SHOULD I EAT BEFORE OR AFTER A WORKOUT TO LOSE WEIGHT?
Time to read 4 min
Time to read 4 min
Not getting the results you want at the gym? That may be because you’re not taking care of your diet. What you eat before you train and what you eat in the aftermath are both decisive factors in how you will perform, recover and target your weight goals.
If you’re not eating right, you’re going to struggle to lose weight.
It’s not enough to just train hard. You need to compliment your performance with a healthy and varied diet if you want to lose weight and achieve your body goals.
Consuming real foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals is crucial, as processed foods are low in micronutrients and can slow down weight loss in a number of ways. A meal that is high in micronutrients will make you feel fuller, despite containing fewer calories.
Real foods are high in protein, which is the most important nutrient for weight loss. Real foods are nutritious and easy to add to your diet, and include things like:
Simply replacing processed foods with real foods can vastly rejuvenate your health and support your weight goals (Raman, R. 2017).
We know this is a hard one, especially if you train early in the morning, but eating before you train can vastly improve your results as you work towards achieving your weight goals. A pre-workout snack or a meal with easy-to-burn carbohydrates can improve your performance while increasing the number of calories you burn (Krouse, L. 2021).
If you’re showing up to the gym at 7 am on an empty stomach, there is a higher risk that you will experience ‘bonking’ (Bonking is a real word). Bonking occurs when your body becomes depleted of glycogen to the point that you can no longer supply your muscles with the fuel to produce energy or maintain your blood sugar levels (Blow, A. 2022).
The bottom line? Eat before you train.
Best food before a workout
It’s not enough to just eat before a workout; you need to make sure you’re eating the right foods to help you improve your chances of hitting your weight goals.
To give yourself the best circumstances to attack your weight goals, it is imperative that you fuel yourself with whole, minimally processed carbohydrate and protein foods, especially if you’re training early in the morning. These foods can look like:
Whole grain toast
Despite what most people think, consuming fewer calories before you train won’t give you better results and may actually slow your progress (Davidson, K. 2021).
If you don’t workout in the morning and prefer to train later in the day, then you will want your pre-workout meal to be rich in carbohydrates. This is because your body converts stored up glycogen to give you energy while you train. When you have enough carbs to fuel you while you work out, you will be able to exercise harder for longer, which is beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight (Khosla, S. 2017).
Best time to eat before a workout
The timing of your meals matter.
To increase your energy heading into a workout, you should consume complex carbs 2-3 hours before you train, or any simple carbs 30-60 minutes before you train. Complex carbs include things like pasta, beans, brown rice and oats, while simpler carbs are found in bananas and other fruits (Johnson, J. 2018).
Eating after a Workout
A heavy session at the gym is going to leave your worn out and low on energy, that is why it is vital that you get the right nutrition after a workout to ensure that your energy levels are replenished (Barhum, L. 2022).
Best food after a workout
Just like before you train, the foods you eat afterwards are critical in helping you lose weight. Skip the KFC and avoid any oily, fatty, fried foods after you train.
First things first, hydrate. Drink plenty of water during and after training to ensure you replenish the electrolytes that are lost in sweat while you exercise.
After that, get some dairy protein into you. Dairy protein can stimulate muscle protein synthesis which can aid your recovery. Cottage cheese, greek yoghurt and kefir are all options that can support your cell growth and repair (HealthMatch. 2022).
Getting a healthy mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats into your system after a workout is essential in aiding your recovery and supporting your weight goals. Some of these foods include:
Best time to eat after a workout
The best time to eat after training is within 2 hours. This can help you restore your energy and support your recovery (Barhum, L. 2022).
To be as concise as possible: what you eat before and after you train matters and how soon you eat before and after training matters.
As good as it may feel to work up a sweat in the gym, you’re not going to be able to lose weight if you’re not also taking care of what you eat before and after a session.
If you want more information on how your diet can impact your training, and which supplements can optimise your results if you’re unable to consistently follow a high-micronutrient diet, our friendly team can help you online or in-store at one of our 32 Australian stores.
Raman, R. 2017, ‘11 Reasons Why Real Foods Help You Lose Weight’, Healthline, accessed 18 November 2022, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/real-foods-and-weight-loss>
Krouse, L. 2021, ‘Experts Debate: Is Eating Before or After a Workout Better For Weight Loss?’ My Fitness Pal, accessed 18 November 2022, https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/experts-debate-is-eating-before-or-after-a-workout-better-for-weight-loss/#:~:text=While%20both%20pre%2D%20and%20post,how%20many%20calories%20you%20burn
Blow, A. 2022, ‘What happens when you ‘bonk’? (And how to avoid it!)’ Precision Fuel & Hydration, accessed 18 November 2022, https://www.precisionhydration.com/performance-advice/nutrition/how-to-avoid-bonks-hunger-flats-hunger-knocks/#:~:text=at%20that%20point.-,The%20science%20of%20%27bonking%27,maintain%20your%20blood%20glucose%20levels
Davidson, K. 2021, ‘What Should You Eat Before a Morning Workout? Healthline, accessed 18 November 2022, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-to-eat-before-morning-workout
Khosla, S. 2017, ‘Best Pre-Work Out Foods For Weight Loss: Top 5 Things To Eat Before Gym To Burn Fat Faster!’ India.com, accessed 18 November 2022, https://www.india.com/lifestyle/best-pre-work-out-foods-for-weight-loss-top-5-things-to-eat-before-gym-to-burn-fat-faster-1775777/
Johnson, J. 2018, ‘What to eat before a workout to lose weight and build muscle’, Medical News Today, accessed 18 November 2022, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322963
Barhum, L. 2022, ‘What should you eat after working out? Medical News Today, accessed 18 November 2022, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322692
HealthMatch. 2022, ‘What To Eat After Workout To Lose Weight - Foods To Eat And Avoid Post-Workout’, accessed 18 November 2022, https://healthmatch.io/weight-management/what-to-eat-after-workout-to-lose-weight#overview