Eating and exercise: Time it right to maximize your workout

Eating and exercise: Time it right to maximize your workout

Walk on threadmill
When you eat and what you eat can affect your performance and the way you feel while you’re exercising. Coordinate your meals, snacks and what you drink to make the most of your exercise routine. Eating a lot before exercise can slow you down.When you exercise after a large meal, you may feel sluggish or have an upset stomach, cramping and diarrhea. That’s because your muscles and your digestive system are competing with each other for energy resources. This is partly because your body is trying to do two things requiring blood supply and energy simultaneously — digesting the food you just ate and providing fuel to keep your muscles active.

Time it right: Before, during and after your workout

On the flip side, not eating before you exercise can be just as bad as eating too much. Low blood sugar levels that result from not eating can make you feel weak, faint or tired, and your mental abilities may be affected as well, making you slower to react. So what can you do?

To get the most from your workout, follow these guidelines

Eat a full breakfast Wake up early enough to eat a full breakfast. Most of the energy you got from dinner last night is used up by morning. Your blood sugar is low. If you don’t eat, you may feel sluggish or lightheaded while exercising. If you plan to exercise within an hour after breakfast, eat a smaller breakfast or drink something to raise your blood sugar, such as a sports drink.

Time your meals Eat large meals at least three to four hours before exercising. If you’re having a small meal, eat two to three hours before exercising.Most people can eat snacks right before and during exercise. The key is how you feel. Some people feel lightheaded during the first 10 to 15 minutes of their workout if they eat within the hour before exercise. Do what works best for you.
Don’t skip meals Skipping meals may cause low blood sugar, which can make you feel weak and lightheaded. If you’re short on time before your workout, and your choice is candy or nothing, eat the candy because it can improve your performance, compared with eating nothing. But keep in mind, all candy is high in sugar and low on nutrients, so a snack of yogurt and a banana would be a better choice.

Eat after your workout

  • To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores
  • Eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible.
  • Any foods with a lot of fat can be very difficult and slow to digest and remain in the stomach a long time.
  • They also will pull blood into the stomach to aid in digestion, which can cause cramping and discomfort.
  • Meats, doughnuts, fries, potato chips, and candy bars should be avoided in a pre-exercise meal.
  • Avoid high fat protein Peanut butter, red meat, and cheese, for example, take longer to digest and often add to feelings of fatigue
  • Eat for the duration of your workout If you are going to exercise for less than an hour, you’ll simply need foods that digest easily.
  • Choose high-carb, low fat foods, such as crackers, bagels, or bread.
  • If you are going to exercise for longer than an hour, choose carbohydrates that last longer, such as yogurt or a banana or a sports drink.

Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India.She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore.Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

2 Replies to “Eating and exercise: Time it right to maximize your workout”

  1. Hi,

    This one proved to be a great post for me. I go mountain biking which lasts for about 1.5 hours. It is bit strenuous and used to make me feel tired within first 20-25 mins.
    Last week I changed my diet according to this post. I ate fruits (banana, cherries, apple and grapes), one piece of bread, 2 egg whites and half cup milk about 40 mins before my biking.
    I remained very energized thoughout the 6mile trail. Not only that after biking, I went to gym and performed a light work out for 45mins. My energy levels were still normal for rest of the day.
    The following day I went for kayaking and I followed the same diet. I had similar experience. Most of my friends were tired at the end and I felt like I was on steroids. Its been never like this with me.

    keep the posts flowing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *