Eating Healthy

Question

Should I eat before or after I exercise?

Submitted by Anien Botha on 12 April 2013

Answer

Fuelling your body before a workout
When you wake up in the morning you start the day off hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar) as you haven’t eaten for up to 10 hours. Training on an empty stomach in this state means your workouts are fuelled by the glycogen stored in your muscles as well as your body’s own lean muscle mass. The purpose of training should be to increase lean muscle mass to improve your metabolism, so morning training on an empty stomach would be counteracting this process.

Although you shouldn’t be running on empty, you don’t necessarily want a lot of food in your stomach either. The best time to work out is two to four hours after eating, depending on how large a meal you’ve eaten. If you work out first thing in the morning, a piece of fruit or a vegetable juice is an ideal pre-workout snack.

Fuelling your body after a workout
To allow your body optimum recovery, you need a snack or meal containing carbohydrates and protein within two hours of exercising. Straight after exercise, blood flow is still increased to working muscle. Supplying immediate sources of protein and carbohydrates to the body begins the repairing, rebuilding and refueling phases your body needs to avoid the breaking down of precious muscle mass.

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