If a person consumed 4-5 pieces of fruit each morning before working out in the afternoon, would they see different results (weight gain or anything else) than eating those same 4-5 pieces of fruit in the evening and waiting until the next afternoon to workout?

3 Answers 3


If you eat a substantial meal before exercising, you will burn slightly more calories than if you ate the same meal after exercising. The reason for this is that by eating before, you then have to tote around that much more mass, which requires slightly more calories to perform the same exact task. This is one of the reasons why people on a diet eventually reach some stable weight; eventually the fewer calories they are eating reaches the amount they need to fuel their activity at their reduced weight (mass). Put another way, lighter people need fewer calories just to go about their day-to-day activities than more massive individuals.

Will this make a real difference over the course of, say, a year? I very much doubt it; the difference would be completely overwhelmed by variations in daily activity and food consumption. That being said, if two individuals were tracked over the course of a year with their activity and food consumption completely regulated, the one eating before exercise would lose slightly more weight than the one eating afterward.

There are charts showing calorie requirements, weight, and physical activity here. One could probably calculate the difference, but I'm too lazy (and pressed for time) to actually do so. I guess my final point is that the difference would be largely academic.


There does not seem to be a wealth of scientific research relating to the effects of meal timing on weight gain or other health metrics. The common conception is that a calorie is a calorie and there shouldn't be a difference in weight gain if you just change meal time and all other variables are left equal.

As for meal time in relation to exercise, there also does not seem to be a consensus about whether it is better to eat before exercise or not. The argument seems to mostly revolve around whether it is good to exercise first thing in the morning, before eating, which means a fasting state where glycogen stores are low. Given that you exercise in the afternoon, it does not seem as relevant to you, as if you ate a good breakfast your glycogen stores would likely be restored in any case.

To summarize, when you eat the fruit would not seem to play a significant factor in weight gain or other health factors. The much more significant factors would be the exercise type and intensity and your total caloric intake during the day. The post-workout meal is also likely to be more important.


That is too much fruit for one meal. That is too much fruit for one day. 2-3 medium sized fruits (apple orange) is the recommended maximum.

A Closer Look Inside Healthy Eating Patterns

Strive for complex carbohydrates over simple.

If you want to fuel that afternoon workout then have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.

  • Thank you for the link, but the number of pieces of fruit was just an example. Perhaps I shouldn't have even given a number in the question, as I guess my question boils down to "If the body is able to turn a certain food into energy quickly, are you better off eating that food shortly before exercise" Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 23:37

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