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Exercise & Fitness Message Board


Exercise & Fitness Board Index


I have several questions concerning meals before and after cardio and weight training. Right now I do cardio in the morning and weights in the evening. I do both on an empty stomach. After the cardio, I shower, get ready for work, and then eat breafast, which is at least 30 minutes after I ended my cardio session. After weights, I take a quick shower and heat up dinner which is about 15 minutes after the end of my workout. Now I keep reading that it's better to have your meal immediately after a workout and not wait. I also read that it's better to have a shake instead of real food since the proteins and carbs will enter your system a lot quicker, which is important if you've just had a weight training session. Given all this, I have several questions. Keep in mind my goal is to maximize my muscle gains.

1) Does the importance of the post workout meal only apply to a weight training workout or does it also apply to cardio?

2) How long is too long to wait following a workout to have a meal?

3) Is a shake really that more effective than regular food as a post workout meal and if so, what are some good examples to try? Something high in carbs and protein but not loaded with sugars would be good. If this is something that I have to have after my morning cardio, then can I treat it as breakfast or would I still need extra food?

4) Is it better to lift weights on an empty stomach or have a meal before and if so, what are good meal ideas that don't require cooking and how much time before the workout should this meal be consumed? As far as ideas, I'm looking for something simple like a shake or bar, preferably one that isn't loaded with sugar.
1) Does the importance of the post workout meal only apply to a weight training workout or does it also apply to cardio?

It's MOST important after lifting, but cardio also depletes glycogen, so to avoid going catabolic, a little something right afterward will help spare muscle.

2) How long is too long to wait following a workout to have a meal?

Well, there is no "too long", but the longer you wait, the harder recovery is going to be and more you're working against your efforts in the gym.

3) Is a shake really that more effective than regular food as a post workout meal and if so, what are some good examples to try? Something high in carbs and protein but not loaded with sugars would be good. If this is something that I have to have after my morning cardio, then can I treat it as breakfast or would I still need extra food?

Post workout, a shake is most effective because it is quickly digested and absorbed, but you should also have a post workout meal (within a couple hours of lifting). Right after lifting is when you want to spkie insulin, so simple carbs are the best at this time. Dextrose is ideal, but even just a soda will do. After cardio, I would stick with real food.

4) Is it better to lift weights on an empty stomach or have a meal before and if so, what are good meal ideas that don't require cooking and how much time before the workout should this meal be consumed? As far as ideas, I'm looking for something simple like a shake or bar, preferably one that isn't loaded with sugar.

It is better to have something to eat before lifting. Not *right* before, but within an hour or so. You need some carbs to give you energy to get through the workout. I almost always have oatmeal before, but cereal, nutrigrain bars, granola bars, protein bars (I'm thinking no cooking and portable here...) all keep you from running out of steam.






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