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Does the time of day you eat have any impact on weight gain / loss? Some of my Russian friends insist that not eating heavy meals in the evening aids in weight loss. They also insist that one should not eat within an hour after exercising. Is there any truth to this?
This is the stuff of hot debate at gyms and tracks everywhere, but the answer is surprisingly simple - and surprising to many people. If calories in exceeds calories out, weight is gained; if calories out exceeds calories in, weight is lost. Doesn't matter when you eat. It is not "bad" to eat before exercising; as long as your exercise is moderate i.e. you can keep doing whatever it is for more than half an hour) your body can digest food during exercise. Eating before exercise will ensure you have energy on board especially for sustained exercise; anything you eat for up to 4 hours beforehand can supply current exercise's needs. (In a few people eating before exercise makes them feel nauseated or bloated.. you'll know from experience). With intense activities you'll probably want to allow about 4 hours between eating and exercise and of course meals must be light to prevent discomfort or even nausea. The rule of thumb for eating before exercise is to allow 4 hours for a big meal (about 1,200 calories), 2 hours for a light meal (about 600 calories), and an hour or less for a snack (about 300 calories). Eating after exercise is no problem, just make sure you have done a "cool-down" and again avoid a very heavy meal or you may feel nauseated / bloated.
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