Should I eat before training?
Even if I’m trying to lose weight?
What if I train too early in the morning?
What about eating after training?
These are very important questions that most of us have asked at one time or another. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or just starting out with a training program, proper pre- and post-training nutrition can greatly impact your progress and results.
Eating before an intense training session is very important.
Coming into training without any fuel in the tank will not allow you to really push and get the most out of your session. Not eating before training can leave you feeling dizzy, nauseous and lethargic. Plus, you might actually be breaking down muscle during the workout if your body is searching for energy and you haven’t eaten anything. You should be eating a snack or meal that will help increase glycogen levels before your workout and help prevent catabolism (the breakdown of muscle tissue). A good pre-workout snack or meal would include carbohydrates and some protein. Carbs are broken down by your body as glucose and stored as glycogen, which you need to fuel your work out and feel energized and strong throughout the session. Protein is made up of amino acids, which your body uses to build muscle (among other things). During resistance training, you cause small tears in the muscle fibers, which then need to be rebuilt and repaired (using amino acids from protein) to build bigger, stronger muscles.
So, a good pre-workout snack or meal with carbs and protein is key, but when should you eat it? The best time to eat before training can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before your session. If you are training first thing in the morning, you may only have time for a quick snack, so this should be something easy to digest (like some natural yogurt and a piece of fruit) about 30 minutes before training. If you are training in the afternoon or evening, however, you should have a larger meal (like chicken breast with rice and roasted veggies) 1 to 2 hours before training.