Should I Eat Before Or After A Workout?

Posted December 5, 2018

In this article from Greatest – this topic is discussed, and the conclusion often is “well, it depends”. There are many variables that come into play – and every body is different… as a matter of fact – your body changes every day! So it is no wonder that there are so many questions.

Coach Parker Condit discusses pre and post workout fueling. Join him at TAC Fitness and the TAC Performance Center to reach new levels of wellness!

Question: Is it better to eat before or after a workout?

Coach Parker: So much of this comes down to self-awareness and testing out various scenarios and seeing which one works best for you. There are a handful of variables to look at when it comes to fueling and exercise. Choose one variable to isolate and test, then keep as many of the other variables the same.

-Previous Nights Sleep (Hours/Quality)

-Duration/Intensity of Exercise (Minutes/1-10 Scale Intensity)

-Time of Day You Exercise

-Eating Before Exercise (Approximate Calories/Approximate Macros)

-How long before exercise did you eat?

Question: Should you exercise after fasting?

Coach Parker: A relatively fit person will have between 1200-1600 calories stored as glycogen in their body. Even a 60 minute high intensity workout won’t burn that many calories (probably more in the 600-900 calorie range), so most people have enough fuel for any sort of 60 minute workout. Just because it’s available, doesn’t mean it’s the best for you. Again, people need to test out various scenarios and see what feels best and yields the best results.

As far as my own experience – working out fasted is not ideal for me personally, but when I do, I try to consume 10g BCAA prior to working out. This helps me avoid mid-workout fatigue and reduces recovery time, but it’s worth noting that recovery is slower when I work out fasted.

Question: When should you eat after working out?

Coach Parker: Try to get something in your body within 30 minutes of completing your workout. The article provides a time frame of 30 – 120 minutes, but that does not take into account the length of your time your body needs to process the food you consume so the sooner the better. Consuming a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein is a good starting spot for most people. The easiest thing to do is consume a shake post workout since you can pre-load the protein/carb powder into a blender bottle and then just add water when you’re finished. That way you don’t have to worry about meal prepping or rushing to get food right after you workout. 40 grams of carbohydrate and 20 grams of protein will only yield 240 calories, so you will want to eat some whole food at some point to make up that caloric deficit.

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