Should You Eat Before or After Workout to Lose Weight?

When it comes to losing weight, it is essential to factor in exercise and appropriate dieting. Since you will need to adjust your diet to get your ultimate weight, it may be challenging to know whether to eat before or after a workout to lose weight.

But it would be best if you timed your pre and post-workout meal or snack. This is where your dietician may come in to ensure your dieting and exercising are in line with the changes that would accompany them.

However, this article will help you to go through the process religiously.

Eating Before Workout to Lose Weight

It does not matter if you eat before or after a workout. Nevertheless, having some calories in you during exercise is necessary. Eating a little meal before the exercise helps to fuel the workout. Your muscles need to be strong and at their full potential to function well.

However, knowing when to eat is as important as what to eat. You can eat a few hours before the workout to avoid indigestion during the workout. Including healthy carbs like grains, veggies, fruits, or nonfat milk or yogurt in your pre-workout meal is advisable. These energize you during workouts, offering your muscles nutrients to keep them going.

If you work out before breakfast, your meal could include oatmeal with sliced banana and chopped walnuts. We recommend vegetable soup, beans, an apple, low-fat cheese, and whole-grain crackers for an afternoon workout.

  • Alternate with a Snack

If your workout to lose weight happens early in the morning, which means you may have yet to eat before exercising, a quick pre-workout snack will be beneficial. Ensure the snack is low in fat, small-sized, and easily digestible.

In addition, eat foods that do not cause your blood sugar level to go high. The foods must have lower glycemic loads, such as oatmeal, plain yogurt, or whole grain. This will make you feel less tired, have more cognitive function, and have more energy after the exercise.

Another form of snack is a fruit smoothie with a tablespoon of nutty butter or a milkshake. These also help in retaining water in the body. Another alternative to this is low-fat Greek yogurt with diced apples or bananas. They are suitable for pre or post-workout to lose weight fuel.

Eating After Workout to lose weight

It is good to eat after a weight-loss workout and muscle-building. Include a little protein, carbohydrate, and fat in the post-exercise meal for a better outcome. Taking a glass of low-fat chocolate milk or a small snack will do. Remember, eating before or after a workout to lose weight is optional as long your body has enough calories to keep it going.

You can alternate it with whole-grain crackers with hummus or half a turkey sandwich. The follow-up meal helps to recover the lost energy during the workout while preserving muscle mass. Eating a balanced diet is the goal, so focusing on one nutrient won’t achieve that.

Healthy meals help you feed your body with the required nutrients, not only for the sake of the workout. According to the 2015-2020 ‌Dietary Guidelines for Americans, whole grains, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy should be part of your healthy and balanced meal.

  • Why Should You Work Out Fasted?

The body uses fat and carbohydrates for fuel during workouts to lose weight. It stores fats as triglycerides in fat tissues and carbs in the muscles and liver as glycogen (a molecule). The carbs are available for the workout in the form of blood sugar.

If you eat before a workout, the blood sugar in the body becomes higher before and during the exercise. The reason is that pre-workout meals usually contain carbs, which provide energy to the body.

But when working out on an empty stomach, the body’s energy needs are provided through the breakdown of body fat. The transaction between carbs and fat metabolism gives the body the natural ability to operate with or without meals.

  • Does Working Out Fasted Lead to a Higher Loss of Body Fat?

Although the body burns more fat when you fast, it does not lead to a higher fat loss at the end of the day. According to studies, there is a strong potential for the body to benefit from exercise if you fast, but the evidence is not much. Hence, eating before working out depends on your discretion.

In addition, not eating before any workout may hardly affect performance. Working out fasted or fed could produce identical results. As long as your body has a store of energy (around 2000 calories), you can work out for hours if you want to lose weight. But if it does not store much energy, you may need to eat a little before the exercise.

  • Is It Necessary to eat After a Workout If You Fasted?

Even though it is necessary to eat before a workout, if you feel like doing so, eating afterward is beneficial. Eating foods rich in protein and carbs helps you to replace lost energy. Undoubtedly, the food you eat before a workout can still be in significant amounts in the blood after the exercise, meaning you may not feel like eating. However, you may need to eat to recover lost energy.

If you choose to work out without eating, your body will utilize stored energy to keep you going. This means you need to eat something immediately after the workout. Knowing how soon to eat after exercise is another issue people deliberate on.

You don’t need to eat immediately after the exercise to lose weight. However, you can eat early enough to replenish your body for lost energy. Eating protein helps to repair your tissues and muscle, while carbs restore the glycogen stored.

should you eat before or after workout
Photo by Annushka Ahuja:

Personal Preference is Supreme

Although eating before or after a workout to lose weight does not make a difference, your preference matters. Eating before your workout may be necessary for long-duration exercise. But you will always make progress whether you eat before or after, as long as the food is the right choice.

Besides, some people feel nauseous or sluggish if they eat soon before the workout. Others feel exhausted quickly if they do not eat anything before working out.

Also, if you prefer exercising early in the morning, the duration between when you eat and when you exercise may affect your choice. Heading to the gym immediately you roll out of bed may make grabbing something to eat quickly impossible.

The less time you have between eating and workout, the smaller your pre-meal portion should be. The essence is ensuring you do not feel full and uncomfortable during the exercise.

As explained, your options should be between carbs and lean protein. Whether to eat before or after the workout to lose weight is solely your choice.

A final thought on Should You Eat Before or After Workout to Lose Weight

Eating before or after a workout to lose weight is a frequent issue for early-morning trainers. Your body may benefit from exercising without eating, as it utilizes its fat for fuel. However, this does not translate into losing massive weight.

While you are not obligated to eat before a workout, filling up within the period around the exercise (whether before or after) is crucial.

Hence, if you did not eat before the workout, try to eat soon after. Your preference remains the primary factor surrounding your decision.

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