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Good Question: Is It Better To Eat Before Or After A Workout?

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
Heather Brown loves to put her innate curiosity to work to answer yo...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – With 2013 right around the corner, people are starting to think about their resolutions. A popular one is always getting in shape.

That said: It’s the perfect time of year to ask: Is it better to eat before or after your workout?

“I usually eat a little bit or otherwise I get a little passy-outy,” said one exerciser at Lifetime Fitness.

According to Life Time Fitness certified nutritionist Nick Rivard, it’s better not to eat much before you work out.

“Ideally, you [should] exercise in a fasted state, but I’d only recommend that first thing in the morning,” he said.

He added: “We can tap into our fat stores much more efficiently. If you eat a bunch of carbohydrates right before you work out, you’re going to be using those for fuel, as opposed to weaning off the body.”

He recommends eating nothing within two hours of working out if you choose to exercise later in the day.

“Unless it’s a more intense workout, then you need carbs for fuel,” Rivard said.

The nutrition literature on the before meal is mixed. The Mayo Clinic suggests a small snack of carbs and protein an hour before exercising.

Katie Sutherland, of Higher Power Training, says there are tons of opinions on the topic.

Her is advise is: “Listen to your body and do what feels right.”

As for the after meal, there’s plenty of agreement. Rivard says your body needs to repair and restore itself right away.

“Right after [eating] would be ideal, because your body is primed to take up all those nutrients in the muscles you’ve used,” he said.

He recommends a protein/vegetable mixture within two hours after a workout.

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