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Workout, then eat? Eat, then workout? What is best???

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So I come home from work around 5:30 and I can't decide what to do first....

Should I workout, then come home and eat dinner, knowing that my metabolism will be boosted after working out, even though I probably won't have a lot of energy at the gym, and I'll be eating later than I really want to (after 8pm)?

OR- should I eat now, and go to the gym in an hour or so?  I've heard that working out so late in the day doesn't benefit you as much, because your metabolism is at it's slowest? 



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Personally, I find it works better for me to workout, then eat.  I just feel more sluggish after eating and honestly, less inspired to work out.  And, it so much easier, once you're home to just sit down and blow off the exercise.  Do it while you're on the roll of the day.

Our bodies work more "long term" really, so you won't see any particular weight loss benefits by only eating before work out either.  I think having more food in the system just slows me down.

Just my opinion of course.

I will usually eat before and after.  Before might just be a piece of fruit or a couple of fig newtons.  After I will drink my protien shake and then eat a regular light meal.  mmm....eating.

I tend to do the same as Agana... I'll have an orange or apple before the gym... if I'm starving I might do a protein shake or a small sandwich too.  Then I have a regular meal after I get back.

I'm with agana and xeonicus, I bring a banana that I eat on my way from work to the gym (and a small protein shake), and then have a protein shake and dinner afterwards.
Took your advice---had a little snack to tide me over before I went to the gym. I had a great workout- felt like I had lots of energy. I came home and had dinner, and it wasnt' that late after all- 7:30 maybe. Thanks all..

When I work out in the late afternoon, I don't eat beforehand.

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The trainer at my gym always recommends eatting after a work out.  Your body is still in burn mode so you can have a bigger meal.

i think you need to eat enough in the day before your workout, but not right before exercising. (eat a meal at least 1 ~ 2 hours before)... if you don't have sufficient energy, you'll probably find it exhausting to work out (getting a little dizzy, hungry, cold, etc.) you can eat energy bars, a banana, or drink some GU for a power up too. you definitely should eat after working out though. (:

I usually eat, digest for an hour, and then go at it. I can't workout with nothing in the tank! Eating while working out tends to take away from your body's ability to burn calories. Half of its attention is on digestion, so I avoid it. Even if it's a banana.

I like to work out first.  I have heard that exercise is a appitite suppressant, and in my expierience it has been.  I actually start making dinner right after my workout, and since it takes about an hour to prepare, it gives your body a chance to clam down, and not over do the portion size.  But don't starve yourself before your work out either. I have found that as long as I snack every two hours I don't really get hungry!


There are so many factors to consider that you don't spell out.  Whether you're doing a cardio workout (aerobic)  or doing resistance training (anaerobic), you need to be hydrated and your muscles should have plenty of glycogen stored up.  Glycogen are the carbs stored in your muscles and are the first souce of energy during anaerobic exercise such as weight training or sprinting.  But, even if you doing a purely aerobic exercise, say bicycling 1 hour at a moderate pace, you need glycogen in your muscles to sustain the fat burning process. 

You probably want your stomach to be mostly empty when you workout, so a cold meal replacement shake with carbs and some protein an hour before your workout and then a good dinner after your workout but within 2 hours. 

What you eat before and after your workout should vary depending on the type of workout and intensity, but it really doesn't vary as much as some would have us believe.  Foods high in protein and/or fat will digest more slowly.  High glycemic index carbs will digest most quickly.  You want to be somewhere in the middle, balanced, unless you have blood sugar issues in which case you should follow your doctors advice.

After any hard workout I do, I consume a shake that is 4 to 1 carbs to protein and I use carbs that are a mix of simple and complex.  That is the optimal ratio to restore critical glycogen reserves.  Then when I get home, I will eat a good balanced dinner.

However, you won't restore your reserves in just one shake.  Key is to eat well and hydrate all day before you workout.  By well, I mean good clean food sources with fruits and vegetables and lean meats and fish.

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