Is it better to work out before or after you eat dinner?

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Is it better to eat dinner at 6 p.m., wait 1 hour & then work out OR work out before dinner and eat late, at like 8 p.m.? – Kyla



Eat dinner first and then workout. It’s best to fuel your brain and muscles ahead of time, rather than play catch-up later after you have exhausted a bunch of energy from exercising. So as long as your stomach is not uncomfortable, I’d prefer you eat and then workout. You can always have something light after your workout such as a V-8, glass of milk or salad to refuel. – Debbie J., MS, RD

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Posted on July 23, 2013, in Ask Our Dietitian, Health, Helpful, Nutrition, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. when is the best time to consume protein

  2. I’ve had numerous operations on my stomach. Any other exercises to help it get more defined?

  3. If someone is striving to lose water weight. Should they be drinking alot of water during their workout? Or should they wait to drink 30 minutes after their workout?

    • Debbie J., MS, RD

      I have to say that losing water weight isn’t a good idea unless you are indeed retaining fluids, but to answer your question:

      Timing won’t matter as much as other factors, such as the electrolytes in one’s diet. Sodium (in processed foods) tends to draw water into the space between cells, causing bloating. Reducing sodium consistently is a major step in keeping retention at bay. Potassium (in produce, lean meats and milk products) helps draw water into cells where it can be used in metabolism. Increasing potassium from foods aids in fluid balance.

      Water weight loss is occurring when people experience a noticeable drop in weight the first week on a calorie-reduced or carbohydrate-restricted diet. Surely, they aren’t burning thousands of extra calories each day! What happens is that water is released when glycogen, our storage form of carbohydrate, is released. Cutting calories or reducing carbs causes the body to rely on stored glycogen in the short-term (then fa,t and finally protein if prolonged).

      NOTE: abstaining from hydration during exercise impairs physical performance and heat regulation, a no-win combination.

  4. Even if I eat dinner before workout I find myself extra hungry after workout and sometimes find myself having 2nd dinner or force myself to sleep.

  5. Definitely after because post workout meal can mostly be consumed after the work out unless you have 2-3 hrs to digest that food, when you work out on a full stomach you run the risk of indigestion,nausea etc because the blood that runs the stomach organs when the food is being digested are forced to the muscles instead resulting in an unhappy digestion process .

  6. Besides loosing weight what exercises can I do to loose inches in my waist?

  7. I just signed up with LA Fitness and had my assessment. and I don’t start my strength training until the end of next week. My weight is 183 pounds and I’m 5’6″ I would like to lose 40 pounds. I’m in a weight group so I have the support but I’m not sure how I should be eating as far as meals and snacking. I’m maintaining this weight but hope to lose more when I start my strength training. Is there anything I should be doing now as far as my diet goes?

  8. I’ve been hearing a lot about pre-workout drinks lately and how they boost your energy prior to exercise. Do they really help you get a better workout? If so, is there a brand that’s healthier than others?



  9. I want to go Monday thru Friday for the one hour cardio class that LA Fitness offers. I am currently breastfeeding . Will I loose my milk supply if I do alot of cardio work outs?

    • Debbie J., MS, RD

      Not if you eat what you need, stay hydrated and sleep properly! According to the LaLeche League International, “you need to stay very well hydrated when breastfeeding, especially if you are working out.” They recommend waiting until the infant is at least 6 weeks old, start the exercise slowly and gradually, and consume liquids to replace those lost by sweating.

  10. I have a triangle body wthat kind of should I eat ….

  11. I work later at night, so often times I will leave the club about 10pm and go home and have dinner. I need to break the latenight eating habit, but because of my work schedule it is hard not to go home and eat . What can I do, or what should I eat for dinner that late at night?

    • Debbie J., MS, RD

      Really, I have to say try to eat something right when you get off work – even a protein bar or veggie smoothie.This is the best scenario. If you just can’t accomplish this before heading to the club, then what you need to eat so late is just enough to refresh yourself before bed. Don’t think of it as “dinner,” but a post-workout snack. Perhaps a bowl of soup or the like. Just be sure breakfast and lunch is are substanial, balanced meals!

  12. I would like to understand the usage of a dietary supplement like Raw Fit. Should I eat breakfast such as, oatmeal, workout then consume a portion of this mixture for lunch, then eat something when I’m hungry again something light, (you’re suppose to eat at least 5 small meals per day). That’s where I become confused and feel like I am not utilizing the Raw Fit (high Protein foe wight Loss) supplement appropriately. Help! Signed trying to understand the dynamics.

    • Debbie J., MS, RD

      Julia, if the directions on the container aren’t clear, I would refer you to the manufacturer of the product you mentioned for sample menus and recipes. It appears to be a vegan protein supplement with additional functional ingredients and doesn’t seem to be sufficient as a meal replacement on its own.

  13. Is it better to go to bed on an empty stomach, full, or in between?

  14. I’m doing weights and cardio. How do I get a flat stomach? With less protein or more and when do I take it?

  15. Do I need to spread my protein equally through out the day or can I do the whole days worth in 2 or 3 sittings?

  16. Hi there! Thank you for answering our questions.

    I’m wondering how much protein and how many calories I should be aiming for a day in order to build lean muscle (I’m a woman, about 135-140 lbs). Ideally I would like to attain a lean, healthy look. I’m currently about 23% body fat. Maybe I should be approaching this from the body fat perspective instead of through weigh-ins?

    Thank you 🙂

  17. What can I do in order to gain more muscle? I’m a 22 years old female, my height is 5’5, I’m a 144 Lbs, and I have 24% of body fat. Also, could you provide some ways of burning body fat?

  18. I work out at 7:30pm cardio and weights, 3 nights cardo I and weights 2 nights cardio. My question is I would like to build up lean muscle not bulk up.should I do light weights with 3 sets of 12to15 reps or heavy with less reps? I also eat dinner 1hour before and then have a light greek yogurt. Is there anything I should change?

  19. i am 23 female i weight 178. i want to drop 40 pounds .. any tips ?

  20. is the corn tortilla bad?for loss.weight and get muscle mass?

  21. I’m running a 10K next week and will be tackling a half marathon in the fall. I’ve recently (finally) started weight training. How can I build lean muscle without my running being hindered. I’m running the half marathon for fun and not for any sort of competition. I’m 31, 127 lbs and 5’4 if that information is relevant.
    I’ve added more protein to my diet and have a low fat and pretty much low carbs but make sure I have enough carbs to give energy for workouts

    • Debbie J., MS, RD

      As long as you are keeping up on your distance training, I don’t think strengthening is going to negatively impact your runs. Doubtful that you’d gain more than 3-5 pounds of muscle in the next 6 months anyway. Do be cautious about timing your resistance workouts around your running and vice versa, as you’re more prone to injury when tired or sore.

      For nutrition it sounds like you are one the right path. Unlike your 10K and half marathon which burn fat and stored glycogen for energy, strength training uses pure carbohydrate for fuel during the workout and protein (with a little fat) for building new muscle fibers during recovery. Simple carbohydrates such as from fruit or graham crackers are needed about an hour before lifting weights or using resistance machines. Afterward, get in about 15 grams protein from milk, whey powder or chicken/fish with again some carbohydrate.

  22. I am a 21 year old male. My height 5’10 with a 29% body fat. I weight 205 lbs. My goal is to lose weight while gain lean and toned muscle at the same time. Any nutritional tips that you have on what to eat and what not to eat, and If recommended, what nutritional powders and supplements can I use (i.e whey protein, Creatine etc…) in order to reach my goal.

  23. Cheryl Runion

    I have eliminated high fat, unhealthy foods and still get nausea every day even when eating healthy. I can only take prenatal vitamins, otherwise I throwup? Is it a high level of stomach acid?

  24. Tracy Monteleone

    everthing looks great on me but my chubby stomach? any advise?

  25. I have restricted myself to about 1000 calories a day, eating mostly raw veggies and some fruit. Drinking only water or green tea. I have been doing a 20 minute strength training routine 6 days a week before bed. It’s been two weeks so far and I have literally not lost a pound. Should I expect results soon or is this just the wrong approach.

  26. Are colonic safe

  27. I have been on a high protein, very low carb diet–about 20 gms of carbs a day. I lost 15 pounds last year eating like this, but have gained the weight back because of feeling deprived of carbs and over eating them whenever I introduced them back. I have read books and the eating plan the doctor gave me was against eating wheat, fruit, beans, potatoes, and starchy carbs. What can I eat and still lose weight? It’s too hard to go back to eating this high protein, very low carb diet. I’ve tried to eat some of these things again, but I’ve gained weight and been bloated. Help! Please explain what is happening and give me some advice on how to turn my situation around and still lose weight.

  28. I am new to these blogs–how does one obtain the answer to his question? Is there a place to go to get the answers? Will an email be sent with a response? Are only select questions chosen for a response?

  29. I’m a 57 year old guy who got disabled in 2007 in a dirt motorcycle accident so I sit around a lot at home. I do visit LA Fitness in Anaheim Hills, CA about 3 times a week & my regular workout is an hour of weight machines followed by 5 minutes of hand bicycle & 10 minutes of Life Cycle on Lose Weight (111 heart rate) or Quick Start (130 heart rate) on Level 5 or 7.
    I’ve been cutting most carbs per Doc Atkin’s diet tips and have dropped from a bad high of 216 lbs down to my current 192 but I’ve been stuck in the low 190s for months and I should really be about 170-175 lbs.
    So what can I do?
    I eat mostly salads or meats and veggies along with lots of diet sodas. I don’t eat any bread, potatoes, pasta or rice. I skip milk, treats and ice cream to cut carbs.

  1. Pingback: Do Women Work Harder Than Men in Interval Workouts? | Apparel stuff

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