T Nation

Eating Before Gym?


ok well i joined here about 3 months ago... went to the gym 5 times or so, then got my legs chaffed and then got sick and theni had exams. lol anyway big story short i started again about 15 days ago.

my general diet right now is 1 egg with half a slice of black bread in the morning, then fresh orange juice at around 12, then either a bit chicken or water tuna can and salad at 3 or so, then a yogurt or some fruit int he afternoon and then a salad and some fruit or cheese or something at night

so far ive lost about 10 lbs which is great for 2 weeks

anyway my problem is not digesting food. how long should i wait before i go to the gym after eating the above and when would it be the best time to go.

also ive heard that one should drink water before, during and after exercising.. when and how much should it be, cause i find it really hard, at least to run/bicycle when the stomach is full


First of all, what are your goals to achieve at the gym, and what is your weight, hight, age and body fat % (if u know)

your diet depends COMPLETELY on this info, without it, its impossible to know if you are doing the right thing.

I leave 30mins between eating and going to the gym. Its enough time to digest your food (for me thats a protein powder + water).

drinking in the gym is important, but dependent on what you are doing, i love water and get around 1.5lr of it in my gym sessions (mostly when im doing weights, drinking that much while doing cardio is a bad idea)

basically, its more important on how much water you drink each day, not when you drink it.

8 standard glasses(thats 200ml glasses i think) is how much you should get each day,but dont think its the 'must do thing'

I recommend trying to have as much water as you can, without being sick, no point in drinking heaps if all u can do is sit on ur ass.



also, time of gym depends on what you are going to do.

if its cardio, its best to do it first or last thing of the day, because it increases your metabolism for the rest of the day, or while you sleep, meaning you burn through more calories faster!

if its weights, it dosent really matter, its more up to preference, i find that i feel sick if i do weights to early in the day (10am ish) and find it really hard to go at 6pm, because the gyms full, and can never use the machines i want to when i want to.

but, if you are going to do cardio and weights in the same session, do weights first.



OK im 6 feet tall or 184 cm. i weighed myself 2 days ago and was 100 kgs exactly or 220 lbs. i used to be.. well im not sure but about 10 days ago i was 102.4kg so i guess around 105. the diet works pretty fine i think, eggs and the orange juice helps a lot in being awake and everything :wink:. i always take 1.5 litres of water at the gym with me, and like you i try to drink a little (like a small sip every 10 minutes or so) when running, and a bit more when doing weights.

thing is right now im trying to lose weight ASAP without letting my muscles become wimpy, which works fine. problem is i got first 25-30 minutes running (i never run all of them, yesterday though i was able to run 20 minutes non stop with a nice rythm :D)

then i got weights, about 10 different exercises of 3-4 repeats and about 15-25 each repeat.

the problem is after that i got 15 more minutes of bicycling and then 15 more running

thing is i know taht in order to have a good effect with weights its good to be almost not able to do it in the last 3-4 repeats. like if its 3 sets of 15, the 40-45th must be hard so your mind realizes it needs to put more muscle.

and that makes me tired and its hard so i drink some water. but quite honestly the hard thing is when food isnt digested.. cause i can smell my mouth and it smells salad lol or whatever ive eaten.

anyway i think the best is to eat breakfast then drink the orange juice then go. orange juice is liquid and it wakes me up a lot so ill try that... like right now.

thanks for your replies :smiley:


call them reps and sets... I have no idea what you're talking about.

Keep sets at about 8 reps.

rep=repitition not repeat

eat like 2 or 3 eggs at breakfast

try to get like 150-200 grams of protein a day, it's fairly obvious you aren't a serious weightlifter so no need in huge ammounts.

stick to basics:
overhead press

need info... feel free to ask.


right now im trying to lose about 35 more lbs, so i try to eat less

but after the weight is gone ill start

should i still get 200 grams of protein a day? cause that sounds kinda hard (one tuna can has 30 or so.) 6 tuna cans a day are kinda too much when you are trying to lose weight no?


i dont think loosing weight should be your first goal, go find out ur bfat% or post a pic of urself.

you will find, if you start lifting weights you will loose some fat and tone up alot.

also, if u try and loose weight first, you will find it harder to gain just muscle later, alot of people try this and end up putting the fat back on (body not used to all the extra calories, and uses them as fat)

basically, if u have a caloric deficite, your body will try and get every last calorie out of your food, so when you stop loosing weight and try to bulk up, your body will still be trying to add fat.

the benefits of lifitng first are the following:

because you havent done much, you will still loose fat, when i started i gained weight, gained muscle, and lost over 2" off my waist.. and this was with no cardio at all.

the second benefit is that when you then start to get serious about loosing your excess fat, your body will have more muscle, so the amount of calories you burn each day will have gone up, and through this you will loose fat faster (also you will be working on increasing your metabolic rate, so will maintain alot more muscle)

basically theres 2 ways of doing it:

gain muscle, then loose fat.

loose fat, then gain muscle.

6ft and 100kgs, i think you should gain muscle first then loose the fat.

when i started i gained muscle then loost fat, im 5"11 and was 105kg when i started. that was 6months ago and im starting my cutting now, and its going really well.

I reckon you should go speak to sum1, go to a vitamen store go find the biggest guy you can, and tell him where you are and what your goals are.

If you really just want to be skinny, then just go run. if you REALLY want to be strong, get the muscles then loose the excess.

if you do decide to get lifting, eat alot more and buy some protein, (horleys ice i reccomend) aim for 2500-3500 cals a day.

if you decide to start running, work on a calorie deficit, eat less, run more to make it simple.

just know, if you lift, you will loose some fat aswell. if you run, you will loose muscle aswell.

now that your informed, make your decision and then we can figure out what to do next

ps. go to your gym and ask for a bfat% measure. I think you will be suprised.

pss. post a pic of who u want to look like, that helps aswell.



how has no one suggested that this person eat far more than they are currently... that diet is absolutely ridiculous.


well i tried going to the gym today again but some commitee made some lame rule about not being open on sundays. crap. lol

anyway so far i think ive gained muscles AND lost weight.

a pic wouldnt help that much, simply cause i have a big build(all that milk when i drank younger paid off). when i tell people im 100kgs they dont believe me. but i have a stomach, i have kinda fat legs. when i went to have some blood tests the doctor told me everything is ok (there were like 50 things lol) except i didnt drinka lot of water, which was true, but now i certainly do, i saw somewhere that you drink enough water when your pee looks almost like water or is light yellow. and it is.

the other thing is that i have quite more than normal fat around my stomach. and yeah i really feel my belly fat and like it weighs me down. so im kinda sure i have some fat :slightly_smiling:

im gonna ask the next time i go(tomorrow) about the bfat% thingy.

as for the pic, i dont really care how ill look, im already cute and handsome enough haha. my goals have nothing to do with how i look, i just want to not be fat (of course a little fat isnt bad, but i wouldnt want more than 5 lbs), and to become strong generally. and i definitely dont want to look like a body builder, muscles for me are to help me through life and everything, not my top priority.

basically i want to improve my lifestyle by exercising and not being fat and eating healthy, BUT ALSO to be stronger than the average healthy person.

im no expert on diets, but what if i resumed the same more or less diet (egg(s)+a little black bread in the morning, orange juice, chicken+salad or tuna+salad, fruit and some more salad and 2+ litres of water) but added more meat? or a lot more? that way im guessing the body would focus on building and repairing muscles, without adding too much calories from eating a lot by going for the most protein/calories best ratio

the only bad thing about it is it costs a lot :confused: haha.


ok, if u run and only eat 500cals a day, you will end up looking like http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2006/10/skinny_228x593.jpg

if u eat 2500-3500 cals a day, lift some weights, tone up, and muscle and then cut down you will look like this

your choice.

and no lifting weights dose not make you into

well... only if u use alot of juice for abour 25years of solid hard training.


well thats not too bad, i'd be successful with the boys. hahaha

ok first of all i still would like an answer about.. what if i ate more eggs and meat/fish, but still not spaghetti, rice, potatoes and all that? i reach around 1500 calories that way i guess and get all the protein i need (its 200 at least i think)

would that work?

if not then, if i go for the 2500-3500 calories, then how long should i wait before i start cutting down(really interested in this, cause if its a month or so then thats ok). im kinda confused though cause 3 months ago that i posted here someone told me its best if i first lose weight and then tone up. anyway. another thing that confuses me is that so far ive already put on quite a lot of muscle in the past 20 days or so. i also tried measuring my bd% alone with some thingy i found on the internet and it said its 18%. which could be about right, but it could be more.


dang i forgot to mention... since that last one wasnt understandable

i have a gym plan thats for 3 days a week

every day i do weights/exercises for the tummy area (im not used yet to the english terms so ill use that :P)

and every time i go for 2 other major muscle groups

for each muscle group its 3-4 exercises every day so thats a total of about 10 per day

the sets are 3-4 and repititions vary from 15-20 for most of them


either way, running or lifting you will gain muscle and loose fat. There are ALOT of benefits of gaining muscle then loosing fat, the only negative is you get bigger before you get smaller(not that its that bad).

when i started, i did weights with minimal cardio for about 6months, gained alot of size, weights, but lost alot of fat! Now i am starting my "cutting phaze" and i will get lean alot quicker and be alot more muscly than if i did it around the other way.

i can only tell you from my experiences, what i like to do and what i want to look like (no i dont want to be ronnie coletrain :P)

its a choice you have to make whether you want the fast results or the long term results.

fast results are to eat nothing and run ur ass of.

slow is to lift now, run later.

its a personal prefrence really, either way ill help u figure out a play that works for you.

if you want, try a regime for a month, see how you are enjoying it and then decide.

remember, in my first month of clean dieting and lifting, i gained over 50lb on my bench and lost 2" of my waist. yeh if i just ran i could have lost alot more, but now 6 months down the track im starting to cut, and in 3months im gonna look better that i would have if i hadent lifted first.

p.s your plan is, well not that descriptive (we can work on that) but you got the 'general' idea, by general i mean.. REALLY GENERAL :stuck_out_tongue:



What you just described for your intake for the entire day sounds like what I like to call "breakfast". You are not eating nearly enough and I would guess that you've shocked your metabolism into a standstill. This could be why you aren't digesting very fast. This also means that as soon as you start eating properly, you're gonna gain that weight right back.

Calculate your maintenance calories, eat clean, and shoot for a couple hundred less than you need at first. Work your butt off in the gym and you'll get the results you want, but probably not as fast as you would like. Slow fat loss that happens through a healthy diet and training regimen will result in sustainable fat loss and muscle gain.

To answer your question, how soon you choose to eat before working out depends on your body and how much you eat. I tend to eat about an hour to an hour and a half before working out.


Yes, you can lose weight at first, but do it by cutting calories a small bit and eating clean. You will be amazed just how much you can eat if you eat good foods like chicken breast and broccoli. Green veggies don't count towards calories (this does not include squashes). Spinach, broccoli, asparagus, grean beans, etc - eat as much and as often as you like.

You can eat rice, but eat brown rice (non-processed) and only after a workout on a lifting day. Skip it on the non-workout days and stick with lean meats and veggies later in the day. Eat your carbs in the morning on those days (oatmeal, fruit).

Lots of good articles on nutrition on this site. You could do a search for stuff by Dr. Berardi to get a start.


man i need to get a wife or a gf to cook for me hahahaaha when you are 2 semesters behind and you have to study for 4 in the time of 2 this year and work out and live alone to do everything else there isnt enough time :stuck_out_tongue:

anyway since you both suggest this i guess ill go for it. 3 months ago i was gonna do that but someone told me the exact opposite of what you said (that it takes too long to slowly turn fat into muscle and in the end it takes longer)

darn restaurants for being expensive and serving bad food


It's not that hard. At least it's easier than having a wife.:slight_smile:

2 or 3 times a week do some batch cooking. Make a pot of chile, spaghetti sauce, grill some chicken breasts, etc. These will be the basis of your meals for the next couple of days. Spagehetti is a great after workout meal. Don't have it otherwise. Skip the beans in the chile.

Buy lots of salad ingredients. My supermarket sells mixed greens already washed. A handful of those in with some chopped veg makes a great salad. Make a large salad every day and have it at every meal. Add in some of the grilled chicken you made earlier or a can of tuna or salmon and you have a complete meal.

Breakfast should be about 4-6 eggs, not 1-2.


This is exactly what I do. I spent about 2 hours cooking yesterday. Made a huge batch of chili (lots of lean meats, minimal beans), boiled 2 dozen eggs (my breakfast protein for the week), grilled some chicken tenderloins, and fixed some broccoli.

I usually only cook about twice a week and it really doesn't take too much time/effort if you plan ahead and know how much food you're gonna need. I take a filled cooler with me to work every day and eat 3 times at my desk.


cool thanks guys :slight_smile:

i still think it would be better with a wife though hahaha. i really hate cleaning :smiley:

btw its quite amazing, every day i go to the gym i can tell my muscles get bigger and better. im raelly wondering what ill be like in a year :slight_smile:

thanks again