Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Should I Eat Before or After Exercise?

Friday, 18 Apr 2014 04:48 PM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: I play tennis several times a week. I never eat beforehand, but my regular partner — a personal trainer — says I should load up on carbs before exercising. What do you think? Should I eat before working out and, if so, what foods are best?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
Generally eating before exercise is not usually a good idea. By the time the nutrients are absorbed, your physical demands have long passed. You would be wiser to hydrate yourself before tennis and maintain that hydration during your exercise. Water is fine; no need for glucose-containing drinks touted by advertisers unless you are going to be exercising for prolonged periods.
 
Carb loading has little benefit for most of us, and may actually defeat the benefits of our exercise sessions. If carbs are used, use simple carbohydrates — fruit juices are fine — in moderation and avoid complex carbohydrate use pre-exercise. Eat after you exercise or finish eating at least 2 hours before you exercise.

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