This is a question that many exercisers struggle with: Is it better to eat before exercise or after? The reality is that there is benefit to both options.
If you eat before you exercise, like 2-4 hours before, then your body has access to a variety of nutrients necessary to help it complete the workout as optimally as possible. Plus, snacking on some high quality protein provides much-needed energy while taking in a few complex carbs can give you what you need to sustain a longer exercise session.
However, eating after exercise is a great idea in a couple of different scenarios as well. For instance, if you’re lifting weights, your body benefits from protein when consumed within 30-60 minutes post-workout. This could be by way of nuts, meat, or a protein supplement as all three can help supply your body with the nutrients it needs to help your muscles heal.
And if you’re engaged in long bouts of exercise, such as running a marathon or competing in a triathlon, then you want to replace the sodium your body has lost right after the event is complete by eating something salty. Protein bars are good for this purpose, as are trail mix and other higher sodium healthier food options.
Ultimately, you need to listen to your body and let it guide you as to what is best for you. Try eating both before and after different exercises and take note of how you feel. Pay attention to what time you ate, how much you ate, what you ate, and how long before or after exercise you ate as each one of these factors can affect how well your body handles the pre- or post-exercise meal or snack.
When do you eat? Is it before or after your exercise session and why?