A common doubt, I often get, and quite a consistent one is: “How much gap should be there, between exercise and meal?”
Well, I couldn’t find many research studies on the gap between exercise and meal, but there are some common-sense basis and some scientific basis to answer this question.
Proper nutrition is extremely important to fuel your workout and optimal recovery post-workout. The question here is not about nutrient timing or what to eat before workout, but how much gap between exercise and meal should be there. But a lot depends on the time of the day you are working out.
Because the timing is limited, as you need proper sleep also, so you cannot afford to have a full-fledged meal, before a workout, early morning.
But, because it’s a heavier lunch, you will need at least 2hrs before you should workout heavy. That depends on the size of the lunch you consumed. When you eat a meal, the blood in the body is diverted from the less important functions to digest the food in the stomach. If you do not give ample time for digestion to take place, and start doing intensive physical work, then the limited blood the body have, will now be diverted to the working muscles, and inadequate blood will be there both for muscle recovery and digestion. This generally leads to problems like nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, acid reflux, heartburn, etc.
However, as I have told in my earlier videos and articles too, it is always better to workout post a meal, whether big or small. A 2011 study in the Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, by Jennifer Coelho & team, investigated the nature of the timing of exercise relative to an eating opportunity. Researchers took female undergraduate students and divided them into three groups: exercise before eating, exercise after eating, or no exercise.
Researchers saw that participants who exercised after eating had higher expectations of the effectiveness of the exercise than those who exercised before eating, while those who exercised before eating reported valuing dieting more than controls.
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