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Obesity and Weight Management

Time for Doing Exercise

04/15/2010

Question:

Is it healthy to hit the gym at night around 10 pm for 1 to 1.5 hours session. I generally sleep at round 12. What type food/drink should i have before and after gym ( i want to loose weight). Also what should be the time gap between food intake and exercising. Is it healthy to have water intake during gym sessions, if yes, how much should it be?

Answer:

The answers to your questions really depend on other timing factors and eating patterns throughout the day. If working out and eating that late in the day does not seem to affect your quality of sleep, and you are sticking to your exercise routine by doing it, then good for you. I do not see working out at any particular time of day as more or less healthy for you. Sleep is important so it would not be wise to work out that late if it affects your quality of sleep.

Bottom line: any exercise pattern that you like, you will be more likely to maintain, and we applaud you for scheduling it into your day!

Your nutrition questions really depend on your total energy intake for the day. In general, we like athletes to have a little bit of carbohydrate before endurance activity to promote performance.  Since you are trying to lose weight, you have to the be the judge on valuing performance over energy deficit. We know that muscle recovers energy stores faster and possibly sets up for growth when it is fed within 30-45 minutes after exercise, and I would use that as an evening snack opportunity in a situation like yours. One of the hottest raves in recovery nutrition right now is chocolate milk because the carbohydrate is simple, so it absorbs rapidly, the little bit of good quality animal protein seems to favor a muscle growth (vs breakdown) environment, and the sodium and other minerals help to replenish the sweat electrolytes. You just might consider drinking 12-16 ounces of chocolate milk after your hard workouts.

I encourage you to seek the advice of a registered dietitian to help you intentionally reach a desirable level of energy imbalance in order to achieve your weight loss goals!

For more information:

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Response by:

Jackie  Buell, PhD, RD/LD, ATC, LAT Jackie Buell, PhD, RD/LD, ATC, LAT
Director of Sports Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University

Rebecca  Nguyen, MS Rebecca Nguyen, MS
Manager of the Faculty and Staff Fitness Program
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University