Many bodybuilders ask for advice about what and when they should eat in relation to their training program. The muscles require an ample supply of blood during training. Since a lot of the pump you experience is from blood swelling up your muscles. But if the digestive system is also using excess amount of blood to digest a big meal, there won’t be enough to go around and your muscles will suffer of it. When you eat too heavily before training, you are setting up a conflict in the body, a demand for excess blood in too many places at once.

Training with full stomach can be a very unpleasant experience. You feel bloated, sluggish and slow. The body metabolizes food at different rates. It takes from 2-6 hours for the stomach to empty its contents. Foods rich in carbohydrates digest first, followed by protein foods and fatty foods are the last to leave.

Before workout

When you wake up in the morning and haven’t eaten anything for 8-12 hours, your body is depleted of carbohydrates. Since carbohydrates are needed to produce the glycogen the muscle need for intense workout. It makes sense to eat high carbohydrate breakfast before going to the gym to train in the morning.

A light meal of fruit, fruit juice or toast can be eaten before you train and will give your energy without slowing you down. However a breakfast that includes eggs, cheese, milk, nuts, protein bars, smoothies-are high in protein and fats- will take longer to digest, so you would do better not to eat foods like these before you train.

Post workout

It is not a good idea to eat a big meal immediately after a workout either. You put your body under great stress when you train and you need to give your system time to return to normal, for the blood to leave the muscles and the stress reaction to diminish. A protein or protein/carb supplement drink after a workout supplies needed nutrition to satisfy the demands created by training in a form that is easy on you digestive system so take post workout supplement immediately after workout. By the time you leave the gym, you shower and get dressed your system will return to normal state and then you can have a nutritious balanced meal.

Diet Nutritionist Dr. Ekta Sharma