Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Ignoring pre-workout nutrition can slow down your metabolism. (iStockphoto/iStockphoto)
Ignoring pre-workout nutrition can slow down your metabolism. (iStockphoto/iStockphoto)

Can I work out on an empty stomach? Add to ...

The simple answer is no.

Proper pre-exercise nutrition is key to getting the most bang for your workout buck. Going four or more hours with no food and then exercising can potentially decrease your metabolism, which is the last thing you want if you are trying to lose weight or firm up.

Have a question about your workout? Ask the trainer here.

Related stories

Figuring out optimal nutrition timing is tricky, though. Both eating too little and eating too much will make a workout unpleasant. I've eaten too little, then tried a training run - only to find I didn't have enough energy and was dangerously light-headed. I've also trained after eating too much and felt sluggish, even nauseous.

Every person's digestive system is different, but in general your body can handle the following:

1) a small snack 20 to 60 minutes before a workout - say, half a banana before a morning workout; or

2) a larger snack one to two hours before your workout - say, an apple and a tablespoon of almond butter in the late afternoon before a 6 p.m. workout.

I often suggest to my evening clients that they save a quarter of their lunch and eat it in the late afternoon. Splitting your lunch into two smaller meals will give you energy for your 6 p.m. workout, but won't add calories to your diet.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Kathleen Trotter

Click here to see Q&As from all of our health experts.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Follow us on Twitter: @Globe_Health

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories