ASK A TRAINER: Should I Force Myself to Eat After Working Out?

zzzzzzzz lift and bitch 033Dear Fitbabe, I love your posts. I also love intermittent fasting, but I have a problem and hope that you can help me to solve it. I work best with a 9-5 or 11-7 feed and 16 hour fast. I hate eating before bed. I wake up groggy. So this plan works for me. However, I am a professional ballet/modern dancer, and workout with my company for three hours at a time, from 6-9 pm, three days a week. My question is this: if I drink a protein shake prior to my workout, is it ok that I’m not refueling after dancing? I do my weights and HIIT [High Interval Impact Training] in the morning, in a fasted state before my first meal or sometimes do not work out in the morning at all. Is it dangerous not to supplement with anything after a three hour long intense dance practice? Is a protein shake prior to this activity actually enough? Moving my feed to 2-10 is something I just can’t handle as I work days and would be miserable.
Best, Kristen

Hello Kristen!

I love that you are a dancer, and hold much respect for your fitness level! In terms of your question about supplements, I would need to know more information about your current fitness goals in order to answer it fully. Are you looking maintain your weight, add muscle, or improve aerobic endurance (which is what you need for your workouts!)? I do fasted cardio most days of the week as I hate having anything in my stomach during intense exercise. I add BCAAs [Branch Chain Amino Acids] and a scoop of glutamine to my water and then get my sweat on. I am trying to build muscle so after doing my weights, NO MATTER WHAT TIME OF DAY, I eat 25-40 grams of protein, and 25-40 grams of carbs. But as I mentioned above, I do not want to lose any muscle so I make sure that I take advantage of that window of opportunity to eat. If you feel satisfied and are not at all hungry post dance practice, then continue to listen to your body. But ask yourself the following questions: Are you not eating afterwards simply out of habit? Would you be willing to change that pattern if you knew it was optimal for muscle recovery, etc.? Is intermittent fasting really giving you the best results? Are you open to trying other diet methods?

Let me know your answers and I hope to help you further with your goals.


Deanna Harder: Fitness Leadership Diploma, CSEP-CPT (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology-Certified Personal Trainer), and Figure Competitor

This entry was posted in Ask a Trainer and tagged , by feministfiguregirl. Bookmark the permalink.

About feministfiguregirl

I am a 51-year-old professor named Lianne McTavish who receives as much satisfaction from working out at the gym as from publishing my academic research. About eight years ago, I decided to combine my two primary identities (scholar/gym rat) to create "Feminist Figure Girl," a fictional character who both analyzes and participates in bodybuilding. I competed in my first figure show in June of 2011, and then wrote a book inspired by the process, published by SUNY Press in February 2015. In this blog I will write about and consider my ongoing research on the body, while regularly making fun of myself. I recommend that you start reading my first post from August 2010 (available on the home page), instead of backwards from the most recent one, in order to get the full FFG effect.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s