Should I eat before going to the gym?

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Some of the questions that I find most frequently in the consultation are: how should a pre-workout meal be, if it is convenient to eat before training, or if it is better, to eat it afterward.

So, as I perceive some confusion with the matter, I have decided to write this article for those people who also have the same doubt. I hope you find it useful.

Can you exercise after eating?

First most frequent question: Is it bad to do sports after eating?

Well, the truth is that it is not recommended. The reason for this is a purely physiological question. When we finish eating the digestion process begins, if we do sports, it is likely that we are redirecting the blood to other parts of the body involved, thus withdrawing it from the stomach.

In other words, we can cause a digestion cut. This is not very common, however, it can happen. So, we can say that exercising after eating is dangerous.

How long must elapse from when we eat to start training?

The truth about this is that there is no written rule, it will depend on your metabolism and your own bodily sensations. I know people who feel unable to train after a short time after taking an intake, and others who do not even notice it.

The correct thing to do would be to wait between two and three hours since this is the time it takes for digestion to complete. However, I understand that this is sometimes difficult to do since we have a limited time.

The pre-workout snack

Yes, for example, I get home from work at 18, and at that time I have my pre-training snack, it is unfeasible to wait two to three hours to go to training. At least that’s how it is for many people. However, if my schedule allows it, I would consider doing it this way.

In these cases, I would recommend allowing at least half an hour to an hour to pass. In less than half an hour after a meal, we will most likely find ourselves at a peak in the glycemic index.

Is it really necessary to drink protein shakes to gain muscle mass?

When is it better to eat to lose weight?

People sometimes do this by inventing theories, drawing conclusions, and believing them. In this direction, one that I have found with some frequency consists in thinking that it is good to go to training as soon as you eat, because that way, you burn what you eat.

This has no scientific basis, in fact, it is the other way around. My perception on this matter is that for people who feel guilty about eating, doing sports immediately, serves as a compulsion to calm anxiety and remorse.

The reality is that to burn fat and lose weight more effectively, the ideal is that some time has passed since our last intake. I explain why:

Pre-workout meal: what happens?

When we eat, to a greater or lesser extent, we collect glycogen from carbohydrates. This implies that our glycemic index rises.

The glycemic index is the scale that calibrates the amount of glycogen in the blood that we have, that is, energy. After ingestion, part of that energy is used in the digestion process itself. When it ends, insulin enters to regulate these levels, adapting them to normal levels.

Running on an empty stomach

In some way, insulin acts as the judge in charge of determining how much energy or glycogen we need to get to everything.

What happens if we exercise as soon as we eat, is that we spend that energy in training instead of taking advantage of much of it naturally.

Talking about energy is talking about calories. So, we will be burning fewer calories if we exercise after an intake. Remember that what interests us to lose weight is to burn fat. We begin to burn fat when our blood glucose levels are relatively low, and the body understands that it is necessary to start using reserves.

Does fasting before training work?

As a consequence of what was stated in the previous paragraph, what many people do is a train on an empty stomach. The logic is simple: when we wake up we have spent many hours without having taken anything, so our glycemic indexes are low.

According to what I have explained to you before, if we exercise on an empty stomach, we would be burning a large amount of fat.

Although this is partly true, it also has its counterpoint. First of all, how dangerous it is to health, and the risk of causing us a hypoglycemic state. On the other hand, if we don’t have adequate energy levels, our performance will suffer. And this, in the long run, is not the best way to lose weight.

If what we want is to lose weight, it is best to find a balance between having energy and not training freshly eaten.

Is it bad to eat before exercising?

It depends on what and how much. Pre-workout meals are designed to obtain a lot of energy quickly, that is, they are fast-absorbing foods where digestion is also fast.

Eating a copious meal and immediately going to train can be dangerous, since we run the risk of suffering a digestion cut, for example.

What should I have a snack before going to the gym?

This is a question full of nuances, since what, depends on our type of training and objectives, what we should eat is different.

Pre-workout and sports nutrition

To train it is important that we have energy. Energy is provided by carbohydrates and to a certain extent, also by fats. However, a very important variable comes into play here: the absorption time of food

Not all carbohydrates have the same absorption time, that is, for us to understand, the time it takes for the food we eat to be translated into energy.

For example, liquid foods are fast-absorbing compared to solid foods. So, if what we want or need is a quick energy shot, this type of food is more interesting. It is the same with sugar.

Pre-workout foods

A healthy pre-workout food option if we need a quick energy boost could be, for example, a ripe banana.

Normally, nutritionists-dietitians recommend the use of whole-grain products. Enter other reasons, because these are slow absorption. That is, they dose the energy discharge throughout the day (for a number of hours). This implies what, they contribute to feeling satiated.

On the contrary, if we eat a plate of white pasta, it is possible that within an hour we will be hungry again.

At the end of the day, it is knowing how to play with the possibilities we have and being intelligent and strategic at all times. That is why it is so useful to go to a specialist’s consultation, instead of doing all this at our own risk and expense.

What about post-workout food?

When we finish training, two main things happen: our metabolism is very active, and the other is that an anabolic window of reconstruction or recovery opens.

Therefore, having a post-workout meal can be a very good idea. But I repeat, everything is based on our objectives. The ideal would be to consume some type of mineral salts to replace the micronutrients that we have lost during the oxidative stress process generated by physical exercise, and perhaps some protein intake that favors muscle recovery.

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