To Eat Or Not To Eat Before A Workout

Written by Dr Asa Andrew

Do you skip meals hoping that the rumbling in your tummy will help burn more body fat? There has been much discussion about whether eating before a workout is beneficial for burning more fat and building a better body. New health research has found that an empty stomach before workouts may not burn so much fat after all. Studies were done where athletes ate about 150 calories one hour before a workout. Listen to this, their fat burning ability lasted for the remaining 24 hours! In the study, those that did not eat before a rigorous workout actually lost muscle and had less performance during the workout. For weight lifting and most sports, a small meal will help increase performance and accelerate body composition. There are some instances where having an empty stomach for moderate cardio exercise such as “steady state” treadmill, elliptical, or the stair climber can be beneficial for  empowering your health. The small meals before workouts are essential for maximizing your performance and results. I have attempted this throughout my fitness career and have found that eating an easily digestible protein and carbohydrate meal pre-workout will give you the most powerful results. It is important to make the meals contain protein and carbohydrate. Make sure not to use fats due to the slow digestion associated with them. There has been so much research on which methods are actually better. It is clear that “bracketing” your workouts with the right nutrition will lead to better muscle gains, fat-loss, and improved overall performance. 

Below I have listed some quick samples of what to eat one hour before your workout.

Sample Pre-Workout Meals

  • 1-2 scoops protein in water with 1 green banana
  • 6 oz plain organic greek yogurt with 1 orange
  • Gluten free muffin with tuna or turkey (no mayonnaise)
  • 1 Organic Protein Bar

The key in eating these snacks pre-workout is to eat about 45 minutes to 1 hour before the workout. Then make sure to follow up with a great post workout meal within 30 minutes from your last minute of sustained exercise. 

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Known as America’s Health Coach, Dr. Asa Andrew is a national best-selling author and host of the #1 Health Talk Radio Show in North America. In addition to his hit television series, Dr. Asa (@DrAsa) is a regular contributor to NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX and regarded as a healthcare leader in the field of lifestyle medicine.

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