Eat then run or run and then eat. Which is it?

I have a friend who makes me get up ridiculously early to go running once a week. I don’t mind this weekly run with him – who wouldn’t love to start the day next to a blue sea, breathing fresh air, and more often than not seeing some dolphins swimming by? It’s the getting up early part that I don’t like. Extra early, because as much as I wish I was one of those who could roll out of bed, into running gear and then hit the road straightaway, I’ve learnt the hard way that I’m not. I have to eat something before I can do anything.

So should you all be eating something before you exercise, or should you wait until you’re done? The answer is dependent on so many factors, such as the time of day that you exercise, but if you take it down to the very basics, we need energy to exercise and we get energy from food. Thinking that body fat will magically be used up because you haven’t eaten, is not a healthy way to approach working out. Your body will eventually make use of any fat, but it’s going to use the energy stored as glycogen before that. If you are seriously struggling through your run/cycle/swim or are feeling dizzy, you won’t have a productive workout, so rather have something to eat beforehand to give your body a little boost – that energy will be used up. Similarly, if you are ravenous after exercising, you’ll end up eating way too much, so rather have a snack beforehand, and then a normal meal afterwards. Not happy eating a meal beforehand? Sometimes it’s a lot easier on your body to go for a liquid energy lift, and Kauai’s Breakfast smoothie is a great option, any time of the day.

It’s all about balance, treating your body well, and knowing what works for you. So in my case I guess I’ll carry on getting up 45min before meeting my friend so that I can eat something half an hour before our run. At least that way I won’t be falling over after 1km, and I’ll be able to appreciate the blue sea, fresh air and dolphins swimming by.

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