How to balance meals and exercise

Exercising on a full stomach is uncomfortable. But is it also unhealthy? What competition in the body is responsible for fatigue and what good sports nutrition looks like.

It works best when lunch is no longer heavy on the stomach.  Therefore, there should be a break of about two to three hours between eating and running training.  (Image: dpa) Photo: Tobias Hase/dpa-tmn

It works best when lunch is no longer heavy on the stomach. Therefore, there should be a break of about two to three hours between eating and running training. (Image: dpa)
(Photo: Tobias Hase/dpa-tmn)

Cologne: Today’s jogging session is exceptionally hard, physical training is really difficult, why? Often the answer is: the food is still heavy in the stomach.

Sports scientist Prof. Ingo Froboese from the German Sports University in Cologne explains how this can be avoided.

Is it bad to exercise on a full stomach?

Of course, food intake always presupposes that many biochemical processes take place within the body. This means that the digestive process begins immediately and very often takes precedence. Then compete with physical activity, both contradict each other.

That means: The digestion process cannot continue and be completed if I play intensive sports. This severely affects performance. And if I then want to continue performing normally, I have to make it possible with a disproportionate effort.

A full stomach isn’t good for exercise, but it’s not bad for your health in the traditional sense. Sometimes I push myself too hard and if you don’t have reasonable body awareness, you’re overloaded. So there is significantly less blood available, which is in the gastrointestinal tract.

How long do you think should pass between your last meal and your workout?

When I eat a real meal, it’s usually like I need to take a two or three hour break before I exercise. For most dishes, the digestive processes are complete at this time.

Some very fatty foods like a whole pizza and also raw foods take much longer, ie four to five hours. I need a longer break.

In endurance sports in particular, it is much more serious whether I have taken a break beforehand or not. Ultimately, the load is much more intense due to the load of the whole body. In weight training, however, one could tolerate taking a shorter break.

What is your advice for a long day at the office to be in shape for sports after work?

A relatively fast digesting meal is ideal. For endurance athletes, a serving of pasta with as little fatty sauce as possible is recommended. This gives the body enough energy. It’s definitely not raw food.

For strength athletes, I would go for high-energy foods like a small piece of fish or meat to get enough protein.

Precooked legumes such as lentils or beans, which do not hinder digestion too much, are also suitable. Tofu or soy products, which are significantly less stressful, would be even better.

If you want to play sports after a day at the office, you should consider: Basically, long periods of sitting are a period of sedentary activity for the body. As a result, a large amount of waste products often sink into the body, and a large amount of fluid sinks into the legs.

In this sense, the metabolic metabolism is usually always affected by the long period of inactivity. So we have had very little exchange of nutrients and vital substances in the body.

Therefore, it would be ideal if at noon I eat a colourful, regional, seasonal food, rich in vital substances and enriched with some carbohydrates. A vegetable lasagna, for example. Neither too much nor too little to recharge the batteries for the afternoon. After exercise, a small portion of tofu, soy or even an omelet is enough.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220801-99-234927/4

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