Can we eat between workouts?

That is really how important meal timing is

Isn't only the "what?" but also the "when?" crucial in nutrition? We'll tell you what role smart meal timing plays in exercise.

Eat before exercise? Or is it better afterwards? And how much time should there be between eating and exercising? These questions come up again and again when the training on an empty stomach was too strenuous or the full stomach caused uncomfortable side stitches. Smart meal timing not only influences the fun of training, but can also have an effect on the success of the training. Regardless of whether you want to build muscle or lose fat - if you want to train efficiently, you can also benefit from smart meal timing. We reveal how.

Meal timing before exercise

In the morning

Whether you have breakfast right after you get up in the morning is your decision. Every person is different. It is best to listen to your body and eat when you are hungry. As a guideline for a balanced breakfast meal that provides you with the necessary nutrients, around 30 grams of protein and 60 grams of carbohydrates are recommended. It also includes fats.

The correct meal timing in the morning can look like this, for example:

Within the first half an hour after getting up, a protein shake, for example with high-quality whey protein - this is absorbed by the body particularly quickly. Proteins have numerous tasks and functions in your body and are part of a balanced diet. Among other things, they are essential for maintaining and increasing muscle mass.

Followed by a meal with long-chain carbohydrates, such as a home-mixed muesli, oatmeal or a warm porridge with fruit and nuts.


Meal timing includes eating before training. The meal should provide enough energy for the upcoming exertion.

It is advisable to about an hour or two before training to eat to give the body enough time to digest. Just like at breakfast, high-quality, long-chain carbohydrates are put on the plate to fill up the nutrient and glycogen stores as well as proteins as building material for the muscles: For example, natural yogurt or some quark with an apple and a handful of oat flakes. Those who prefer it hearty can eat a small portion of rice or pasta with fish or chicken.

If the training takes place in the early morning, breakfast is also suitable as a pre-workout meal when timing the meal. If you are in a particularly hurry after getting up, you can have a protein shake and a banana or a homemade one up to half an hour before training instead of a large breakfast Smoothie use fruit, vegetables and some protein powder. The shake provides quickly available energy, is easy to digest due to its consistency and does not put too much stress during training.

Those who prefer to train on an empty stomach can take BCAA capsules about 30 minutes before training. They provide the three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine, which the body cannot produce itself. Leucine plays an important role in stimulating protein synthesis and activates the mTOR protein, which triggers muscle protein synthesis. Muscle protein synthesis stands for the process of building muscle mass and is set in motion by training stimuli and a high-protein diet. If breakfast is canceled, the food after training may be correspondingly more with meal timing.

Post-workout meal timing

Post workout

After training, the body needs more nutrients for regeneration and muscle building. Your muscles are now particularly sensitized to protein intake. Whether or not you should eat protein right after your workout depends on how long it was since your last meal. Protein-rich food stimulates protein synthesis for a period of 3 to 6 hours. So if you've already consumed protein a few hours before your workout, you don't need to eat right away. If you haven't eaten for a long time or have exercised on an empty stomach, you should eat food or a shake after your workout at the latest.

A combination of protein and readily available carbohydrates is recommended as a post-workout meal, as it supports protein synthesis during muscle building and muscle regeneration. This is why protein shakes are suitable as the first meal after training. In conjunction with an apple, a handful of dried fruit or a couple of rice cakes, the glycogen stores are quickly replenished.

During intensive sporting activities, the body needs a higher amount of amino acids for regeneration, these are components of proteins, such as amino acidsL-glutamine. It can either be ingested through food or you can take L-glutamine capsule or powder form.

A second, larger meal of long-chain carbohydrates and proteins in the following one to two hours after training provides the body with other important nutrients to support the regeneration process.

in the evening

The last meal of the day ideally consists mainly of high-quality protein - it is not for nothing that many athletes use low-fat quark for meal timing. It provides a good source of slow-digesting casein protein that the body uses overnight protein supplied and thereby supports muscle building.

Other suitable sources of protein are chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt or cottage cheese. Even after training in the late evening, if the meal is timed correctly, you should not miss out on eating so that the body does not have to go to its reserves overnight. Don't be afraid of carbohydrates in the evening either. It is important that you cover your total daily requirement for calories and nutrients. You can easily find out how many carbohydrates, proteins and fats you need for your training goal with our macronutrient calculator.

Now calculate macros


Regardless of whether your goal is to lose weight or build muscle - Correct meal timing in conjunction with a balanced diet is crucial. This way, you supply your body with the right nutrients at the right time of day.

Remember, in order to achieve your personal goal, not just one meal is crucial, but the entire day. Have the big picture in view and don't get too lost in details. Know your calorie balance and the nutrient distribution, train regularly, set new training stimuli and make sure you have enough rest. If you have mastered these basics and stay on the ball, nothing stands in the way of your wellbeing body.


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