Dispelling the Myth of Whether to Eat Before Exercise

Written by: Chris Mitchell, Group Fitness Instructor @ O2 Fitness Brennan Station

True or False?

You burn more fat and increase metabolism when you exercise on an empty stomach.

FALSE!

We use the glucose from our food to fuel our bodies when we exercise (glycogen= carbohydrates broken down and stored in our liver and muscles).  Our bodies can’t store and use much glycogen at one time, so when we wake up in the morning our glycogen levels are down… Which means that  if we exercise without eating, we use up the small glycogen that’s on reserve, and then our bodies go right to using our muscle tissue for fuel.  This means we lose our hard earned muscle!

So, at least eat some healthy carbs before you go to workout.  Optimally, you should eat a combination of healthy carbs and protein about 1 to 1 1/2 hours before you exercise.  If you are only able to eat carbs before your workout, make sure to eat some protein immediately after exercise for muscle recovery.  If you’re working out longer than an hour, sip on a sports drink (but try to avoid high fructose corn syrup) and/or water.

And always remember that when you eat is as important as what you eat!!!!!!

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