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Should You Eat Before A Workout Or Stay Hungry?

Should You Eat Before A Workout Or Stay Hungry?
Conor O'Leary
By Conor O'Leary
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We've all been there. On our way to the gym or about to go for a run, when the hunger pang strikes. Do we eat something now and have that horrible full stomach feeling when exercising? Or is it better to wait, and feel hungry and weak after exercise?

This was the question that Elite Daily put to three health and nutrition experts, and here's what they found:

Make Sure You Eat Enough Throughout The Day

This does make sense. Experts always seem to suggest that we eat a little but often - instead of the three meals most of us are used to. If you ever get to the point that you feel hungry, then you aren't eating often enough.

The general idea is to eat small meals once ever four hours or so, and running on an empty stomach is dangerous. Body Conceptions founder Mahri Relin told Elite Daily:

Having a snack before a high-intensity workout is definitely recommended if you haven’t had a meal or snack for a while.

You need enough energy to get through the workout, and you risk getting injured or working below your peak abilities if you lack sufficient energy stores.


It doesn't matter what time of the day you prefer to exercise, eat something beforehand.


If You Have To Eat - Think Carbohydrates And Protein

But, that doesn't mean you should go out and have a big roast dinner before a run. What you are eating before the workout is very important.

The best foods to snack on pre-workout are carbohydrates. Lisa Hayim is a nutritionist of The Well Necessities, and she says:

I beg you to give carbohydrates another chance! They have wrongly been accused of causing ‘weight gain’ but are actually essential for any athlete!

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends fueling with a mixture of a high carbohydrate food with a food moderate in protein and low in fat, while minimizing fiber to prevent stomach discomfort during exercise.

In layman's terms, foods that have the suitable amount of protein and carbs include:

  • 100g of oatmeal with 100g of berries
  • Greek yogurt with honey
  • Two ounces of turkey with half a cup of fruit

Avoid Fat

Science does say that having the right kind of fat is crucial to a healthy diet, but eating it right before a workout is the WRONG time to do so. Good fatty foods like peanut butter on toast should be saved for after your workout, because they take a long time to break down. This means it could make you feel nauseous as you exercise.


[Elite Daily]

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