Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why Wait till After Eating to work out?

You may have been told wait at least forty minutes until after eating to work out, or to go swimming. And maybe we all kinda think we know why - if we work out on a full stomach, we'll just hurl. Hmm. Maybe.

Apparently one of the actual reasons for this invective to wait is more about blood supply. When we eat, our gut gets very active. That means a lot of the blood supply is being focused on our digestive system. You can see what's coming: exercise means that the blood supply is being wanted by our peripheral system (as we saw in the article on warm ups).

Likewise the hormonal responses around food digestion (load on the endocrine system) are different than the ones that get triggered for exercise.

So eating and working out close by each other is putting two rather opposing demands on our digestive and endocrine systems. By giving digestion a chance to do its thing, the body is more at liberty to manage the demands of our thing when we want to work out.

Sorta makes sense.

An interesting thing for peri-workout nutrition is that some fuel seems fine to ingest prior to a workout: fast digesting hydro-whey, fast carbs like dextrose, and creatine, can be taken on "right before" a work out. Some folks top up with energy drinks during a work out. So the energy requirements to process some of these fuels must be low relative to whole food.

Personally these kind of facts make it easier for me to plan how to work out and why to practice a particular way. I can calm down i guess around whether now is the right time to move or not. Maybe that's just me, but hope it might be a useful wee factoid for you, too.

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