Whether you’re exercising for the first time or just reevaluating an old fitness routine, you’ve probably wondered how your mealtimes affect your workout. If you’re not sure whether it’s best to hit the gym on an empty stomach or fuel up your body with the right food, there are a few key factors to consider. 

More than anything else, how you should schedule your meals and exercise is based on personal preference. There is no one best way to plan your meal times — it really depends on your own fitness goals, as well as your body and health. However, there are some guidelines that may be helpful to follow.

Some fitness professionals, like Gold’s Gym registered dietician Kritikaa Agnani, are adamant about going to the gym with something in your stomach — as long as you’ve given your body enough time to digest. 

“It’s best to eat one to three hours before a workout,” she told The Active Times via email. “Research shows that fueling before exercise improves performance and aids in muscle building.” 

Studies have shown that eating before exercising helps your body endure longer aerobic workouts, such as cycling, stair climbing and elliptical exercise. Agnani believes that fasting before any workout can do more than hinder your performance. She says exercising without eating first may sabotage your whole workout.

Although eating a full meal several hours before your workout may have some benefits, those who exercise in the morning may not have this kind of time. 

Some people believe that fasted workouts are more effective at burning fat, and would advise that you don’t eat anything before a workout.

“Eating after your workout is important, as muscle repair continues,” she wrote. “We know protein is important for muscle repair, but post-workout carbohydrates are just as important to help protein do its job.” Choosing the right post-workout food should be an important part of your fitness routine. 

Source:The Active Times 

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