Few beginners questions!

Should I eat before or after a workout. Is it best to work out first thing in the morning? Also if I wanted to do a yoga video and full body video when should I do the yoga, first or last?


  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,116 Member
    Short answer: It depends.

    Longer answer:

    Meal timing doesn't really matter for the casual exerciser. Elite professional athletes, sure, but for regular schmoes like you and me, eat when it feels best for you. If you work out on an empty stomach and find yourself shaky and feeling bad afterward, perhaps a small snack beforehand would help (spoonful of peanut butter, or piece of fruit, or some toast, that kind of thing). I, personally, do my workouts fasted (empty stomach) and eat afterward, but that's what I've found works best for my personal body.

    Exercise timing also doesn't really matter for the average Joe - the best time to exercise is whenever you can, whenever it's easiest for you to fit exercise into your day, because it doesn't matter when you were planning to do your workout if you end up skipping it. If you're not currently accustomed to getting up early for the purpose of exercising, it's certainly something you can try, but there's no benefit to working out before sunrise that you wouldn't get doing the same exercise at any other time of day. I, personally, do most of my exercise first thing in the morning (which is usually 6 AM for me) - I started getting up at 6 AM for non-exercise-related reasons and realized I had a lot of time in the mornings that I could be spending doing something better for me than doomscrolling through Instagram, so I started working out at that time because that's when I had the time available. In the past, though, I would stop at the gym on my way home from work (~6:30 PM), or go back out late at night to get my workout in (8-10 PM). Just getting the movement in is more important than exactly when you do it, though.

    The order of exercises you do in a session matters a little bit - you want to do strength/balance-focused stuff before more intensive cardio; dynamic stretching is better as a warmup, static stretching is better as a cooldown. Cardio is tiring, it's harder to balance and maintain control of your muscles when you're tired, and that increases the risk of injury. I don't know what exactly the "full body" video you have in mind focuses on, if it's a strength, cardio, or combination routine, so I'd take my cues from the yoga video. If the yoga is meant to be energizing, or if it involves a lot of feats of strength and balance or complex flows, do that one first and let it be your warmup; if it's meant to be more relaxing, with mostly sitting or laying on the floor and holding poses for relatively long periods of time, that's a good cooldown, so do that second.
  • fatty2begone
    fatty2begone Posts: 223 Member
    This is a very individual thing. Some can eat right before exercise, some a light snack before exercise, and some no meal at least x hours before exercise.

    I can have a half of banana before run (just starting again) but when I was running regularly 1/2 banana and a cup of coffee before run was fine. Anything more than that side stitches and stomach cramps.

    Doing c25k now and its the same for me. If I eat before the run/walk series, the end result is not good. I have to time my workout to no meal 2 hours before. I also discovered that a milk product even if 2 hours prior is not good and has stomach issues for me.

    I know avid runners who can sit down have a full hamburger, milk shake right before their run and not a single issue. So this is highly an individual thing.
  • ecjim
    ecjim Posts: 959 Member
    I can't speak to yoga workouts , but with weight lifting / strength training you are better served if you have a protein/carb meal 1-2 hours prior to training. peri & post training nutrition , protein/ carb drink also helps with recovery & muscle growth. The benefit from nutrition timing is small for a casual lifter , more for a serious lifter. As to training morning or night - just do what ever works for you . it doesn't matter
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,622 Member
    Should I eat before or after a workout.
    Either, neither or both.
    For the casual exerciser whatever fits in your day and your eating schedule.
    For the exercise you describe I'm guessing any benefits from nutrition timing are likely to be microscopic.

    Is it best to work out first thing in the morning?
    Worst time for me, might be best time for you. There isn't a universal answer.
    What time of day are you most likely to be consistent with your exercise?

    Also if I wanted to do a yoga video and full body video when should I do the yoga, first or last?
    Which one is your fitness priority?
    How intense are either of these videos? ("Yoga" and "full body" have a huge range and no-one knows your fitness level.)
    Ask yourself how much would either of these impact your performance in the second session.