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Exercise-Related Eating and Drinking

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When you exercise, when is the best time to eat and drink? Is it better to eat before or after a run, bike ride, or football game? View our food and drink recommendations to help you perform at your best during training or competition.  Food around sports moments, Eating and drinking before exercise, Eat a good meal about 2 to 3 hours before you exercise, with about half a liter (500 ml) of drink. Then you have enough energy and fluids for the effort.

Small meal

It is better not to eat a large meal just in advance. Digesting food requires a constant supply of blood to the gastrointestinal tract. If you exercise immediately afterward, your muscles also ask for oxygen-rich blood. The 2 processes are compromised, which can lead to stomach complaints. If it happens that you eat a meal just before exercise, it is better not to choose a large portion and no products that also contain a lot of fat, protein, or dietary fiber. They stay in your stomach for a long time and you can experience that during exercise. Spicy food, eating leeks and onions, or drinking coffee can also cause stomach and intestinal problems in some people during exercise.

Eat something small

Before exercising, you can eat something small that provides sufficient energy and nutrients and can prevent you from feeling hungry. For example A small portion (less than half) of your meal. You eat most of it after exercise. A whole-wheat sandwich with low-fat margarine and nut butter (100% nuts, no additives). A whole-grain crispbread with low-fat margarine and 30+ cheese or goat cheese. A bowl of low-fat yogurt with pieces of fresh fruit. Snack vegetables

Exercise on an empty stomach

Exercising on an empty stomach is not a good idea. Your muscles then get too little energy and it is not good for muscle building. It does not cause a faster fat burning, as is sometimes thought. You run the risk that you will have less energy during exercise and therefore stop earlier. Some people even faint because blood glucose levels drop too much.

Prevent dehydration

Dehydration is a common problem during exercise. Drinking enough is the first condition for good performance, especially if you exercise intensively. To replenish all the lost fluid, you need one and a half times as much fluid as you lost through sweating. Make sure you have drunk enough before training or competition.

Eating and drinking while exercising

Eating may be difficult or even impossible during exercise. If you train for a long time and intensively, sports bars and sports gels can help you to keep your energy up. If you exercise for less than an hour, you don’t need them. You then run the risk of taking in too many calories, which actually makes you gain weight. When you exercise to lose some weight, that is of course not desirable. The same goes for sports drinks. Read more about sports drinks, sports bars, and sports gels. If you exercise for more than an hour, it is important to continue to drink water during exercise. Start doing that at the beginning of the effort. If you get thirsty while exercising, you’ve actually already had too little to drink. Another indicator is to look at the color of your urine after exercise. If it is very dark in color, you should drink more next time. Apart from exercising, it is good to drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of fluid every day.

Eating and drinking after exercise

Eat a normal main meal after exercise: breakfast, lunch, or an evening meal. They provide all the nutrients you need, including sufficient carbohydrates for energy and sufficient proteins for muscle recovery. Drink enough fluids.