
Exercising After Eating Allows One To Maintain Higher Blood Sugar Levels
Low blood sugar is also known as hypoglycemia. This can occur when you skip meals and exercise on top of that. When your blood sugar is low, your exercise performance can suffer. This is particularly true after long periods of exercise.
When you begin exercising, your body primarily uses muscle glycogen as energy. Glycogen is how your body stores glucose (a type of sugar). This glycogen is stored in your liver and muscle tissue. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the cells in your body. Once you begin exercising, your body will break down glycogen into glucose, which it can use for energy.
As you exercise for longer periods, however, your body will use less muscle glycogen. It will instead use more blood glucose as energy, as well as fat. If you are working out on an empty stomach, your blood glucose levels could be initially lower. As you exercise, blood glucose will be used as energy from this already depleted level.
Working out after eating is optimal as this will prevent low blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are low, this can result in your body not feeling good. Symptoms of low blood sugar include you feeling lightheaded, dizzy and weak, among other things.
When you are feeling those symptoms, you will not be able to workout as effectively! Not only this, but your perceived exertion will be greater. You will realize you are exercising on an empty stomach and feel more lethargic. For these reasons, you will want to exercise after eating to keep up your blood glucose levels. Now, let’s talk more about what you should eat before working out.
What To Eat Before A Workout
Before working out, one thing you will want to avoid are high fat foods! Because your body digests these foods slower, stomach cramps could result. This could hinder your ability to effectively workout. Also, if you exercise immediately after eating, there could be blood flow competition between your muscles and stomach. This blood flow competition won’t only cause stomach cramps, but cause you to also not have as effective a muscle pump. Therefore, when working out after eating, you’ll want to avoid something like donuts!
An hour before working out, you will want to eat foods containing carbs that are easy to digest. This will provide your body with needed energy and prevent it from feeling sluggish. It helps if the carb snack you have is mixed with some protein, as protein helps your muscle fibers repair themselves. When working out after eating, you should consider having something like an orange, peach, sports drink or whey protein shake with carbs in it an hour before. All of these are easy to digest and will give you more energy for exercising.
When eating 3-4 hours before a workout, you will have more time to digest your food. Foods you can try now that contain carbs include protein bars (you likely won’t need as much time for this), bagels, potatoes and pasta. You will want to experiment with these foods though. Perhaps 3 hours will be too little time for you to digest these foods effectively. You may have to eat these foods 4 hours prior to working out. Listen to what your body is telling you!
In Summation On Exercising After Eating
Eating before exercising is important to keeping your energy and blood glucose levels up. However, what you eat and when you eat are important factors too. If you eat high fat foods before working out, stomach cramps could hinder your performance. Eating right before a workout might not give your body enough time to digest, which also can lead to stomach cramps. If you are eating foods loaded by carbs that are not as fast to digest, these should be eaten 2, 3 or 4 hours before working out. Quickly digested carbs can be taken in as a light snack an hour before working out to give you optimal performance.
Basically, it is good to eat before working out! But keep in mind what you are eating and when you are eating it!