Exercise and Eating: Myths vs. Facts

by in Fitness, October 21, 2013

Trying to get more activity but not sure where food comes in? Figure out the best way to fuel your exercise sessions by busting these five common myths.

Myth: Only eat protein after a workout.
Fact: Exercise enthusiasts often over-prioritize protein after exercise. While protein is vital for building and maintaining muscle, you can’t get the job done without healthy carbs on board too.

Choose any of these recovery foods to give your body exactly what it craves post workout.

Myth: It’s better to exercise on an empty stomach.
Fact: An empty stomach means an empty fuel tank.  Ideally, aim to eat a well-balanced meal three to four hours before exercise so you have plenty of energy to burn. If you’re more pressed for time, grab a sensible snack that you have time to digest before you get going.

Myth: Skip breakfast if you exercise early in the morning.
Fact: For some people, it’s easiest to get exercise out of the way bright and early. Problem is, it’s been hours since you ate anything. Grab something light like a banana or handfuls of dry cereal. That will be just enough to get your metabolism revved up, and you’ll get a better workout.

Myth: Drink caffeine before exercise for extra energy.
Fact: Do you grab a cup of coffee instead of food before activity? If so, you’re making a huge mistake. Don’t confuse that short-lived jolt for fuel. Only food provides sustained energy that you can burn throughout the exercise session.

Myth: Hydration doesn’t affect energy levels.
Fact: Actually it’s quite the opposite! Not getting enough fluid is one of the leading causes of fatigue during exercise. To keep fluid levels in check, you must drink, before, during and after strenuous activity.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (4)

  1. Laura says:

    All great points!!! We shouldn't neglect protein – 20g within 30 mins of a workout helps muscles to build and repair – but carbs are also necessary to refuel. As a figure competitor, I've written a lot about it. Here's a little basic info: http://www.sprint2thetable.com/2011/05/what-i-ate

  2. @HeKoMe says:

    I already know these myth, because i'm into bodybuilding and fitness, but anyway good article like it, I eat some complex carbonhydrates before going in gym and drink big cup of coffe, but for reason that it have effect that reduce the pain a little, read month ago somewhere about a research, If I find that article will put it on my blog http://www.fitandneat.com/.


  3. Mark H. says:

    Certainly great things to keep in mind in order to approach the two with a level head. The myths debunked here come about from people wanting to achieve the unrealistic. A lot of people want instant gratification with their exercise and eating habits, usually related to weight loss, and these myths offer them a supposed solution. Consistent healthy choices when it comes to exercise and nutrition beats out any fad anytime…it just actually requires a lot of effort.

  4. […] Exercise and Eating: Fact vs. Myths | Healthy Eats – Food … – Trying to get more activity but not sure where food comes in? Figure out the best way to fuel your exercise sessions by busting these 5 common myths. […]

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