Should You Eat Before or After Working Out?
Should You Eat Before or After Working Out?: Proper nutrition is important when exercising, so you may wonder whether it’s better to eat before or after a workout. In general, when you should eat depends on your personal fitness goals, your planned workouts, and any underlying health concerns.
- Nutrition and exercise are the two most important factors for your overall health.
- Moreover, both factors influence each other.
- Proper nutrition can fuel your workouts and help your body recover and adapt.
- However, a common question is whether to eat before or after exercise.
- This may be especially relevant if you exercise first thing in the morning.
- Here’s what you need to know about what to eat before or after a workout.
Studies have shown that your body’s response to exercise can vary depending on whether or not you eat before exercise.
Fasting Increases Your Body’s Ability to Use Fat for Fuel
- Your body’s primary sources of fuel are body fat and carbohydrates.
- Fat is stored in adipose tissue as triglycerides, while carbs are stored in your muscles and liver as a molecule called glycogen.
- Carbohydrates are also available in the form of blood sugar.
- Studies show that blood sugar is higher when you eat before exercise and during exercise (1Trusted Source, 2).
- This makes sense because most pre-exercise meals in these studies provided carbs, which the body uses for energy during exercise.
- When exercising on an empty stomach, most of your body’s energy needs are met by the breakdown of body fat.
- One study of 273 participants found that fat burning was greater during fasted exercise, while glucose and insulin levels were higher during non-fasted exercise ( 3Trusted Source ).
- This compromise between carbohydrate and fat metabolism is part of your body’s natural ability to function with or without a recent meal.
Fasted and Fed Exercise May Produce Different Responses
- Given that your body burns more fat for energy when fasting, it’s tempting to think that this would lead to greater fat loss over time.
- One study demonstrated different responses in individuals exercising in a fasted state compared to those who ate before exercise ( 5Trusted Source ).
- Specifically, the ability of muscles to burn fat during exercise and the body’s ability to maintain blood glucose levels were improved by fast exercise, but not by exercise.
- Because of this, some scientists believe that your body’s response to exercise after fasting will result in more beneficial changes in body fat than exercise after eating (6).
- However, despite some evidence showing the potential benefits of fasted exercise, there is no strong evidence that fasted exercise leads to greater weight or fat loss (7).
- Although limited research has been done, two studies found no difference in fat loss between fasting women and women who exercised after eating.