Marie Claire is supported by her audience. When you shop through links on our website, we may earn a commission on some of the items you buy.
Since the search for the term shoots up 1100% in a year.
If you google “how long should I exercise after eating” you are probably one of millions of others who have used the UK’s three bans to improve their physical fitness.
Perhaps you’ve bought new running shoes and trained for half marathons, invested in home fitness equipment and streamed home workouts into your living room, or even patiently waited for the gyms to reopen to start weight training; Whatever sport you prefer, you will likely want to know how long before your workout you can fit in a snack or meal.
Why? Well, a couple of reasons – by and large, because food is the fuel that keeps you going through tough workouts. Therefore, for the best results, it is imperative to make sure that you have eaten enough pre-sweat. Second, because if you eat too close to your workout, you’re likely to get a pretty big sting as your body tries to digest the snack. Not the one.
We have selected the heads of a sports nutritionist and former Olympic athlete for their inclusion.
What happens if you eat too close to your workout?
In short, either stomach upset or nausea – which no one wants.
“If you eat something heavy too soon afterwards, it can have the same result. So only be sure to listen to your body and eat when it feels okay, ”advises Simon Jurkiw, Bulk’s sports nutritionist.
How long should I exercise after eating?
Knowing how long to wait after eating and before exercising is an art and will vary from person to person, explains Jurkiw.
“You can exercise as soon as possible after eating,” he explains. “Contrary to what some people might think, there is no real benefit in waiting for a certain period of time.”
However, if you are a runner you should be aware that you may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, which often results in a running stomach. “If you eat right before a run, I recommend that you choose easily digestible foods and drinks such as fruit or a protein shake,” advises Jurkiw. The same goes for eating after running.
Former Olympian Becky Lyne agrees, saying it totally depends on your body, the type of exercise, and the food you ate.
“There are big individual differences,” she says. “I know some people who can have a piece of toast while warming up on their morning run, while others prefer to wait for hours after they eat.”
Is there an optimal window of time for how quickly I should exercise after eating?
Thirty minutes is often referred to as the “golden window” of how quickly you should eat after your workout – studies have shown that this is the most effective window of time for replenishing muscle glycogen and electrolytes.
But if you turn it over, how fast can you exercise after eating?
An important factor is the portion size and the type of food. “If it’s just a snack – think rice cake, banana, and peanut butter – you can probably be walking within thirty minutes of eating,” explains Lyne. “On the other hand, if you have a meal with protein, fat, and carbohydrates, it’s generally better to wait a few hours before exercising, especially if it’s more strenuous,” she explains.
Try to wait at least 30 minutes after a snack and 90 minutes after a meal for your body to properly digest your food.
Is there an “optimal” time of day to exercise based on when you ate?
The reality is, if you can fit it into your schedule, you should run, advises Jurkiw.
“In terms of proximity to a meal, there will be individual differences; Some people can eat closer to a workout than others, ”he explains. “Really, it all depends on how you are feeling.”
Wondering if you can exercise after your COVID vaccination or how to regain your exercise motivational mojo when you wear off? Read on while you are here.
Figuring out where to refuel is difficult, but not impossible. Remember that whatever you eat will ultimately provide fuel for your workout session. Top tip: try to match your fueling and timing to the intensity of your workout.
“If it’s endurance training – like a long distance run or a bike ride – you may be able to eat closer to the workout,” Jurkiw explains. “If it’s a faster, shorter sweat session, be careful not to be too crowded,” he advises.
5 ideas for pre-run meals or snacks
Jurkiw shares a simple, natural, and effective source of carbohydrates that is great before running.
Another simple source of slowly released carbohydrates = perfect exercise fuel. Jurkiw also has his fruit.
3. Peanut butter and a rice cake
Ideal for early morning sessions or afternoon snacks. This is Lyne’s point of contact.
Also add chicken or a vegetarian alternative for a protein boost.
Cook with rice and vegetables for a balanced and healthy option, says Jurkiw.