Is it Best to Eat Before or After Using the Treadmill?

young woman jogging on a treadmill
Eating within 30 minutes of your workout will help your body recover more quickly. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

It is important that you fuel your body with food before and after you hop on a treadmill. This doesn't mean that eating anything anytime pre and post your sweat session will help your performance. Following certain guidelines can prepare you for a more successful workout and speedy recovery. Check with your doctor before making changes in your exercise or diet plan, particularly if you have a health condition.

Eating Meals

Senior woman in gym holding towel, smiling, portrait
Working out on a full stomach can lead to cramps, upset stomach and nausea. (Image: Barry Austin/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Working out on a full stomach can lead to cramps, upset stomach and nausea. If you plan to eat a big meal before exercise, eat at least three to four hours beforehand. Small meals are okay to eat two hours before, but be careful not to consume anything that might upset your stomach. For optimal energy, stick to meals that are easy to digest and high in carbohydrates, which release glucose into your blood, giving you energy.

Sipping Liquids

Woman drinking water
Thirty minutes before your workout, make sure you are adequately hydrated. (Image: IT Stock/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Thirty minutes before your workout, make sure you are adequately hydrated. Unless you plan to spend more than an hour on the treadmill, water should be enough. If your workout lasts longer than 60 minutes, consider drinking a sports drink. It will provide you with the electrolytes you lose during an intense workout. The sodium in sports drinks also helps you rehydrate more quickly.

After Workout

Young woman holding apple, outdoors, smiling, close-up, portrait
Refuel with a snack within 30 minutes of finishing your treadmill work out. (Image: Plustwentyseven/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Refuel with a snack within 30 minutes of finishing your treadmill work out. These snacks should contain both carbs and protein, such as fruit with yogurt or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Glucose enters your system most efficiently during the first 30 minutes after your exercise, and it is stored so you are ready for your next treadmill workout.

Caloric Needs

Do not to use your treadmill workout as an excuse to eat everything in sight. Keep in mind that you burn about 100 calories per mile if you run or walk. That means if you run for 30 minutes at a 10-minute-mile pace, you will burn 300 calories. Unless you are a long-distance runner, your caloric needs are not significantly different than those of a non-runner.

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