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Working Out After Eating : How Long Should You Wait?

working out after eating


If you've ever attempted to work out on an empty stomach, you know just how miserable it can be. Every rep feels like a grind, and you struggle to do even 75% of your normal cardio because you have too little carbohydrate stores readily available. Your body breaks down carbs and uses them as its preferred source of energy. Therefore little to no carb fuel means not enough energy for your body to function. For the best results, you should always aim to eat a carb-heavy pre-workout meal. Now that you know WHAT to eat, it's important to tackle why you're here and understand WHEN to eat it.

Naturally, you want your meal timing to be somewhere in between the range of hungry and full, while also providing your body with its nutritional needs to get you through your workout. To arrive at the best meal timing before exercise, you need to know how your body produces energy.

The foods you eat are broken down into macronutrients called protein, carbs, and fats. Each macronutrient digests at a different rate. Fat digests the slowest at about 6-8 hours, then protein at 3-4 hours, while carbohydrates digest the quickest at about 2-3 hours. To be clear, I don't mean the food is fully digested but absorbed enough to benefit your body nutritionally. Since carbs are mainly how your body energizes itself, it's safe to say that working out 2-3 hours after consuming a carb loaded meal is the sweet spot for an optimal workout.

Working out 2-3 hours after eating will leave you feeling neither sluggish nor starving, but just right.