Eat before or after am workout

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  • BrightEyedAgain
    BrightEyedAgain Posts: 257 Member
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    I find I need to eat something before a workout and let it digest some beforehand. That's one reason I rarely workout early in the morning. I can get by with some trail mix if I absolutely HAVE to, but it won't be my best (or longest) workout. If I try to push too hard on an empty stomach, I end up dizzy on the floor. Very embarrassing and uncomfortable. I learned this the hard way when I almost passed out in the middle of a PT session and had to sit in a chair while the training staff made me a milkshake and made sure I was okay to drive home. Really, REALLY don't want to ever go through that again, so now I make sure to eat enough. But, as everyone has said, you have to find what works best for you. Just be careful if you try a fasted workout and stop if you get light-headed!! Believe me, it's not fun if you don't.
  • ccrdragon
    ccrdragon Posts: 3,371 Member
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    Hi there I am just starting out and want to use my treadmill a few times a day is it more beneficial to eat before or after breakfast

    You should consider your food as "fuel" for your workout. Should you work out on an empty stomach? That's a very subjective issue. Can a power lifter exercise with an empty tank? Can a CrossFit athlete to complex Olympic lifts with nothing in the tank? Depends on your workout and the intensity. That's a good place to start.

    Nope - unless you are running marathons or doing Iron man competitions every day. As previously stated, you will be using body stores (both glycogen and fat) more than you will be using the half-digested food that is in your stomach and intestines.

    A very good layout of how this works can be found here: (note - some language in this, so you are warned)
    https://physiqonomics.com/fasted-training/

    The above article also contains links to all of the studies that are referenced in the text of the article.

    Of specific note, I would recommend the sections in the bottom third of the article where he talks about the concerns around fasted training, like this little tidbit:

    'In a study by Tesch et al., nine bodybuilders performed five sets of front squats, back squats, leg presses, and leg extensions to failure. After these poor souls went through squat hell and back, the researchers took biopsies of the muscles and compared them with the biopsies from before the squat-fest.

    Muscle glycogen had reduced by 26%.'

    So even killing yourself in the gym doesn't deplete the onboard energy stores...
  • IheartPGH
    IheartPGH Posts: 39 Member
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    heybales wrote: »
    Hi there I am just starting out and want to use my treadmill a few times a day is it more beneficial to eat before or after breakfast

    You should consider your food as "fuel" for your workout. Should you work out on an empty stomach? That's a very subjective issue. Can a power lifter exercise with an empty tank? Can a CrossFit athlete to complex Olympic lifts with nothing in the tank? Depends on your workout and the intensity. That's a good place to start.

    Well - since you don't literally have to only use what's in your stomach or as you say tank - which is actually not going to supply the required demands fast enough - your workout can easily rely on store glycogen in liver and muscles, and likely plenty of fat available - that's the actual tank that's available.

    If you ate the prior night and then were very active until bed - you could easily deplete a lot of the liver tank and be feeling the effects of low blood sugar the next morning.

    So perhaps eat more food after being active so it stays topped off and available by the next morning.

    Just sleeping barely touches that tank and would leave plenty available unless doing an early day IF routine and stop eating say 2-3 pm and just active rest the day.

    But indeed food is fuel - but you can fill the real tank which of course is then available much later for usage.

    Which is exactly why I said it's subjective. Thank you for proving my point. How about this: If you work out on an empty stomach, and you become nauseous, etc, have something appropriate. If it doesn't bother you, or you prefer not to, don't. This doesn't have to be an enormous debate or argument, folks.
  • IheartPGH
    IheartPGH Posts: 39 Member
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    ccrdragon wrote: »
    Hi there I am just starting out and want to use my treadmill a few times a day is it more beneficial to eat before or after breakfast

    You should consider your food as "fuel" for your workout. Should you work out on an empty stomach? That's a very subjective issue. Can a power lifter exercise with an empty tank? Can a CrossFit athlete to complex Olympic lifts with nothing in the tank? Depends on your workout and the intensity. That's a good place to start.

    Nope - unless you are running marathons or doing Iron man competitions every day. As previously stated, you will be using body stores (both glycogen and fat) more than you will be using the half-digested food that is in your stomach and intestines.

    A very good layout of how this works can be found here: (note - some language in this, so you are warned)
    https://physiqonomics.com/fasted-training/

    The above article also contains links to all of the studies that are referenced in the text of the article.

    Of specific note, I would recommend the sections in the bottom third of the article where he talks about the concerns around fasted training, like this little tidbit:

    'In a study by Tesch et al., nine bodybuilders performed five sets of front squats, back squats, leg presses, and leg extensions to failure. After these poor souls went through squat hell and back, the researchers took biopsies of the muscles and compared them with the biopsies from before the squat-fest.

    Muscle glycogen had reduced by 26%.'

    So even killing yourself in the gym doesn't deplete the onboard energy stores...

    Exactly. Which I why I stated that it's "subjective".
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
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    heybales wrote: »
    Hi there I am just starting out and want to use my treadmill a few times a day is it more beneficial to eat before or after breakfast

    You should consider your food as "fuel" for your workout. Should you work out on an empty stomach? That's a very subjective issue. Can a power lifter exercise with an empty tank? Can a CrossFit athlete to complex Olympic lifts with nothing in the tank? Depends on your workout and the intensity. That's a good place to start.

    Well - since you don't literally have to only use what's in your stomach or as you say tank - which is actually not going to supply the required demands fast enough - your workout can easily rely on store glycogen in liver and muscles, and likely plenty of fat available - that's the actual tank that's available.

    If you ate the prior night and then were very active until bed - you could easily deplete a lot of the liver tank and be feeling the effects of low blood sugar the next morning.

    So perhaps eat more food after being active so it stays topped off and available by the next morning.

    Just sleeping barely touches that tank and would leave plenty available unless doing an early day IF routine and stop eating say 2-3 pm and just active rest the day.

    But indeed food is fuel - but you can fill the real tank which of course is then available much later for usage.

    Which is exactly why I said it's subjective. Thank you for proving my point. How about this: If you work out on an empty stomach, and you become nauseous, etc, have something appropriate. If it doesn't bother you, or you prefer not to, don't. This doesn't have to be an enormous debate or argument, folks.

    Perhaps you meant to say it differently, and ccrdragon and I are responding to a miscommunication.

    But you seemed to say your tank for those workouts is your stomach and what you've eaten - that is non-subjectively false.
  • mrmota70
    mrmota70 Posts: 529 Member
    edited September 2021
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    I'd say no big meals before a workout. A lite meal like some yogurt with fresh fruit, cheese stick, cherries, watermelon. Hydrate accordingly. Don't chug a crap ton of water especially before doing stuff that will put strain on your stomach. I don't do bananas for some reason they are one of the very few foods that give me heart burn especially during a run. I mention this as we all may have those foods we like, but just don't do well for us when we workout. Like a few folks have said find what works for you. Starting with a lite snack to see you through a work out is better instead of having a full meal and you end up loosing said meal or it affects your work out by cutting it short or having to just stop...
  • JennBona
    JennBona Posts: 255 Member
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    I workout out first thing in a fasted state but I also have a late night snack before bed which is usually carbs the night before. Do what works for you experiment with both and see how you feel.
  • DawnGW26
    DawnGW26 Posts: 123 Member
    edited September 2021
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    I need to wait until after the morning workout to eat, because I might get sick or feel uncomfortable if I have anything beforehand. Even coffee... it makes my stomach feel like acid. So, just water for me.
    I should add, this is when I am running or going to a Crossfit or bootcamp style class. If I am just going on a leisurely paced walk, I can eat something light. Go with what works for you :smile:
  • WailingDusk
    WailingDusk Posts: 58 Member
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    After trying just about every method from fasting to carb loading, I find that eating slow carbohydrates an hour or two before working out gives me the best performance and energy. This depends on how early you plan on doing this. Like right when you wake up? (I would hate this). If I were doing cardio first thing in the morning, I wouldn't eat anything simply because eating something then working out right after would make me sick.
  • cherys
    cherys Posts: 387 Member
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    I prefer not to eat before a morning workout. But I do have a coffee and sometimes a shot glass of carrot juice to get started. i don't like eating before an evening workout either, which is not ideal, as after the class by the time I'm home and showered it's late and I don't like eating late either! But haven't worked out a solution to that one.
  • Philliesfan21
    Philliesfan21 Posts: 31 Member
    edited September 2021
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    AntoniaZ wrote: »
    Hi there I am just starting out and want to use my treadmill a few times a day is it more beneficial to eat before or after breakfast

    I have lost 126 pounds since June 2021.

    I seriously weight train in the a.m. three times a week. Before I do, I have two giant cups of strong coffee (half decaf) with 1/4 cup of soy milk in each. I can then power through. I eat a large hi-protein and fibre breakfast afterward.

    I do an indoor cycle 3-5 times a week, usually in the evening. I eat a large high-protein and fibre dinner afterward.

    The best time to synthesize protein and turn it into muscle is after your workout.

    Google "sarcopenia"

    That's a lot of weight to lose in three months.
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