Is your stomach sabotaging your workout?

Weight Loss & Nutrition
By Jade Loney
Jade Loney

About Jade Loney

I’ve always had a passion for health and fitness (I’m currently studying nutritional medicine.) However, it wasn’t until I started training at Ignite that I fell in love with CrossFit and the awesome community that came with it. CrossFit has helped me reassess what fitness means to me and shifted my focus to performance. The human body continually amazes me with what it is capable of and that fascination is what led me to become a trainer; to help others find their own strength and confidence! I’d love to make it to Regionals one day but even if I don’t, I’ll have enjoyed every step of the chase. If I’m not working I’m usually here training so if you see me on the floor please say hi! I don’t bite that much. 🙂
Something I’ve noticed recently in the gym is that there seems to be some confusion around what to eat and when to eat it to get the best results from your training. 
Should you eat before you train? If so, how much and at what time? 
This is highly individual, based on your training goals, training volume and intensity and frankly, just how funny your tummy is!
These are the two most common mistakes I see people making:
1. Training on a full stomach
When you eat a large meal before a workout, your body will divert blood away from your working muscles and into your digestive system to help process the food. This means that there will be less oxygen available to your muscles, and they won’t be able to utilise energy as effectively.
Beyond that, tolerance to training after eating is highly individual. Eating a heavy meal can cause stomach cramps, nausea and even vomiting for some, or no side effects at all if you’re one of the lucky ones!
2. Training on an empty stomach
A common misconception is that training in the morning on an empty stomach will cause you to burn more fat during your workout. However recent studies comparing individuals who train fasted to individuals who train after eating found that those who trained fasted did not burn any additional calories when both groups ate the same overall calories.
Furthermore, training on an empty stomach can actually have a negative effect, leaving you feeling drained, irritable and even faint during or after a hard workout.
So what’s the solution?
A small pre-workout meal approximately 60-90 minutes before you train is ideal to give you the best outcome in your session. 
Include a protein based food to help offset muscle wastage during your session and also some carbohydrates to top up your glycogen stores and fuel your muscles for all the hard work you’re about to do!
The higher the volume or intensity of the session, the higher the carbohydrate intake required.
Try different pre-workout combinations and pay attention to how you feel during and after your workout.
You’ll have to experiment until you hit the sweet spot!