Should I Eat Before I Workout?

This question has been asked over and over and many times the answer is different. It has even been different at different times in my own health and fitness journey. Why? The quick answer is that this depends on you. Just as our goals change throughout our journey, so does the way we approach our fitness regimen.

 

Fasted Cardio

This is the concept that you perform a high intensity cardio workout after fasting, so not eating for an extended period of time. Typically this is an early morning workout completed prior to any consumption of food. It aids in quick fat loss and is good for those people with an excess of weight to lose or those trying to significantly lean out for some sort of competition or transformation goal.

I actually have lived for a long time doing this type of workout. I found that it was really important to have had a good solid meal chuck full of protein the night before though. If I hadn’t fueled well the night before my workout would tend to be lack luster and I even bonked! The intensity of your workout matters with this too. As I started doing higher level cardio work, like Insanity and Asylum, I found that I need something small to eat to keep my body functioning well.

 

Nutrient Timing

This is a fancy way of saying that you should plan when and what you eat around a special schedule designed for your goals. It has a bit of controversy surrounding it due to lack of true “evidence” to support the theory. Basically it says that you have a specific time frame prior to and after your workout in which your body is greedy and absorbs nutrients efficiently to support your specific goal. It has been popular with elite athletes, endurance athletes, and fitness/bodybuilding competitors.

 

But what about those of us who are just trying to make healthier choices, move our bodies more, and generally improve our health and fitness? The good news is that we’re all different! J So, there is no simple one shot answer. I hope you are starting to see that our health and fitness journeys are personal and specific to our own bodies. While that makes it a tad difficult to give out a basic statement about eating before working out, it also gives you a lot of freedom. If your body feels like it needs more fuel when you workout first thing in the morning, then eat about an hour before you do. If your body works really well, and the thought of eating before a workout makes you slightly nauseous, then I would avoid it and make sure to eat well after! Experiment with what and when you eat and see how your body responds the best, then choose that way of eating.

Heather Dubay