There is ample evidence of the importance of nutrition during exercise. from boosting performance to accelerating recovery. But it’s often confusing to know if it’s best to eat before or after exercise.
To answer this question, first think about what you are training for, as your goal may affect whether you eat early or not. Second, you need to consider the level you are at. The needs of an elite athlete differ from those of a beginner and likely affect the amount of energy needed from food – and even the number of meals you eat. Third, you need to think about what works for you. Some people do well when they exercise on an empty stomach, while for others the opposite is true.
Eating in advance
When we exercise, our bodies need energy. This energy is provided by fuel that is stored in our body (as carbohydrates in the liver and muscles or from fat stores) or from the food we eat. If exercise is demanding or if we exercise for a long time, we use more stored carbohydrates (called glycogen).
Research shows that carbohydrates in our diet play an important role in replenishing our glycogen stores between exercise sessions, as well as when consuming them before exercise.
So if you have some energy or are doing a longer or more demanding session, eating carbohydrate-rich foods – such as pasta, rice, cereals, or fruit – about three to four hours before exercise can help keep you energized. you have to go on.
There is also some evidence that the type of carbohydrate can help improve your metabolic response to exercise. While this may not necessarily affect performance, eating foods with a lower glycemic index (a food that causes a slower release of carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or whole grain bread) may better maintain energy and provide exercise benefits (such as less glycogen consumption) for some.
However, eating just before exercise may cause stomach upset, cramps, or nausea. Eating an easily digestible, carbohydrate-rich meal (such as blueberry porridge) about three hours before training can help you stay energized and improve the quality of your training, without necessarily leading to gut problems. Pre-refueling also helps maintain blood sugar levels during exercise, which can have a positive effect on performance.
If your goal is to build strength or muscle, evidence also suggests that consuming protein before exercise may improve your overall response to recovery. By providing the essential amino acids before they are needed, it can aid early recovery and can be important for those undertaking intense workouts.
On the other hand, recent studies have shown that fasting training – for example, in the morning before breakfast – can actually lead to positive adaptations related to fuel efficiency and fat burning.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you lose more weight, but it can optimize your fuel economy, which can be important for people training for a marathon, for example, to help delay fatigue. Exercising on an empty stomach can also have other health benefits, such as improving blood sugar levels and regulating hormones.
But if we think about the purpose of training, it all depends on how we recover and adapt to it. This is where nutrition has a role to play. Early research has shown the benefits of consuming carbohydrates after exercise to restore muscle glycogen. Not only does this affect our ability to train multiple times a week, helping our muscles recover faster, it also affects how well we perform.
Studies have also found that eating immediately after exercising (as opposed to waiting for several hours) can help maximize recovery, especially if a carbohydrate intake of about 1.3 grams per kilogram of body weight per hour is consumed within two to six hours. one hour short-term regeneration phase. It is good to know if you are doing another session that day or within eight hours.
If your exercise sessions are more staggered, early carbohydrate supplementation is less important as long as you strive to follow the suggested guidelines, which are around five to seven grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per day when moderately active.
But there’s also an overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to the importance of eating protein in recovery from exercise, both for maximizing muscle growth and for promoting glycogen replenishment (if protein is consumed with carbohydrates). Research also shows that if you are training later in the day, eating a small protein meal (such as a smoothie) at bedtime can also help with rapid recovery leading to muscle growth.
Before and after
Unless fasting training is performed for a specific reason (such as metabolic adaptation or personal preference), there appears to be clear benefits to eating before (and during) prolonged exercise. This could also apply to more trained athletes looking to gain a performance advantage. However, using nutrition for strategic recovery should be a must for those who are serious about maximizing their training.
But what about both? For resistance training such as weightlifting, studies show that consuming a combination of major carbohydrates, protein, and creatine immediately before and after training provided better gains in muscle mass and strength over ten weeks compared to consuming these nutrients outside of training.
While post-exercise eating is important for muscle building and recovery between workouts, pre-workout eating can be just as important for people who perform demanding or long workouts. But no matter what type of exercise you are exercising, it’s important to make sure you are eating enough carbohydrates, protein, and other key nutrients to keep you nourished.
This article was originally published in The Conversation by Justin Roberts at Anglia Ruskin University. Read the original article here.