View Full Version : Should you eat BEFORE working out??

06-27-2004, 09:03 AM
If so, what and how long before you start? Also, what should you eat AFTER and how long after?

06-27-2004, 09:46 AM
I eat lunch a couple hours before I work out. My meals usually come in three hour intervals, so I plan my workout an our before a meal. That way, whatever I ate in the meal before has had two hours to digest and I can eat immediately after working out. The post-workout meal should come within 30 minutes of lifting. It should be high in protein, but also with enough simple carbs to replenish the depleted glycogen levels in your body. My post work out meal, which does not seem like much of a meal, consists of a high protein shake, dextrose, creatine, and glutamine. I try to shoot for about 3grams of dextrose per pound of body weight, or roughly 60gram. Protein is about 50 grams, or two scoops of powder. This is an excerpt from a good website about how/what/when to eat after exercise.

During the post-workout phase of training our bodies are in a hypoglycemic stage. Blood-sugar and insulin levels have drastically dropped. Immediately following exercise natural GH concentrations struggle to increase as insulin levels try to rebound from its current highly catabolic state.

A simple carbohydrate supplement combined with the post-workout window of opportunity will give immediate rise to blood glucose levels and cause a state of hyperglycemia. This will force a increase in the production of insulin! In other words simple carbohydrates will lay the smack down on cortisol production.
The newly increased quantity of insulin in the blood will drive much needed glucose (and amino acids) through the receptor sites in the muscle cell at an insane rate.
These elevated stages of blood glucose will begin causing further secretions of Growth Hormone, the key hormone responsible for producing Insulin Growth factor.
Why simple carbohydrates? Increased absorption rates, and an abruptly induced insulin burst. The faster you can get glucose into your bloodstream and muscles, the less protein destroyed and the more glycogen stored.
This is the one time of the day when you want to stay clear of complex carbs. Complex and fibrous carbs simply take way too long to digest and will not give optimal insulin release to offset muscle catabolism.
You also want to stay far away from any fat and fructose sources post-workout. Fructose will not replenish muscle glycogen but rather will replenish liver glycogen. Fat severely delays digestion because it metabolically requires so many more processes to break down.
Another vital key to post-workout nutrition is insulin sensitivity. Creating stronger insulin sensitivity is the primary way to get the most out of your post-workout simple carbohydrate intake.
Phase one:
Mix ...[ carbs and protein],
all mixed with 1 Liter of Water.
Shake all the ingredients well. (I personally like using a Tupperware cup for my shakes)
Scoop out and consume 5-10 grams of creatine, and consume along side the shake. I donít recommend mixing the creatine directly into the shake. Simply spoon it into your mouth and drink it down with your shake. Consume 1/2 of the shake in this immediately following your workout in this manner. After you have taken half the shake in, continue taking small sips of the shake.

Phase two:
15-20 minutes later
Scoop out and consume (again donít mix directly into the shake) 5-10 grams of L-Glutamine.
Now is the time to consume any anti oxidants with your shake. A high quality multi-vitamin will work well, or you can just take Vitamin C and/or E.
This combination of L-Glutamine and anti-oxidants will help to super charge your immune system after the beating it has just taken.
Continue sipping on your post-workout meal for the duration of the initial 45-60 minute period.
30 minutes after you have completely finished your post-workout meal eat a well balanced meal.
Protein synthesis is amplified by 50% post-workout but it can be elevated as high as 110% up to 24 hours post-training! So keep supplying nutrients to your body all day long for optimal gains, drink plenty of water, and adhere to the pre-sleep stack I described in the Z factor part one.
The main difference with the meals following your post-workout shake is to begin adding fat to your meal. Healthy fats have numerous benefits to the body builder.
Increased fat intakes are highly associated with a more positive nitrogen balance, and also work to increase insulin sensitivity!

The article is length, so I cannot post all of, but I hope you will get a better understanding.

06-27-2004, 11:35 AM
Redlinestar gave a good response and the article gives useful info. I think it also really depends on your body's individual needs, like how your body reacts and performs if and when you eat certain types of foods before you work out. I find it will give you more energy if you do eat before, especially some carbs or a little natural sugars (found in fruits and such). I run a lot and find that peanut butter is the best food I can use before a tough workout. If you don't want to eat anything after you work out, I suggest drinking your calories in forms of sports drinks or lemonade/orange juice. Don't always substitute these for water though. I personally eat something 1-2 hours before or 1-2 hours after I workout. Experiment and see how your body responds to different plans.

06-27-2004, 02:23 PM
I agree to eating before hand and including some good carbs. I have to disagree about post. If you do not eat within that half hour window after working out, your body will start to break down muscle in order to recovery from the energy deficit you have created through rigorous weight lifting (for running it might be different, I am unsure about that.) That is the time you need to stop the production of cortisol, get your blood sugar back up, start the production of insulin, and get nutrients to your muscles as quickly as possible. A sports drink will only give you a small amount of minerals and carbs that you have depleted your body of. I feel that the body absolutely needs a quick absorbing protein such as whey, and a quality carb source such as dextrose or maltodextrose. The two can be taken 50/50, but the benefits of this practice will help your body recovery and build much fast than letting it stay in a deficit for an hour or two.

06-27-2004, 02:38 PM
Thanks for the advice you guys.

One more question, If I work out first thing in the morning, is it ok to work out on an empty stomach? (I don't really have the time to eat, wait for it to settle and then work out coz I have to go to work afterwards)

BTW: I'm a girl and usually do about 40 minutes of step aerobics and about 20-30 minutes with weights and do lunges/squats/situps etc.

06-28-2004, 01:59 PM
no offence, but what NORMAL food or drink can I have half an hour after my workout?

i dont take any of these shakes etc....

i stick to normal food

06-28-2004, 02:30 PM
joquiero - I can't tell you if it's "ok" to workout on an empty stomach, but all I know is that I personally cannot do it first thing in the morning..unless I do it so early that I'm not awake enough to realize I'm hungry, haha. I would guess that you'd have more energy if you eat something before working out, but if it works for you and you feel fine doing it I would just make sure you eat something after you're finished. Sometimes if I run early in the morning, I'll set my alarm an hour or so beforehand, eat something, and go back to sleep for a little while, just so my body has something to work off of when I really get up. This is tough to do though, since I have to get up again later.

Hobbz - I stick to "normal" foods/drinks as well. The choice is up to you what to eat/drink after a workout..whether you want something light or heavy, depending on if you ate before or not, and what you're in the mood for. For me it also depends on what time of day it is, breakfast, lunch..I usually drink either water or gatorade afterward and eat some kind of fruit. I would just suggest eating something healthy that will replenish the energy you used up during the workout and will last in your system for a while.