Is It Better to Eat Before or After Exercise?

It’s an age old dilemma. Do I eat before a workout or after its over? The simple answer is you always eat AFTER working out. In fact, its best to work out at least 3 hours after your last meal. This makes morning the best time for most people since that is the most likely time they will not have eaten for at least 3 hours.

The reason this is the case is that the body prioritizes the digestion of food over almost all other metabolic processes.  So if a person eats a meal right before working out the body will shift massive amounts of blood to the stomach and intestines to digest and process the nutrients in the food. This reduces blood flow to the muscles being exercised which decreases the effectiveness of the workout.

Another thing to consider is that once a workout is competed its best to rest 20 minutes before eating so the body has time to shift back into a relaxed state.  This allows the body to digest the next meal with full efficiency once the food arrives and repair and replenish the muscle tissue and energy stores (called glycogen) in the muscles.

By making this simple shift you can increase the effectiveness of workouts for muscle gain, weight loss and increased energy.  I also recommend avoiding the often repeated but terrible advice to eat small meals every 2 hours because this causes the body to bounce back and forth between digestion and healing which tends to dramatically slow down energy production and lead to fatigue.



Austin EricksonAbout the Author

Dr. Austin Erickson is a chiropractor with offices in Glenwood City and the 4 Corners near New Richmond, Wisconsin. He is an expert at combining chiropractic treatment with nutritional advice to achieve excellent results. He has cured himself of psoriasis and autoimmune related arthritis using his protocols. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+


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