How Long After Eating To Workout (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 to 3 hours

Energy is very important when one is trying to exercise. Without the energy stores, people will feel dizzy and have many other symptoms. Also, when someone eats right before or after they exercise, it can cause various side effects. When food is not eaten at the right time, it can lead to indigestion and can mess with gut health. Hence, there are reasons why a person should wait for a while before working out, after eating.

When someone is working out to lose or gain weight, they must make sure to eat nutritious food, which will provide them enough energy to work out. The entire process of digestion takes a while, and when one starts exercising before the food is completely digested, it can lead to consequences, and sometimes even health issues. The time it normally takes to digest food is based on the volume of the food and its type.

Health organizations say that it is better to work out, at least one to three hours after eating. It is necessary to follow certain things before and after working out, and there are reasons for that.

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How Long After Eating To Workout?

Type of foodTime
Large meals3 to 4 hours
Small meals2 to 3 hours
Snacks1 hour

When one consumes a meal, the food first enters into the stomach and gets processed. After they are well processed and broken down into small food particles, they will be released into the small intestine. It normally takes about one to four hours to digest food. Though it is not necessary to wait for the food to completely break down and get digested before exercising, it is ill-advised to start working out immediately after having food.

After eating the food, it is better to let the food settle down in the stomach for a while. Normally, the stomach takes about three to four hours to digest a large meal, two to three hours to break down a small to moderate meal, and about an hour to digest any kind of snack. Hence, it is necessary to wait at least two or three hours to exercise after having a meal and at least thirty minutes after having a snack.

When anyone starts working out before the food is properly settled down in the stomach or digested, it can lead to stomach upset, which will pave the way to many more symptoms.

Why Does It Take That Long After Eating To Workout?

The composition of the meal affects digestion in many ways. When the meal contains high amounts of protein, fat, and fiber, it will take longer to digest the food. It is necessary to avoid snacks and meals which are rich in protein and fat like meat before the workout. It is always better to eat foods that contain more vitamins and minerals, and less amount of carbs, protein, and calories before working out. It is better to eat foods that contain carbs and processed protein like supplements and protein shakes before working out.

The larger the meal is, the more time it takes to digest and to break down the food. It is better to eat small portions of food before starting to exercise. Many side effects occur when one eats a large meal right before working out and doesn’t wait for the food to digest. Some of the major digestive tract issues and discomforts include sluggishness, diarrhea, vomiting, reflux, cramping, nausea, and even bloating.

The works and exercises not only include daily workouts to keep a person healthy but also athletic and sports activities like running, cycling, and swimming. On the other hand, exercises and routines like playing golf, walking do not exhibit many side effects since the movement and the speed of heartbeat are very less.


Whatever the workout routine or exercise might be, it is better to wait for at least 1 to 2 hours before starting to workout. When one targets completing a very intense workout session, indigestion can affect the performance in a great way. Not only does the size of the meal matter, the time at which one has the and what the meal primarily contains also plays a great role.

Medical experts have noticed that athletes and players, who had meals with high levels of protein and carbs started vomiting and experiencing nausea after a duration, while the ones who took meals with high levels of carbs and no protein didn’t experience any sort of discomfort.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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