If you are trying to lose weight, a common question you may ask yourself is should I eat before exercise? The answer to this question really depends on the goal of your exercise session.
Exercise is an important factor in weight loss. It helps to balance daily energy intake (kilojoules or calories consumed) with our energy out (kilojoules or calories expended).
If you are playing a team sport and need to perform at your best, or are looking to increase your individual exercise performance, it is best to eat before exercise. Eating a high carbohydrate snack 1-2 hours before exercise or a high carbohydrate meal 3-4 hours before exercise provides the muscles with additional fuel and can help you achieve peak performance.
However, if your main goal is weight loss and not improving your performance and if you will do the same amount of exercise regardless of whether you have eaten, it is probably best to eat after exercise. For example, exercising in the morning before breakfast will result in a greater proportion of fat being burned compared to doing the same workout after eating a carbohydrate food.
That said, for some people, eating a carbohydrate food before a workout will give them more energy to perform better - therefore burning more kilojoules. In the long-term, increasing your overall energy expenditure will result in greater weight loss.
Remember, a health outcome should be your number one priority, rather than focusing solely on body weight. Maintaining realistic healthy lifestyle changes will be better for your overall health and you are more likely to lose weight and keep it off in the long-term.