What and when to eat before and after exercise

Confinement does not preclude physical activity. Neither inside nor outside. Here’s exactly what you eat to fuel your workout session, without exaggerating the calories.

The food you put into your body before, during and after a workout can definitely affect your health and whether or not you achieve your training goals.

Still wondering what to eat before and after exercise? Or if it is necessary to eat at all? These are important questions to ask. Because the right fuel can make a huge difference to your energy level, mood, and results. So it greatly affected your chances of training again.

The world of pre- and post-workout nutrition is confusing and there is no single answer. However, you should know that the food you eat before, during and after your workout can have a definite effect on how you feel and whether or not you will achieve your training goals.

Specific recommendations for what to eat, when and how much to eat vary depending on the time of day, type of exercise and your personal goals.

What to eat before exercise and how long to wait before doing physical activity

In general, it is recommended to eat a mixture of proteins and carbohydrates before exercise to maintain energy and build muscle. On the other hand, foods rich in fat or fiber (such as broccoli or sandwiches) should be avoided. It can cause stomach upsets and cramps.

But what you should eat before your 30-minute walk will be different than what you eat before your 20-kilometer training run. Here’s what you need to know.

If you exercise for less than an hour

It is not necessary to eat first thing in the morning. In fact, there may be an advantage in not eating before your morning workouts that aren’t intense. If you do light or easy exercise in the morning and are trying to lose weight, it may be best to drink a glass of water but not eat. This encourages your body to burn a higher percentage of body fat to fuel your workout. According to a study published in the December 2015 issue of EBioMedicine, you can burn more fat in 24 hours if you train before breakfast than if you train later in the day.

But if you wake up hungry, you may need some food in your stomach before activity. Signs that you are too hungry to run empty are unbearable pain from hunger, headache, dizziness, lightheadedness, irritability, or an inability to focus.
In these cases, even if you only have 10-15 minutes before your workout, eat a small amount of fast-digesting carbohydrates. Like 4 cl of fruit juice, a small banana, a handful of grapes or a handful of cereal to ensure you have the physical and mental energy to get moving.

Other data suggests that this type of small, high-carb snack (or even a slightly larger 200-calorie snack) can improve feelings of relaxation after exercise.

If you exercise for more than an hour in the morning

You should always eat a small amount of easily digestible carbohydrates. Like the options above, in order to have the energy to continue your training. If you get up at least 30 minutes before your workout, you’ll have plenty of time to digest a more important snack of about 200 calories.

Waking up with enough time to eat breakfast before an intense workout can be ideal. The extra calories in your body help prevent fatigue. So that you have enough energy to complete your workout at a time of the day when you might feel very tired. You can move forward when you have some fuel in you!

If you exercise later in the day and have eaten a meal in the last two or three hours, you should be able to complete your workout without an additional source of pre-workout fuel. But if you haven’t eaten recently, you should eat a 100-200 calorie snack within 30 minutes to an hour before your workout to be mentally and physically ready.

How long should you wait to exercise after eating?

If you have just had a meal, you should wait two to three hours before exercising. If you just had a snack, wait about half an hour.

Do you really need to have a sports drink in the middle of a workout?

The answer, for the vast majority of people, is no. Workouts of short duration (60 minutes or less), such as indoor training, yoga, light jogging and CrossFit, can only be fueled with meals or snacks before and after your workout. You don’t need anything but water during your workout.

People who do longer endurance exercises, such as running or cycling for 60-90 minutes or more, benefit greatly from mid-workout fuel. It may delay the onset of fatigue and improve performance, according to decades of scientific research on exercise.

After the first 60 minutes, you should be eating 30-60 grams of carbs per hour.

Best things to eat after a workout

Most people who exercise moderately for an hour or less do not need a specific recovery food if they are going to eat a snack or meal containing a mixture of carbohydrates and proteins in the few hours following their workout session. But athletes should pay more attention to what they eat after exercise.

Recovery nutrition tends to be greater after intense endurance or strength training (eg, a 90-minute bike ride or weightlifting session). Or when an athlete trains multiple times in the same day.

In these cases, the ideal situation is to eat proteins and carbohydrates within an hour of your workout. This time right after a workout is the time when your body is most efficient at using the protein you eat to build new muscle and prevent your existing muscle from breaking down. Your body may also need additional carbohydrates to restore levels of glycogen (a type of carbohydrate stored in muscle). This helps fuel future workouts.

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