Exercising stimulates hunger and thirst which calls for food or a drink to cool down and re-energize the body.
Many people wonder whether it’s advisable to eat or drink during exercise sessions. According to experts, food intake should depend on the exercise duration among other factors.
Here is the experts’ take on whether it’s necessary to have food or water breaks while exercising.
Asaba Gerald, a doctor, says that when your session exceeds one hour, you will need an energy giving food substance to push you through. He adds that it should be accompanied by plenty of water as hydration is extremely important during exercise.
Umar Babu, a footballer, says he doesn’t take any food substance while training because it makes him indisposed.
“I normally take two liters of water or more within training because it refreshes my body. I avoid taking too much water at once as it makes me heavy and I fail to train since my workout involves running. I take minimal water and at regulated intervals,” he adds.
He notes that whenever he eats food, he gets stomach contractions and fails to train as expected.
“Taking plenty of water will cool down your body temperature making it easier for you to exercise. However, this will depend on your sweat rate. Some people sweat faster than others and these will need water to cool the heated body more frequently,” Asaba explains.
Kevin Onekalit, a gym instructor, says that the atmosphere matters a lot when it comes to fluid intake. When the weather is hot, you will need plenty of water because the rate of sweating will be high.
This won’t be the case in cold weather.
“Your body shape will also be a factor, people who are relatively fat will need more fluids compared to the small ones because their sweat rate is higher,” he says.
Why is food intake discouraged during exercise?
Asaba explains thus “You don’t need to eat a lot of food during exercise because metabolism will also need energy and this will slow you down.”
The reason you are exercising also matters; If you are cutting weight, you don’t need to eat food more often while exercising because your body will get used to it and will render your efforts futile.
You don’t have to eat food if your exercise takes less than an hour because it will make it hard for you to exercise flexibly. Your main concentration should be on hydration by taking water and not food.
How often should one eat or drink during exercise
Onekalit says it’s advisable to eat a few hours before the session or after. He adds that you can have proteins and carbohydrates to help you push through the sessions since you need energy.
If you can’t avoid eating with in the session breaks or carry out longer trainings like footballers and athletes, you can have simple foods or fruits to kill the craving. Having a carbohydrate or protein will be an advantage.
“Eat small protein potions to keep you energetic throughout the session on top of protecting muscle breakdown during exercises. Lack of energy can cause muscle contraction,” he adds.
Asaba adds that you should avoid fats and all junk foods during exercise sessions and only take them before or after the sessions and in the least amounts.
Eating within exercise should be done at breaks, and not jumping off the session to grab a bite as it will lower one’s concentration or cause food choking.
Onekalit advises that the best fluid to take during exercise is water as it’s a neutral drink that won’t intoxicate the body. He also recommends fresh fruit juices and not processed ones.