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Should I Eat Before or After a Workout? Here’s How to Fuel Every Distance

Your body usually needs something to kick-start your workout and replenish postrun. Here’s a breakdown of what you need depending on the type of workout.

eat before or after a workout
Trevor Raab

Choosing what to eat before (and after) a workout plagues nearly every runner—until you figure out what works best for you. And because people tolerate foods differently, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to prerun fueling. Some runners swear by eating nothing before short or easier runs, while others have to put something in their system. That said, there are some general guidelines to follow as you prepare a prerun snack or meal.

Should I Eat Before or After a Workout?

If the workout is moderate (it’s not an interval day) and under 60 minutes, you don’t necessarily need to eat; your body has enough stored glycogen to fuel that type of run. If you know your body needs fuel, though (i.e. you feel hungry before lacing up), the options below will ensure you get enough energy without an upset stomach. And, if the workout is longer, or more intense, you can and should eat something small.

After a workout, you should always eat something to replenish your stores and jumpstart recovery. It’s critical to refuel within 30 minutes to an hour of finishing a workout. Aim for a 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio. Try options such as a protein shake with fruit, a bagel with protein (such as an egg or peanut butter), or cereal and milk.

Whether you decide to eat before or after a workout, these fueling options will help energize you to run your best (and keep your stomach happy), no matter the distance...Keep Reading with Runners World+

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