Is Eating Before or After a Workout Better?

There's a lot to a good workout than just showing up at the gym and putting in the work. In fact, most athletes will say the main work starts before you even show up at the gym and includes everything from drinking enough water to eating the right foods to properly fuel your body. For many fitness lovers, you may be wondering, is it good to eat before or after a workout? This is a big question, especially since some people like to get up first thing in the morning and workout, which could make eating ahead of time difficult or require an even earlier wake up time.

Eat Breakfast

Exercise and nutrition do go hand in hand, so it's important that you fuel your body before a workout. We're sorry for anyone who likes to get up first thing and knock out the workout, you'll need to eat a healthy breakfast about an hour before your workout, so you may find yourself needing to get up earlier than you expected. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that eating or drinking carbohydrates before exercise can improve your workout performance and allow you to work out for a longer time and intensity.

Have a Snack

If you prefer to workout more in the evenings, you have a bit of a leg up in that you've most likely eaten breakfast and lunch already, but you do need to ensure that you are snacking. You don't want to eat a large meal before a workout because it can make you feel sluggish and too full to properly do the workout. However, you do need to make sure to have a small meal or a snack about an hour before your workout to ensure that you have enough energy to get through the workout.

Snack Well

There's more to having a snack than just grabbing a cookie and calling it a day. While cookies and other sweets are delicious, they are not good for snacking before a workout. Instead, make sure you that you choose a healthy snack option before your workout, such as an energy bar, yogurt, an apple, a protein shake or even a peanut butter sandwich. Think healthy and filling, without overfilling.

Eat After Too

That's right, you actually need to eat before and after exercising. Before gives you the energy to get through the workout, after gives you the protein your body needs to repair those muscles you worked. When you eat after a workout, you need to eat around 30 minutes after the workout and want to go for something high protein, so a protein shake or smoothie is a great idea, as is a peanut butter sandwich, or a lean meat with vegetables for dinner if you workout in the afternoon.