Eating and Exercising

By Jon Stiffler PTA/Sports Center Manager

Is it better to exercise before or after eating?

If Eating and exercising is a part of your daily regimen you can optimize these activities with some simple changes. First, Plan to eat an hour or two before you exercise.  Picking the correct pre-game meal is really important for your performance. This will give your body enough time to digest the food to provide energy for your workout. Remember. if you eat too much it can leave you feeling sluggish for your workout or to little may not give you the energy you need for a good workout.  It is also important to not overeat in this pre-gram meal.  If eating and exercising is not done correctly it could actually hinder your performance.

Eating and exercise

Image of a Cooked Turkey

1. Make sure that you have already eaten the pre-game meal before a performance.  This test will ensure that you don’t have any ill effects from the meal.

Trying a new food type or a meal you have never eaten is not recommended for a pre-game meal.

2.Don’t forget to hydrate.

Dehydration is a very serious condition especially in our hot and humid weather in Florida. The loss of fluids can even be life threatening.  It is important to hydrate days before a long competition or a tournament. Water is always the best way to hydrate but sports drinks can also be helpful. Avoid drinks or energy drinks with caffeine.

3.What to eat before an exercise?

Every athlete is a little different for your specific bodies preference of foods. Certainly, foods which contain a high fat percentage may be difficult to digest in a pre-game meal. High fiber foods may also be another food source to avoid.  Fiber may cause issues with your stomach and how you process the meal.  You may also want to avoid a high quantity of dairy products right before a competition.  Dairy and fried foods can cause some digestive issues during high intensity exercise.

4.What is a good pre-game meal? It is recommended that a pre-game meal consist of protein and carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are essential for high intensity exercise or endurance sports. The muscles of the body can readily break down carbs to use for energy. A snack of a simple carbohydrate also works to raise your blood glucose level for an energy boost.  Energy bars or protein bars can be a good snack if you are playing sports.  This is really important if you are in an all day tournament or a have several competitions over several days.

Recommended foods to maximize your exercise include:

  • Spaghetti
  • Rice
  • Lean chicken
  • Fish
  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oranges
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Grapefruit
  • Another good food source for the meal would be vegetables.

Here Are Some Basic Rehab Exercises by The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute:

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To make appointments with JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.

By: Jon Stiffler PTA/Sports Center Manager

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