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Is It Bad To Exercise After Eating? Let’s Find Out!

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Our Summary And Answer:

 

It’s not bad to exercise after eating. It takes the body anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to fully digest a meal depending on what and how much you’ve eaten. If you eat a large, heavy meal, your body will be working on digesting it longer than if you ate something smaller or lighter.

 

People often wonder if exercising after eating is a bad idea or will make them sick. The short answer is yes and no; many people believe that exercising after eating can cause nausea, cramping, vomiting, and lightheadedness.

 

However, this isn’t necessarily true for everyone! Some people feel just fine when working out on an empty stomach, while others may experience the above problems. I’m sure you’re wondering now what makes one person different than another? Well, let’s find out!

 

In this article, we’ll explore how your body reacts to exercising after eating and all of the factors which may affect this.

 

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How long do you need to wait to exercise after eating?

The duration you need to wait to exercise after eating depends on how long it takes your body to digest the food and rid itself of the waste. So the first thing we’re going to look at is insulin; high amounts of this substance cause your muscles to become more receptive towards absorbing glucose (sugar) from the blood, which will be used as fuel during your workout.

 

Insulin is released in response to eating; therefore, we want to give it enough time to break down and out of the system before exercising.

 

Also, insulin is a fat-storing hormone; when you’re exercising with high amounts of insulin in your bloodstream and working muscles that are sensitive towards it (because there’s not much to utilize as fuel), your body is more likely to store this excess glucose and fat in the muscles and under the skin.

 

For this reason, we want insulin levels to be at their lowest before we start exercising so that our bodies will use our stored fat for energy instead of the food we’ve just eaten. So now let’s talk about the two factors that you need to consider.

 

How Much You Ate

The first thing we need to consider is what and how much you’ve eaten. For example, if you’ve just scarfed down a massive plate of spaghetti and meatballs, it will take longer for your body to digest this meal than it would if you had a small bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.

 

Depending on its size and composition, it takes the body anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to fully digest a meal. So, if you feel fine after eating, there’s no need to wait longer than that before exercising.

 

However, if you’re feeling sluggish or nauseous after eating, I would suggest waiting anywhere between 2-3 hours before working out so your body can properly digest.

 

How Intense The Exercise Will Be

Another essential thing to consider is how intense your workout will be. The lower an exercise, the longer it takes for you to feel ready again. For example, if you have a low-level yoga session planned, you will probably want to give yourself at least 30 minutes before working out so that your body has time to cool down and relax.

 

If you’re planning on something more intense like weightlifting, I recommend waiting anywhere from 2-3 hours before starting your workout. This is mainly because you’ll most likely be lifting heavier weights and using your stabilizer muscles, both of which take longer for the body to recover from.

 

What Food To Eat Before Working Out

Now that you know how long to wait before working out after eating, it’s time to look at what types of food are best for you to eat before exercising.

 

#1 - Low-Glycemic Foods

These foods are ideal for eating before exercising. Low-glycemic foods take a long time for your body to digest and provide you with stable energy throughout your workout. Whole wheat bread, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grain bread, apples, bananas, grapes, green beans, carrots, and watermelon are all examples of low-glycemic foods.

 

#2 - High-Protein Foods

High protein foods take a very long time for your body to digest and also make you feel full longer, which is why it’s a good idea to eat these when you have a more extended period before exercising. Examples include beef or chicken with veggies, peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, and cottage cheese.

 

#3 - Healthy Fats

Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil take a while for your body to digest and also provide you with stable energy. To give yourself enough fuel throughout your workout, you can add these healthy fats too low glycemic or high protein meals.

 

#4 - Don't Drink Too Much Before Working Out

Drinking too much water or another caffeinated drink before exercising can make your body feel very jittery and unstable. On the other hand, you don’t want to feel like you’re about to jump out of your skin during your workout, so go easy on the liquids! Think 1-2 glasses of water max!

 

#5 - Don't Go Too Low On Carbs

If you’re planning on exercising within the next 2 hours, then try to avoid low-carb foods because these are not only really hard for your body to digest but also will leave you feeling very sluggish and tired if they contain sugar. If you don’t have a long time to wait before working out, go ahead and eat something with some carbs like oatmeal or a granola bar.

 

Tips To Make Exercise After Eating Feel Easier

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, here are some tips and tricks to make exercising after eating easier:

 

#1 - Allow For Extra Time

Suppose you’re planning on doing something more intense, like lifting weights or HIIT training. In that case, I recommend allowing yourself more time to exercise after eating so your body has time to recover. If you only have 30 minutes before starting your workout, then opt for something less intense like walking or jogging instead.

 

#2 - Stay Hydrated

Staying well-hydrated is always necessary for performing at your best during workouts! So don’t forget to drink plenty of water in between sets.

 

#3 - Listen To Your Body

If you’re the type of person who becomes nauseous or has difficulty breathing while working out, don’t push yourself to exercise right after eating. Instead, give your body some time to adjust and maybe try doing something less intense like yoga. The last thing you want is to feel sick during your workout!

 

#4 - Don't Overdo It

The best way to avoid feeling nauseous or dizzy from working out on a full stomach is by simply not overdoing it. Instead, make sure you’re engaging in healthy and safe exercises that aren’t going to put too much strain on your body. For example, if you don’t have time for a proper warm-up, opt for some dynamic stretching instead.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can eating right after a workout harm you?

After a workout, your muscles are broken down and therefore need repair. Your body’s primary fuel source during this period is glucose. Glucose comes from carbohydrate foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. So right after a workout, you want to consume carbohydrates that provide nutrients and blood sugar to rebuild the muscles and recover from the workout.

 

Why eating before a workout is better?

Eating before a workout is essential. It gives the body energy to perform at its optimal level during your workouts. Also, when you eat carbs or sugars with protein, this combination creates glycogen that enhances exercise performance and replenishes used-up glycogen for future uses.

 

Final Thoughts

Exercise is good for your body and having a healthy meal before working out can give you enough energy to perform at your best.

 

We hope this article was helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to let us know in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!

 

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