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Dance Trainer Q&A – Energize


Welcome to Dance Trainer Q&A.  Where dance and fitness come together.  If you have general fitness/workout questions, or fitness related to dancing, this is the place for you.  Questions will be answered and posted every week. 

Q: “Hi Nick! I never know when or how much to eat, both before and after a workout. I don’t want to exercise on an empty stomach, but I don’t want to work out too full. And then what should I eat afterward and how long after?”

A:  There are a couple factors that will determine the answer to this.
The first is your diet.  If you eat small meals every couple hours, your body should have ample “fuel” for your workout.  I recommend waiting at least an hour after your last meal.  Somewhere between 1- 2 hours afterwards seems to be the sweet spot.
The second is if you go longer than 3 hours without food, your body might not have enough “fuel” to get your thru a difficult workout.  If it’s a light aerobic workout, your body doesn’t generally need much fuel (which is why many people do their cardio workout first thing in the morning before eating).  More intense workouts will need the glycogen stores that food replenishes.  Eat a light snack an hour or two ahead of time (higher in carbs than protein) to give you the energy needed for the entire workout.  If you’re constantly on the run and don’t have time for that, eat half a banana 30 minutes to an hour before the workout.

After a workout your body is primed and ready for more fuel.  This is the best time to have some protein and carbs.  It will help with muscle repair, as well as replenish the glycogen stores for future workouts.  This zone lasts about an hour after your workout.  The closer to the completion of the workout the more effective it is.
The research in regards to the timing of when to eat protein and carbs is mixed.  The majority of fitness world still suggests immediately after the workout.  Other research suggests that timing is less important as long as it’s spread out throughout the day.  My advice: Still spread out the protein and carbs during the day because the body can only process so much at one time, however, timing a high dose of both just after a workout seems to work rather well.

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