Eating before or after exercise to lose weight

When exercising is it best eating before or after exercise to lose weight?  Just as important as eating the right foods is eating the right amount.  Remember weight loss is about burning off more calories that you ingest.  You do not want to undo your hard physical work.  What should you be eating?

Eating before Exercise

A meta analysis published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” in February 2011 concluded that you will burn about the same amount of fat whether you ate before or after the session.  If you don’t eat, your body is more likely to burn muscle in addition to fat.  And your intensity is reduced.  Regularly burning off muscle can lower your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight.  You may be able to exercise harder and for a longer period if you consume carbohydrate before exercise. This can result in greater energy use and create a negative energy balance that is needed to cause fat loss.

A snack is in order for early morning or after work exercise if you haven’t eaten for several hours. A snack of 100 to 200 calories will do. Aim for a food that is mostly carbohydrates with a little high-quality protein. The snack will keep you from feeling weak.  It can also possibly curb nausea that sometimes happens when you exercise on an empty stomach.  You should wait at least one to two hours after a light snack before exercising.

What to eat before exercise

Eating before a workout can provide energy for your exercise session. There’s no one meal that you need to eat before working out. Instead, focus on these 5 things:

  • Low fat
  • Moderate in carbs and protein
  • Low fiber
  • Includes fluids
  • Made up of familiar foods that you tolerate well

Eating after Exercise

Right after a workout, your muscles are open to nutrition. They absorb carbohydrates readily to replace lost glycogen.  Energy stored in your muscles, as well as protein to help repair tissue you break down while working out. When you refill your energy stores, you can maximise your next exercise session.  Supporting muscle repair encourages their growth, which boosts your metabolism in the long run.

You should aim to eat something within an hour of finishing your session. Combinations that include protein and carbohydrates are ideal.  If you time your workout well, your post-workout snack can double as a meal so you maximize your nutrition while minimizing calorie intake.

What to eat after exercise

Protein shakes are favourites among experienced exercisers.  They will provide your body with protein. The protein  is absorbed quickly in the body and will repair and rebuild muscle tissue.  If you’re trying to lose weight, then it’s best to find a low-sugar, high-protein powder.  To conserve on calories mix your protein powder with water.

You can promote weight loss by eating before and or after exercise.  You need to take into account your total energy intake versus output for the day.  For those early morning exercises, it might not sit well in your stomach, so start with small snacks initially.  But as you can see from above that doesn’t mean you are going to lose out.

Remember, a health outcome should be your number one priority, rather than focusing solely on body weight. Maintaining realistic healthy lifestyle changes will be better for your overall health and you are more likely to lose weight and keep it off in the long-term.