How Long Should I Wait To Workout After I Eat?

Picture this: you hit the treadmill after gorging on a Big Mac and feel more sluggish and bloated than ever before. If this has happened to you, it is because you haven’t given yourself ample time after a heavy meal.

Fueling yourself with proper nutrition is an important part of working out, but even more important is to understand how much time your body needs to digest food before you hit the gym. So, if you are looking for ways to understand this, you are at the right place.

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First, let’s understand how digestion varies for different people.

Height, weight, age, sex, and other such variables play a major role in our digestion. It is a no-brainer that as you age, your digestion power decreases, while a study (source) suggests that women’s digestion differs from men’s. Apart from the obvious, here are a few other factors that affect your digestion power.

1.Your diet-

Certain food groups require longer time to digest than others. For example, fiber, fat and protein take longer to digest than carbs. Hence, if you are opting for a protein or fiber-rich snack we suggest you wait a bit longer before exercising.

2.Your meal size-

A second helping of that smoothie bowl is definitely going to take longer to digest (Source) than one. So, if you are planning on packing more for your pre-workout snack, you might want to wait longer than usual.

3.Exercise type-

When you are exercising different muscle groups, the blood flow is shifted from your stomach to those areas causing a disruption in the digestion process. For example a high intensity workout might lead to gastronomical issues than a mild free-hand exercise.

So, how long should you typically wait to workout after eating?

Once you are done with a meal, it usually takes about 3 to 4 hours to pass through your stomach and around 72 hours to complete the cycle. Now, if you are opting for a:

1. Heavy and rich meal, it is ideal to wait for 3 to 4 hours before hitting the gym.

2. Moderate or small meal, then taking a 1 to 2-hour gap would be sufficient.

3. A light snack, waiting for 30 minutes to 1 hour, is a great option.

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What happens when you start exercising right after a meal?

The simple answer is gut problems. When you don’t give your body ample time to digest food, no matter how heavy or light, you face both short-term and long-term stomach issues. This happens because the blood flow is then redirected to other muscles instead of focusing on digestion leading to problems such as acid reflux, heartburn, nausea, bloating and even diarrhea.

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With our Aquatic Studio, HIIT Studio, Pilates Studio, and Yoga Studio, we are here to help you meet your best and fittest self. Your first workout is on us as you explore 104+ weekly group fitness classes and 7 group fitness studios. Moreover, our personalized program, curated by experts in the field, will help you with your nutrition and meal timings so you never have to worry about how long you should wait after eating to workout. Contact us now!